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Lewis’ collection surpasses 110,000 business cards

Collegedale resident Rod Lewis remembers the day a business card completely changed his outlook.

He had recently graduated from high school and was experiencing a day when nothing was going right for him, when he took out his wallet and starting looking through its contents.

“I remember pulling out a business card and looking at it and just smiling,” he said. “I had around 20 business cards in my wallet and the first one I pulled out belonged to Richard Blessing. He was a delightful guy and one of the most interesting guys in the world.”

As Lewis continued to pull out the different business cards of people he knew and admired, his mood continued to improve. It was on that day in 1979 that he began collecting business cards, and he has not stopped since, he said. At last count around 15 years ago, he said his collection had surpassed 110,000 cards.

“I hope to one day have the world’s largest business card computer image collection,” Lewis said.

Right now, he’s not working on cataloguing his cards electronically. He said that part will come when he isn’t working full time and doesn’t mind sitting in a chair for extended periods of time. Until then, Lewis said he is content to continue collecting traditional business cards of both the common and uncommon varieties.

Some of the most notable cards he has include one signed by Donald Trump, Ted Kennedy’s card and local celebrity O.D. McKee’s business card. Lewis said he’s also seen some business cards made from interesting materials over the years, including bamboo, wood, copper, steel, ceramic and cork.

“The interesting thing about business cards is that they represent people,” he said. “When you go out to make a business card you make it as pretty, functional and outstanding as possible.”

For him, a lot of times business cards represent the absolute best of people. Whether it’s their credentials or personal style, business cards can represent people in a truly unique way, said Lewis. Collecting cards from certain groups like the 100th sitting Congress or all of the doctors who practice at Erlanger Hospital is also another way he challenges himself and expands his collection.

“Business cards are really attractive to collect,” he said. “I’ve got friends who collect baseball caps or hubcaps. The beauty of my collection is that I can go down to my place and spread tens of thousands of business cards all over the place, then easily put them away.”

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