Monday, January 4, 2021

Why? Plus pictures of cards

This post is mostly for me, but I would love any and all feedback!  I am trying to determine how to communicate exactly what I want to collect to the blogging world.  And writing things down can help me solidify that in my own tiny mind!

So I have wantlists. Maybe you have seen them. They are somewhat extensive, and can help with trades.  But in reality, they are totally inadequate.  They show:
1. Some specific cards I want, mostly rookies
2. They have a bunch of sets that I would like to complete
3. And of course, there is the McGwire list, where I want every McGwire I don't already have.

But I often get requests from trade partners asking what else I want, because let's face it, most of you don't have a Bowman Piazza RC and card #262 from some random set and a 93 Finset McGwire refractor you are just itching to send me.

And I totally get that.  So what's my problem?  I actually like a TON of stuff that isn't on my wantlist.  So I can hear you saying, "well then put that stuff on your wantlist, dummy".  And I guess that isn't bad advice.  

Except here's the thing.  I am interested in adding a ridiculous number of cards to my collection.  

1. Almost anything vintage. 
2. Almost anything that is perceived as valuable.  Yes, perceived value matters to me.  It certainly isn't the only consideration, but, well we will get to that in the example below. 
3. I love an immense number of shiny or die cut sets from the late 90's.  And somehow, now that the card companies have come back to that and are recreating those sets as modern cards, I am somewhat less impressed.  Does that mean I don't want the newest shiny cards?  No!!  I do.  Maybe just less than the 90's stuff?  I don't know. 
4. I love rookies.  Only nowadays, that is more tricky, because there are 65 different rookie cards of any recent player.  And yes, I know that 65 may be way too low for some of popular rookies. But I would like a "good" rookie card of every player that has shown that they are a star in the league.  What is a "good" rookie?  I guess it's one that has a perceived value that isn't bottom of the barrel for that player.

And many more cards than can be covered by those 4 categories, of course.  When I look at another collectors cards, there are inevitably many, many cards I am interested in.  And walking through a card show, I see hundreds of cards I would want, that I never would have thought of to put on a list.

So if I were to try to put all of that on my wantlists, they would be completely unusable, due to the sheer clutter.

Anyway, I alluded somewhere in the last few paragraphs, to an example.  I have two examples, actually.  I kind of randomly chose Tim Duncan as my first example, to try to illustrate "what I like".  If you are not a basketball guy, scroll past the Duncan's for a baseball example.

First, a little about my Duncan collection.  He is not a primary player to collect.  But he was a stud, so I definitely accumulate his cards, as long as they fit some parameters.  That goes for almost anyone who made an impact on their sport, Baseball, Basketball and Football, so Duncan is a good example.  This analysis would fit for so many other players out there as well.

I have 30 Duncan's in my keeper collection.  3 RCs and 3 other inserts from his rookie year.  The vast remainder are inserts or parallels.  I'll show some of those down the page.  Very few base cards, but a couple!

An example of the base cards:

1999/00 Topps Gold Label - this card goes for $1.58 on COMC, so the perceived value thing is not really working in this cards favor.  But I like how it looks.  I like the Topps Gold sets in general.  And so this base card made my keepers, where most other base cards wouldn't.

An example of a "perceived value" card.  This card does not jump out at me aesthetically.  Dull shot, too much gray, and of course, it is a base card.  But on COMC, the asking price for this card is $16.93.  It's perceived value is much higher than I would have thought, so (sadly maybe) that affects how I view this card. And so it makes the collection.

Rookie card.  Like I said, I have three, and this is not my favorite.  Goofy pose, plain design.  But it is a rookie of a great player, so it definitely goes in the collection!

An example of a newer shiny card that doesn't make the cut. If this card was from the late 90s it would be a shoo in.  But it isn't, it is from 2015. And it is a base card.  If it was a parallel or serialed, it would probably make the cut, but for now at least, it does not.  If I still have this card in 15 years, will I add it?  Don't know, I am a weird guy.

Examples of cards that leap into the collection without me even having to think about it!  These show my love for color and 90s inserts! If you have any stars from any of these sets or similar, I want them!

Baseball example!!!

Clayton Kershaw.  I decided to show all of the Kershaw cards that have made my "Keeper" collection.  There are only nine.  That isn't because I don't like Kershaw, it's because I have mostly older cards, and haven't accumulated enough Claytons.

First up though, an example of a card that didn't quite make the cut.  This is a good card.  Decent presentation, and from a set that is popular.  If it were any kind of parallel or a refractor, it would certainly make the cut.  And maybe someday soon, I will change my mind and this will enter the collection.  But not yet.

Now cards that DID make the cut!

Card 1:  Shiny!!  This is a recent card that doesn't really move the perceived value meter much.  New shiny is usually pretty cheap.  The base version of this card would not make the keeper collection.  But the cool parallel does!

Card #2: Base card!!  This is my only non-rookie base card in the Kershaw collection.  And it is all about the photo.  I have seen multiple bloggers extolling the virtues of Stadium Club and this card specifically.

Card 3: SP!  Yes, this card makes the collection because it is a SP, but also because of the unusual photo.  Those baggy baby blue pants could hide a rhino!  So...  SP, colorful, unique photo.  Winner.  This card came from Night Owl in a very generous giveaway a while back.  I bet he has another copy though!!

