Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Card manufacturers, and collectors, have brought the hobby to the point that you can't collect it all.  You may think "duh," but when I started collecting it was possible.  We all have decisions that we have to make.

That potential negative points out something great about our hobby.  There are so many ways to collect.  Not any two collectors collect exactly the same.  It's not just what you like, but also what your budget allows.  As long as YOU are happy with it, that is what matters.  This is a hobby and a hobby is supposed to be fun.  

Count me in the majority that can't afford it all.  Growing up, it was pretty easy for me to collect cards of former West Virginia University Mountaineers.  There weren't a ton of players with cards and only a handful of sets per year.  I could pretty much collect it all.  

It was different then, there was no internet and no eBay.  However, there also weren't 84 different sets a year and 17 more parallels in each of them.  The biggest challenge for me was just that I was interested in cards that commanded a regional premium and I couldn't find as quickly due to others collecting.  

As times changed and companies produced more and more sets, I didn't change with the times.  I tried to collect all the cards that pictured Mountaineers.  A handful of years ago, I decided that I didn't care about cards of them in pro uniforms any longer.  I just wanted cards of them in the old gold an blue, unless there wasn't a college card available.  

I've continued hanging on to a lot of the NFL cards, just because I had them already.  Let's just be honest, there are too many cards out there.  It's just ridiculous and unrealistic to attempt collecting so much.  

It truly is time for a change.  I'm making a lot of changes and what I've decided, as it applies to former Mountaineers, is that I only really need one card of each player.  I have some fantastic ones, so why do I need all the others?  It's not like I really ever look through them.  They are in a white box, in the top of the closet.  For me, that's not what collecting should be about.

I don't know when the work will begin.  There are a few projects I'm working on.  How do I sell them off and balance getting as much as I can for them (that I can spend on cards I will appreciate more) and the amount of work that goes into it.  I probably have thousands of cards that I've acquired over 30 years of collecting.  It would take forever and a day to find people that want them, and will take them at a price I'm comfortable with.  I've put so much time and money into getting them.  I fear I may want too much in return, but I also don't want to sit on them.

Have you ever gone through something like this?  Have you sold off things that you just don't appreciate anymore, but have spent years and thousands of dollars to acquire?  I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts.


  1. I think the hardest part is accepting the fact that you will not get a 100% return on what you spent to get those cards. Even 50% would be very lucky. That's usually my biggest hangup when it's time to get ride of things. Also, when I'm getting rid of something that I cherished/spent a lot of time&money getting, I make sure to "enjoy" it one last time; give it a proper goodbye. Say cards for example, I would look carefully at each card, appreciate the joy it gave me at the time, and then move on. That way I feel better for getting rid of something that previously meant something to me.

  2. Yes the hobby has changed. First it changed around the dreaded "Junk Wax" years roughly mid 1980s to late 1990s (start and end years vary depending on who you talk to) that era introduced "prospecting" collectors into the mix and of course the multitude of inserts, variants, parallels and the uncertainty of what exactly a Rookie Card was anymore. Used to be the very first card a player appeared on, but that is also a little cloudy as team cards used to feature a team portrait on the card and sometimes a player would appear as a "cameo" on another player's card, either in the background or as part of the play being shown on the card, and then of course the multi-player Rookie Stars cards. Now there are a multitude of prospect cards, and Pre-Rookie cards (cards of the player in the minor league system, or while they are still in college and sometimes still in High School) Then you have players who come from another country say Japan and have had many Japanese cards, but make their US debut so their first US Major League card is considered their "rookie card". I digressed, where was I? Oh now there is the problem as you said of nearly 100 different sets a year with each player easily appearing on 20 cards per set, some players still only one or two cards in half the sets. Now there is also the problem of short prints super short prints and limited serial numbered cards. I love collecting serial numbered cards and sometimes tend to forget they are not that common, but for some reason they seem easier to get a hold of than the "short printed" cards.

  3. I wish I had some words of wisdom to share with you. I totally understand the time vs monetary return problem. You don't want to make selling your collection a full time job at $3.00 an hour. And you don't feel right about selling years worth of collecting for a relative pittance in just several transactions. If they don't take up a lot of space (something I wish I could say about my collections) maybe you should sleep on it for a while longer. If they do, just remember that holding on to them won't make the money you spent come back. As I said, not much wisdom. You are not alone.

  4. I sold off the bulk of my collection back in 2002 on Craigslist. A guy came by... looked through my stuff, made me an offer... we haggled... and finally agreed to a price. I've thought about thinning out a lot of extras in my collection. But then I think about the eBay and shipping fees... and I tell myself... I'll try again later. Best of luck on whatever you decide to do.

  5. Sleep on it, I go through waves of what to collect off and on and usually come to my senses. If at point you enjoyed those cards, that joy will circle around. That's happening to me right now with oddball 80s stuff. Had sold or thrown away during moves but now I want to collect that stuff again as that's what I had as a kid.

  6. I can understand where you're at Kin. I've been there and sometimes I just pull out a box of cards and think about the cost that it took to acquire them. Some of them are players that were hot at one time or another. I stopped just buying hit Rookies thinking they may be the next Emmitt or Griffey. Those players come along once a generation. Now, the rookies I have are pack pulled and are generally from sets in trying to put together. I changed my collecting habits from "acquiring anything" to choosing a couple of sets each year and just working on them. Of course, a big part of my collecting focuses on older cards so I run with the 91 Topps project from time to time, pick an 80's set and try to build it or try to add to my Gant Pc. You're right, it's all about preference for each collector. And right now, this is my preference. I don't have the cash to buy spectra or national treasures but I can spring for a box of 86 Donruss to try and build a set I've always admired but never bought much of. You do you man and collect the way you want. There will be people who are interested in the cards you want to part with, it will just take time. That can be a project too!