I did when I was a kid, but it would always be my friends that got the best cards. Baseball mostly, but football and basketball too. I remember in about '95 when the CVS (then called People's Drug) started carrying these cards called "Action Packed", and there was one insert for a 24k Gold card, odds of getting one in a pack were 1:144. Me and my best friend dogged the hell outta those packs until one of us got one. I remember saving my money so I could by one whole case of 24 packs. It just so happened my boy got the last pack in the other case, which happened to have the prize.......****er got a Jerry Rice Touchdown Club 24k gold, valued at around $500!! Sometime later, he also got some Emmitt Smith signature card worth about $150.
I think the best card I've ever gotten in a pack was a Frank Thomas 1993 Stadium Club First Day Production, and this is when Frank Thomas was the absolute sh*t. At the time it was something like $100, but it dropped down badly, I think it's now something like 20. I also got a 94 Topps Traded Tony Gwynn refractor, that used to be worth something. Then I got a Derek Jeter 1993 Pinnacle rookie, and a Barry Bonds '93 Pinnacle Slugfest.
I never looked at collecting baseball cards as a money investment. It was fun, the thrill of getting rookies, your fav players, vintage cards, trading, exclusive cards...and also the value of some of your collection was cool. But selling? Buying and selling like this was the f*cking stock market? Never did it. I'd say I am sitting on $10-12,000 worth of cards in general (baseball/basketball). I'd probably never sell them...my friend wanted to sell them for me at card shows, do the ebay thing. Eh, never really gave 2 shyts. I mean i think about it like "Wow i could have sold that card back then and got the money...now its worthless". But hindsight 20/20...i think if my mentality was money hungry in collecting cards to sell, jerk people etc etc I'd be a pretty messed up individual. So on one hand I'm glad I didnt fall into the kamikaze attitude some card collectors have and still do. Mofos can get cut throat and get too serious with it...usually young adults-adult for the most part. Likes of deciet, manipulation, ripoff jobs etc etc going on.
Sidenote if for whatever reason you decide to look through old cards, it's funny when you stumble across a player who was a scrub or unknown at the time you got the card but is a star now, and you wish you had a Beckett to look up the price. Not long ago I was rummaging through some old cards and a "Double A: Top Prospects" card from about 1999 that had three St. Louis Cardinals, two guys I've never heard of and Albert Pujols. I wonder what it's worth
I don't know many people who currently collect cards. Most are just sitting on old collections. It's a frustrating hobby these days. You spend $5-6 for a pack of maybe 6-7 cards, 2 of which are actually good.
Like GOBB said, it was just the thill of collecting and comparing my collections with that of friends. I didn't care how much they were worth. I remember going into the grocery store and putting my quarter in the machine and out would come come donruss baseball cards. Man, those were the days.