April 7, 2011

I've become one of "them"

Last night and earlier today it dawned on me, I have become the type of collector that used to annoy me. It hasn't gotten that bad YET, but I could see where this is heading but it's probably not for the same reasons as most of the people that bug me.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about the collectors who rip open hobby boxes and/or cases, then throw away all the base cards and give away the inserts while only keeping the autographs or game used cards. Sure there are plenty of collectors who just chuck the base cards and keep the rest, but that still kind of bothers me.

Let me go back to my trip to the card show in White Plains...

I walked around looking first for autographs. However the first stop I always make didn't have any so I was forced to look for base and inserts. Note: that didn't really do it for me. Then I moped around some more just wanting to find one lil Robbie Cano auto so I could feel like the day wasn't a waste. Rather then be able to bunch a bunch of stuff, I settled for 3 cards and was giddy about it for around 3 days.

When I search for things on eBay, it always goes something like this "Year, Set, Robinson Cano auto", or "Year, Set, Adam Lind auto", I don't bother with Pujols because I already know I can't afford it. Then when I find a card on eBay that I need/must have, I just stare and say:

Yes, I do still buy the base and insert cards I need. I love pulling base and parallels of my guys, or trading for them. I still love to look at a page in my binder of the same card in 9 colors. Do I look at it sometimes and get mad that we as collectors get hosed into buy 9 of the same card? Yep, I sure do. But the bottom line is no one is putting a gun to our heads telling us we need 9 versions, we choose to get them all because we are player collectors.

Shiny mail day a few weeks ago was fun, and I like nothing more than getting a bubble mailer full of Cano and Pujols cards. But... there is just something about opening a bubble mailer that has an autograph in it, or better yet a dual gu/auto. Sigh.

Does this make me "one of them"? Please say no. I think there is a distinction (somewhere). Anyone else reach this point in their collecting habits, or something similar?


  1. I'm getting there with my Seneca Wallace collection. It's a lot quicker of a journey since his cards are way cheaper, but I'm starting to become a low #'d (like /25 and under) whore, which is sad. What happened to my love of good photography or a decent write up on the back of a card?

  2. Let's face it, autographs and relics are the big ticket, must have items. They represent the best most people can get when it comes to an experience with a player - holding a card that was held by that player, or contains a signature made by that player, or contains a piece of something used by that player. So people naturally gravitate towards them. But the people to watch for are the ones who want only the hits. The ones who buy lottery scratch-offs over and over until they win. And the highlight of my collections is the autograph and relic collection. And I think it depends on what you collect, too. There's nothing wrong with having a collection of, say, Mike Piazza, but only collecting certified autographs of him. In this day, where Mike Piazza has 9361 cards, focusing on autographs only means you only worry about 601 of them. (Real numbers, by the way.) And while I consider people who bust boxes/cases just for the big hits investors or dealers, they have a place in this hobby. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have been able to get such great deals from this one dealer I knew at an Atlanta card show.

    Card collecting is like automobile driving. Some people are happy with their Pontiac or Kia, some people need to show off with their corvette, some want to show money with their BMW, and some need their big suburban assault vehicles as compensation for lacking in something else (I mean driving skills, of course). And sometimes the Kia drivers want a little bit of nice stuff, so they get a good sound system or leather seats, etc.

  3. And okay, after that essay, let me just add in response to SpastikMooss, since I forgot to mention it while composing...

    Eventually you get tired of, or have all the normal cards you can get your hands on, and you want some quality to go with the quantity.

  4. That's definitely part of it. Seneca only has 28 non serial #'d cards left that I don't own, and many of those are autos or really rare in their own right, so I'm pretty much into nicer card territory full time.

    My biggest issue now is that since I'm getting into the big time stuff, I'm starting to consider buying nicer versions of cards. Sure this auto is nice, but it's a bit smudged...I could do better. Yeah this patch has stitching, but that one has 4 colors and is part of the Seahawks logo. It gets kind of crazy after a while - once I settled for any auto, any relic...now I want those leather seats as you say, instead of just standard features all the way around.

  5. I see what you guys are saying.

    When I look at autos, I won't bid on one that I don't like the signature. Like the ones that you can tell were at the bottom of a long sheet of stickers and they half assed them. Or an auto/relic with a plain swatch if I can avoid it. It's hard to avoid the plain swatch autos because they get pricey.

    Some day when I have the money I will end up going back after the ones I missed or the ones that had the nicer patches.

  6. Pedro Martinez has almost 10k cards, and I have a tiny percent of them. I don't own a single auto, but some nice numbered cards, including some rather extravagant cards from the 1990s.

    The thing I like best about my player collection is it fills in the gaps of nearly a decade away from the hobby. I missed a lot, so I get to see what I missed and collect my favorite player. I am going to invest in some autos some day, but right now, I am glad to find some more plastic cards. Or maybe something see-through. Or completely foil. Or a variation of a varition of an insert...

  7. I think it just becomes a case of your collecting preferences changing. I used to be a die hard Mike Piazza collector and would spend 80% of my time searching for his game used cards. I have well over a hundred now but I have since changed my direction in collecting to other areas. Don't get me wrong I still want more Piazza cards from base to sn'd, to hits all the same but I have also spread my efforts into several other areas. While Mets (and Yankees to a lesser degree) will always be my main focus I also go of into other collecting "zones" if you will. My American flag collecttion has really picked up some steam as of late as well as some other non Mets and Yankees collections I have. As far as just chasing the hits, a lot of people do that. I love the game used and relic cards too but I still enjoy the completion aspect of insert sets (so feel free to check my needs list for inserts, ha ha)and even base sets. What this means to me is that we all go through changes and this is just one you are going through. Come back to this post in a year and then see what you are collecting at that time and I bet it will probably be a bit different. Just my 2 cents.

  8. I know the feeling. I see myself doing the same things sometimes.

  9. I don't even buy boxers anymore I just purchase the cards I want. I can't tell you how many years it has been since I bought a box of cards cause I don't know. I would guess around 5 years or so.

    My offer of being an instigator still stands I will take all the base Red Sox...

  10. @AdamE, I am exactly the same way. The only boxes I buy now are Bowman Draft and Bowman Chrome. I stay away from everything else.