Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Collecting New Year's Resolutions

I started this blog with the intent of giving myself a venue to write about my interest in sports cards. My goal has always been, and always will be, to write about my experiences collecting and about cards and the sports that interest me. If anyone else reads it, or agrees (or disagrees) with me then that's an added bonus. While my favorite blog, dayf's Cardboard Junkie, is often updated multiple times in the same day, I am realistic enough to know that I don't have the knowledge or the time to devote to my blog or collecting on that level. That being said, I have really enjoyed my first year of blogging and have gotten to know and traded with some really great people.

As I approach the third year of my second stint at collecting, I think it's time that I set some goals for myself as a collector. One thing that I've learned about myself in the past year since I started this blog (wow, that went by fast!) is that I tend to get distracted really easily when it comes to collecting cards. I tend to be a great starter and planner, with grand ideas, who loses interest and has trouble crossing the finish line. Here's what typically happens that prevents me from focusing my collection on any one particular thing:

  • A great looking set is released (or I discover a set that I'd never heard of but love)
  • I instantly deem the set the best looking bunch of cards I've ever seen, and resolve to collect the entire set
  • I buy some of the product, sometimes quite a bit, sometimes just a few cards
  • My interest starts to peter out as I run into hard to find short prints or am unable to locate some of the cards I need, or...
  • Another great set is released, and the cycle continues...
As a result, I really haven't finished many sets or refined my collection in any way. I find that after 2+ years of collecting, I really have a huge variety of random scattered cards, and very little in the way of organized collections or completed sets. So, here are my card collecting New Year's resolutions. It will be interesting to look back on these at the end of 2009 to see how well I stick to my goals...
1. Finish Some Sets! - I need to get my Want List updated, start looking through other's Have lists, and hit the web and local card shop to finish some sets. I want to complete at least one large baseball set and 2 hockey sets in 2009.
2. Make a Decision on the 1953 Topps Project - The one major goal that I set for myself when I started collecting cards again was to finish a PSA-graded 1953 Topps baseball set. When I set this goal, I had just gotten back into collecting and was really only focusing on purchasing graded vintage baseball cards. Well, I've learned a lot in 2 years. I'm not as big a fan of graded cards anymore, and I've discovered so many other things that I want to collect as well. I have made some pretty good progress, I have about 25% of the set and have picked up a few of the expensive cards, like Warren Spahn, Phil Rizzuto, and Satchell Paige. I need to decide whether I want to:
  • Stick with the plan. This is my favorite baseball set of all time, even if I'm 60 before it's finished it will all be worth it.
  • Can the whole idea. Can I really see myself finishing this thing when the Mantle, Mays and Robinson cards are going to add up to about $4,000 alone? Should a full grown adult even spend $4,000 on 3 baseball cards? Do I ever see myself dropping over $100 on a no-namer just because he's one of the 50+ short printed high series cards when I could buy two hobby boxes of the latest hockey releases for the same price?
  • Stick with the plan, but modify things. Keep the graded stars and Red Sox cards I've purchased but sell the rest. Use the money to buy some "loved" or "gently used" un-graded 1953 Topps cards at a much more reasonable price. I've gotta say, I'm not too proud to admit when I've set my sights a little too high, and I'm leaning towards this option.
3. Focus My Collection - Another thing I've learned is that you can't have it all. I'm very fortunate to have a decent job and a steady paycheck, but there are more important things in life than little pieces of cardboard with pictures of sports stars on them. I think when you first get into collecting you are tempted to just buy up everything that is out there, but I've learned enough now to know that I need to focus my collection. That 400-count box full of pack-fresh 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights that I probably haven't even opened since I took the cards out of the packs would probably be better suited for someone else's collection. I'm hoping to clean out my card closet, get some trades going, and maybe even make some cash on eBay that I can use to buy the cards I want. I plan to collect a wide variety of hockey cards still, but any basketball or football that I have is going, and when it comes to baseball, if I'm not going for the complete set, I'm going to try to stick to vintage Red Sox cards like the ones pictured here.
4. Organize What I'm Keeping - I've got stacks and boxes of cards everywhere in my spare room. Once I determine which cards I actually do want to keep, I want to get things organized to the point where I can locate any card I own with a minute or so. I keep digital scans of all of my cards to use for blogging and for reference when I don't feel like digging out boxes, so I'd like to get every card that I own scanned in as well. I use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of what I have and need, but I would love to find a better database solution with a nice graphical front end. I've checked out Beckett's online organizer (thanks for the tip Steve) as well as some other third-party applications, but still haven't found what I want. Anyone have any suggestions?
Considering I have a habit of planning things that I don't follow through on, I'm going to cut it at just those 4 items. If I can complete those 4 I'll be a long way towards the collection that I envision. What are your card collecting New Year's resolutions?

2 comments:

deal said...

As far as collecting your 1953 set, I would recomend continue to collect the whole set, but reduce your expectation on condition.
That is how I am collecting the 1959 set. I have only been at it a year so - maybe by year 3 I will not be as happy with the project. but it has been enjoyable so far.
Yes I have some pretty ratty looking 59s, but I have many that are in somewhere between good and mint condition.

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