Card 4: 2011 Topps Chrome X-Fractor.  Now we are getting deep into the Kershaws!!  Refractors of stars, always good! Very high on my list.  The older the refractor the better, but any refractor of a star! I guess Prizms kind of are the same way, but I'm old.

Card 5: So this one is a little weird.  I'm not a fan of the minor league stuff from the last 30 years or so.  It's just a money grab from the card companies to me.  But that doesn't mean that I won't accept a card like this from a stud like Clayton.  A card from this set featuring someone of less star power probably wouldn't make it, but this one does.

Card 6: An actual rookie!  Not one of his "better" ones based on perceived value, but any Kershaw RC is going to make my collection.  Period.

Card 7: An even better RC!  He's so young.  Don't need to say much about this one.

Card 8: I guess this is considered a Pre RC nowadays.  Nice card, and fits the collection.

Card 9: The beast!  Even if I hated Clayton Kershaw, this card would still have a home in my collection based on perceived value.  I was looking at comc prices while writing this article, and frankly couldn't believe what they were asking for this card.  And, like my Mike Trout RC, I have no memory of where I got this card.  Crazy!!

So there you have it.  I guess what I learned out of this is that, while there are cheap cards that I love and want, if there is a question, perceived value of the card goes a long way toward knowing if I would want it or not.  Rookies, inserts, refractors, parallels and vintage rule the roost in my collection.

Thoughts??  I'd welcome any and all feedback!


  1. My thought is just this: for me, collecting is all about the serendipity and such. I mean, yeah, I have occasionally set out to complete a set, and once in a while I actually do. (1980 Topps!) And there are definitely guys I focus on, along with a team in the Mets. But, really, there's nothing I like more than going through a dime box and just picking anything that I think is a good buy or which is a player I like, as long as I don't have it...except maybe doing the same with a box of cheap relics and autos or something.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, if you don't have a problem with wanting so many different things, then it isn't a problem.

    1. Well put, and I agree. I definitely don't have a problem with wanting all sorts of different things. Where I run into the problem is when I am trying to help trade partners know what to send to me. I like tons of stuff, but I also go through dime boxes and leave most of the cards there. So I obviously don't want everything. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I think I collect the same way you do. I love the shiny/die cut/90’s inserts type of cards, and I really don’t count minor league cards as rookie cards. It’s almost as if Beckett, eBay, COMC, and even blogs have conditioned us to thinking that the Topps Update (usually) or the first Bowman are the top rookie cards. I don’t really collect rookies, but if I did, I would personally just get the Topps one because they are usually cheaper than the Bowman ones.
    As far as want lists, I like how you listed in your steroid guys the years of the Topps cards that you needed. I have it ingrained in my head what teams those guys were on and which years (approximately).
    I may be in the minority, but one thing about most wantlists that is complicated for me is when someone is musing some cards from let’s say the 2010 Topps Marlins set or the 2011 Heritage set. I organize my cards by teams and by year, so I can find cards pretty easily, but when people only list card numbers only (which is totally easier for set builders), I have a heck of a time finding if I have a card because I have to jot down all of the card numbers, look them up on TCDB, jot the player name/team down, and look through my binders and see what I have. Really wish there was an easier way to list what you need so everyone can dig them from their cards in whatever wya they organize them.

  3. I like lots of stuff and I probably have the same problem you do: I don't put enough of that stuff on my want lists. It just takes so long!!!!

    I admit I have problems finding stuff for people who mostly list player collections. My cards aren't organized that way and most player collectors have a big interest in '90s cards, which I don't have at all.

    So I guess what I'm saying is: add more stuff to your want list!!!! And yes I know that's a pain!!!!

  4. You like what you like! Nothing wrong with that.

    Those Duncan diecuts! Holy moly did I stop collecting basketball at the wrong time.

  5. Everyone should collect whatever makes them happy. I'm starting to realize you and I have very similar taste in cards. Super jealous of that Kershaw rookie. I definitely missed the boat on that one. And those Duncan inserts are sweet. His stuff is kinda crazy right now, but I'm wondering if they'll go up even more after he gets into the HOF this summer.

  6. The Excalibur Duncan you call a base card is actually the Knight Templar parallel. The base card is just white, not mirror foil.

    1. Thanks Billy!! I guess that Duncan makes the collection now. While I love parallels in my collection, it can be difficult to tell what is a parallel when you have been away from the hobby for a few years!

  7. Just keep doing posts, that should be enough for most people to figure out what you do, and don't, like.

    Also, COMC is not a great place to try and ascertain value. It used to be good for that, but ever since the current boom started it's become one of the worst sites to gauge prices on.

    1. Oh, totally agree on comc, I don't believe the actual prices, but if a card is on comc for $8 rather than $.78, I can safely assume that it is more valued by collectors.

  8. I sure hope you like newer shiny stuff because I am sending you a good amount of it lol. I spent a good hour last night grouping it up and using a variety of players to do so

  9. I think you have a good variety listed under baseball. I love so many different types of cards, not so much specific players. I've cut way back on my PCs due to space and a lack of interest in new stuff. Collect what makes you happy, so I've been told. ;)