Saturday, September 14, 2019

Keepers! A Thought Experiment

What if you had to thin your collection down to just one or two thousand cards? Which cards would you keep, and which would you let go of? I find this to be an interesting thought experiment, particularly as I've watched my collection bloom over the last decade plus.

At its height, before I started seriously purging around a year or so ago, I had quite literally hundreds of thousands of cards.  This began to bother me for a few reasons, first and foremost the OCD with which I track my collection was a real challenge with numbers that large.  Secondly, I wasn't happy with the amount of physical space my collection was literally taking up in my house.  Lastly, I find it hard to truly appreciate the cards as I should be doing, when there are that many of them.

So, I'm starting a new series of blog posts where I'm going to (theoretically at first, but who knows later) shave my collection down to just 2,000 cards.  I'm going to give myself 1,000 baseball cards, plus 1,000 "other" cards which will consist of anything other than baseball.  I'm sure the majority of this second collection will end up being hockey cards, but this is also where I'll have to tally any basketball, football, soccer or non-sport cards I want to hang onto.

In the end, I should be whittled down to the 2,000 total cards I'd hang onto above all others, the "keepers".  I think this will be a fun exercise that will allow me to show off and appreciate my best cardboard here on the blog, and help me identify and focus on what really brings me the most joy as a collector at the same time.

For this first post I've got the first half dozen cards for the baseball keepers collection, and the first four cards for the other keepers collection to share with you.

On the baseball side, I had an easy time picking the first six cards.  I went with my 1934-1936 Diamond Stars Red Sox team set.  Not only does it contain my only playing-era card of the great Lefty Grove, but the artwork is simply beautiful.

I love the art deco style of the paintings, and the backgrounds are simply fantastic.

Lefty Grove isn't the only HOFer in the small team set either, as he's joined by Rick Ferrell.  This one might actually be my favorite of the bunch.

Billy Werber has the only plain background out of the Sox players, with this rainbow stripe deal.

Fritz Ostermueller is the only horizontally-oriented card in the bunch.  Another interesting background; that building has always reminded me of the "Superman building" in downtown Providence right next to where I work.

This is, to date, the oldest team set I have ever completed.  Probably will be for some time, too.  Given that fact, and the fact that at six cards it didn't chew too much into my 1,000-card cap, these were an obvious choice to start off this project with on the baseball side.

As far as the non-baseball group, I knew exactly how I wanted to lead off there as well.  One of my absolute proudest accomplishments since returning to the hobby is completing the four-card hockey subset from the iconic 1933 Sport Kings release.

The first two cards alone, HOFers Eddie Shore...

...and Howie Morenz are probably top 25 cards in terms of my entire collection, period.  These are likely the only two playing-era cards I'll ever own of these guys, the studs of their era and still two of the most revered names in the history of the NHL.  There is no way, even 50 years from now, that these would ever fall outside my top 1,000 non-baseball cards.

Ace Bailey was the final piece of the puzzle in securing this hockey subset.  Took me years to track down this copy.

Ching Johnson rounds it out, and we have our first four inductees into the other keepers collection.

Today's cards had all appeared on the blog previously, but that won't always be the case with these posts.  Many of my most prized cards have never seen the light of day here for some odd reason, and I figure this series will give me some needed motivation to get around to showcasing them at last.

I'm keeping a virtual album of sorts for the each collection that I'll update with every post.  The baseball keepers collection is here, and the other keepers collection is here.

Have you ever thought about which cards you'd hang onto if you had to do something drastic, like reduce the size of your collection by 99% or more?  If so I'd love to hear about it in the comments, or even better a blog post of your own.  Thanks for stopping by!


Fuji said...

Awesome idea for a post... and those are some great cards to kick things off. I've thought about thinning my collection on many occasions... and in 2000 or 2001, I actually sold off the bulk of my collection and kept (a total guess) around 2,000 cards. Realistically... I'd never be able to do this again unless I was getting out of the hobby altogether. Between a few of my favorite sets (like 1972 Topps, 1975 Topps, 70's Kellogg's sets, plus a few different autograph sets), the number would already be close to 2k already. If I were to try something out like this... I would probably pick 20 to 30 sets, plus 1k to 2k singles.

gregory said...

What a great idea for a mental exercise, and an equally great idea to create the two virtual albums!

My total collection is smallish (about 25,000 cards), and similar to what Fuji said, much of that total consists of complete sets that I'd really love to keep for the nostalgia factor. If I could keep a bunch of those sets, then I'd definitely be able to whittle my singles down to 2,000. Actually, I don't think I even have 2,000 singles now.

Looking forward to seeing the virtual albums as they grow!

The Shlabotnik Report said...

I've been struggling with the size of my collection for at least a dozen years now, so this post really resonated with me. I'm absolutely looking forward to future posts in this series.

I'd never heard of the "Superman building", but it's well-named because it evoked the proper image with me (I looked it up).

Kin said...

I'm definitely in a (slow) downsizing mode and understand completely. I love the idea and, damn, those are some beautiful cards!


GCA said...

Ugh. My total collection is going to total about 200K, and I just bought 15 5000 count boxes of extra stuff on top of that. I'm nowhere near downsizing. I am going to be in bulk trading mode the rest of the year though!

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