With a new year upon us, let's take a look at how I did with the goals I set for my collection for 2020, and maybe set a couple of new ones for the upcoming year as well while I'm at it.
1950s Baseball Cards
Last year I declared my intent to collect one baseball set from every year of the 1950s. My simple goal was just to increase the number of cards in my collection from all ten of the chosen sets. Let's see how I fared...
1950 Bowman - 17/252 (7%, +3 cards)
1951 Topps (Red Backs) - 5/52 (9%, no net change)
1952 Bowman - 25/252 (10%, +3 cards)
1953 Topps - 93/274 (34%, +26 cards)
1954 Bowman - 41/224 (18%, +12 cards)
1955 Topps - 55/206 (27%, +4 cards)
1956 Topps - 32/342 (9%, +2 cards)
1957 Topps - 52/407 (13%, +6 cards)
1958 Topps - 36/494 (7%, no net change)
1959 Topps - 357/572 (62%, +15 cards)
I'd give myself a B- here, and even that may be generous. While completing all of these sets would be a lifetime collecting dream, I could have done better here. Two of these saw no new additions all year, but I did make decent forward progress on 1953 Topps, 1954 Bowman, and 1959 Topps at least.
This project will remain on my list of goals for 2021, and far beyond!
Of course I continued work on my long-running Buyback Franken-set project this past year. Time is my enemy when it comes to these posts, as it takes quite a while to process the incoming cards and get all the scans sorted. It's a labor of love though, and these are the current numbers as we close out this year...
Franken-set Progress: 672/792 (84%) (+13 cards)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 136/792 (17%) (+15 cards)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 725 (+70 cards)
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,533 (+98 cards)
I'll go with a B+ here, as I did exceed my vague goal of 1,500 total buybacks. Like the 1950s baseball cards, this is an ongoing project that will remain on the list of goals for 2021. I've toyed with the idea of selling some of the rejected buybacks in lots on eBay to raise some funds and make space, but I'm just not there yet.
Condense & Organize
Going with a A+ here. I sent tens of thousands of cards out of the house this past year, exponentially more than I brought in. As we saw in yesterday's Top 20 of 2020 post, I was really successful with selling off a lot of "lesser appreciated" cards, and using the funds to acquire some big fish. Couldn't be happier with how I did on this front, and this effort will continue in 2021.
Other miscellaneous goals from last year included...
Resume Signature Sundays Autograph Series - Assigning myself a D grade here. I showed a few great autographs over the course of 2020, but they're just not where my collecting passion lies these days. You'll see some more nice signatures in the coming year for sure, but I'm removing this one from my formal goal list at this point.
Cut Spending/Increase Saving & Investing - A+ here. Ramping up my eBay sales this year helped me not only to purge my collection to an extent and trim down its overall size, but to really bolster my savings since much of the money I spent on cards this year was profit from sales vs money from my paycheck. For the second straight year, I was successful in my self-imposed rule that I must save or invest at least $1 for every $1 spent on cards. In fact, I saved and invested at an even better ratio to my hobby spending than 1-to-1. This remains my approach for 2021, especially with ongoing uncertainty related to my job...
Team/Player Collections - I'd set rough goals of getting to 6,000 Red Sox cards and 2,000 Hartford Whalers cards in 2020. Didn't make either, as I finished with 5,658 Red Sox cards and 1,858 Whalers. We'll go with a C+ here on the team collecting front.
For player collecting goals I fared a bit better. I'm not a big player collector by nature, but set a crazy goal of maybe acquiring at least one new playing-era card of Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. Check, check, check and check! A+ here, no question.
So, there's a rundown on how I stacked up over the past twelve months. Aside from the carryover goals of continuing to make progress on my 1950s baseball sets, my Buyback Franken-set, and my condensing effort, I do have a couple of others I'm adding to my list for 2021!
Complete Run of Topps Nolan Ryan Career-Spanning Flagship Cards
Nolan Ryan was my absolute favorite baseball player as a kid. I've been casually collecting his cards since returning to the hobby, and in 2020 landed his iconic rookie card at last. My goal for 2021 is to complete Nolan's run of Topps cards from his 1968 rookie, through his 1994 Topps card. I'll be aiming to get the entire run, quite a bit of which I already have, in PSA slabs if possible.
Land Two New Playing-Era Mantle Cards
When I was a kid, owning even a single Mickey Mantle card seemed like a pipe dream. It took me until a couple of years ago to realize that, with patience and the willingness to accept low grade or imperfect copies, it was a more realistic goal than I'd imagined. One day I'd love to complete a run of Mantle's flagship Bowman and Topps cards from 1953 through 1969.
So far I have acquired and shown off his 1960, 1964, 1966 and 1968 releases. I'd like to add two more in 2021, and have at least one of them be from the 1950s.
Complete One of Two Shiny Card Sets
I'm currently working on two very shiny baseball card sets, and would like to complete one of them in 2021. With 2011 Topps Chrome Atomic Refractors, I'm at 199 out of 220, and with the 2014 Finest X-Fractors (Mike Trout shown above) I'm sitting at 62 out of 100. 2014 Finest would be the easier of the two even though I have further to go, the 2011 Atomic Refractors are BRUTAL.
Expand (Selectively) into Some New Sports
For quite a few years there I was a baseball and hockey collector only, then a while back began to collect soccer to an extent. Well, using my Cardboard Keepers project as a framework, I'd like to pick up some choice cards of greats from other sports like basketball, football, and maybe even a little golf?
I'm still a baseball and hockey guy at heart, with soccer rapidly approaching those two, but it will be fun to land some iconic cards of GOATs from other sports if I can find the time and the funds.
So, there you have it, a look back at how I did last year, and what to expect in terms of my collection, and in turn this blog, in 2021. I hope you'll join me in the coming months as I continue my lifelong exploration of the hobby we love. Amazingly, it will be my 14th year running this little blog, and hopefully my best one yet!
Have you set any goals for your collection for the coming year? If so, I'd love to read about them (or see a link) in the comments. Whatever it is you'll be chasing, best of luck in hunting it down!