Thursday, February 25, 2021

Changing the Way I Collect, Part II

** If we have traded in the past I'd like to ask you to at least read the end of this post. Thank you! 

A few weeks back I wrote the first installment of how I'm changing my collecting habits. You can check it out here, but in short it basically has to do with me no longer chasing parallels of my favorite player.

In this post I'm going to try to avoid being whiny while sharing my thoughts on the current market for the hobby. To keep it concise: I'm not fan.

You know what, I remember a series of posts floating through my blogroll last summer about 10 Things I Like and 10 Things I Don't Like.  

Let's start with the I'm really not a fan of: 

  1. Empty card shelves in retail marketplaces. 
  2. My LCS selling retail blasters of A&G (and other product) for $35. 
  3. The Did I do good? mentality. Those who are on Twitter know what I'm talking about here. 
  4. Lack of creativity from Topps. 9 out of 10 insert sets from 2021 Topps Series 1 have been done before. Yikes!
  5. Lack of effort by Topps. Did you look at that checklist from 2020 Update? Ugh. 
  6. The number of parallels in a modern set is downright silly.
  7. Chrome. Don't get me wrong, I love shiny cards, but why was an old timey set like A&G given the chrome treatment?
  8. Ultra High End, High and Middle range sets combine to out number Low End offerings something like 20 to 2. (Big League and Opening Day are the only two I can think of that a kid can afford.)

Not quite ten and I'm okay with that.

There's one common thread permeating the list above: the almighty dollar. The current hobby trends and market, which some say is a bubble, has even caught the eye of mainstream media. This article from the Chicago Tribune states a single pack of 14 baseball cards from 2021 Topps Series 1 costs $8. That can't be right, can it?

How about somethings that make me happy?

  1. - What a great place to get singles for a cheap price. I love their new "box" shipping method and have used it nine times already.
  2. Bloggers - It's nice to know there are like-minded people out there who put out fun content to read. 
  3. The new, simple and cheap way to ship cards on Ebay - I'm so happy there's a $1 option out there for shipping when buying singles on Ebay. I hope to never pay $4 for S&H again!
  4. High End breakers selling on Ebay - This is the only way I could ever to secure Vogelbach cards from sets like National Treasures, Definitive, Triple Threads, Museum & etc. 
  5. Bloggers - You are a truly generous lot. I have a decade's worth of cards to prove it!
  6. Collecting the same I way I did when I was twelve by chasing cards of my favorite player VOGELMONSTER, building the occasional set and dabbling with mini collections of randomness. Sometimes I just don't want to grow up.
  7. Vintage - Fuzzy corners, creases, pen marks, paper loss... these characteristics just further elevate cards of legendary players who help to tell the history of the sport I love. 
  8. Bloggers - The community keeps the hobby fun for me.
  9. Binders - Paging up cards and turning pages of awesome cardboard is something I'll never tire of. 
  10. The Chase - I hope to frequent a card show (after Covid) and track down the gems on my want list and the others I didn't know existed.
A common theme from the positive list? I'm a collector, not an investor/prospector/flipper, and I going to do my hobby my way. 

So, what about the change? 

I think I'm pretty much done with modern day cards, even Big League. I've built the last three master sets of my favorite release, but it was really hard to find product this spring when it was released and I can't see it getting an easier this time around.  

It'll take something really special to catch my eye before I pull the trigger.  Like this 2020 Parkside NLBM Centennial Draft Class card of the Cubs' #1 pick, Ed Howard. 
I think a card of one of the Cubs' top prospects, photoshopped into a vintage Negro League uniform, is a winner in my book. What a sharp looking card design as well.  I didn't buy any Bowman of Ed Howard, but this one I couldn't resist! Perhaps I'll invest in a Gold Sharpie with the hopes Howard is assigned to the South Bend Cubs this summer. 

Instead of focusing on modern cards and releases I'm going to dive into the world of vintage. I have two dozen cards left to track down for 1982 Topps set build and then I think I'll choose a vintage set to slowly work on. 
I found a 30-year-old Beckett in a collection gifted to me, which has allowed me to get a better feeling for what vintage sets are out there and their prices relative to one another. I was thinking about 1951 Bowman and I snagged the Hank Sauer, pictured above, for less than half a pack of 2021 Topps. Then I scanned the listing of big name cards in the set from the pages of the Beckett magazine. 
Yeah, um, no. I will not be chasing a set which has a Mantle rookie in it! Can you imagine what a $5,000 Mickey Mantle card in 1991 would be going for in today's market? 😂 Maybe I'll take a look at one of the 1970's Kellogg's sets or perhaps early 1960's Fleer? That could be fun. 


Trading. I love blind trades and when other bloggers send cards unannounced, but it also stresses me out.  I'm the type of person where a little voice in my head constantly reminds me, "You owe cards to bloggers X, Y & Z. You owe cards to bloggers X, Y & Z." It just gnaws at me until I can send out a return package and it actually makes the hobby less enjoyable for me. 

You're probably thinking, "Just send some cards out. What's the big deal?" If I had something in my reserves to send I would, but the coffers are bare and I'm not buying new product to restock them. To be honest, about 95% of the cards I have placed into mailers the last few years to fulfill return packages have come from Ebay and Sportlots. This may be selfish of me, but I'd like to worry less and I'd also like to spend more of my budget on cards for my collection, not on cardboard to even the score on a trade package. 

So, I implore you to think twice about sending me a padded mailer of cards. I appreciate all the cards I've been sent in the past decade, there's no doubt about that, but times are changing for this blogger. So, please, pump the breaks when considering sending me a package.  

I hope the hobby makes you happy. And if not, then don't be afraid to make the changes you need so it can put a smile on your face. 😀

Thanks reading and Happy Collecting!


  1. I'll respect your wishes and only make sure to send you 1/1 Vogelbachs. But for real though our trades have been fun but if they stress you out I understand, honestly my Cubs reserves have been dry for a while now too.

  2. I know you love bloggers, but here is the problem with them: you know we aren't going to listen to you. I'm still going to set aside any Vogelbach I think you might need. I will just say don't worry about return fire. I've received of your generosity to last a lifetime. But I promise it will only be Vogelmonsters that I pull that I will send you.

  3. Some great insights here. Interesting to hear your take on things!

  4. I'm totally on the same page with you in regards to blind trades. I don't think I've sent you anything recently... but even if I did... you don't owe me anything. When I send you anything, it's a gift... not a blind trade.

  5. I recall a few notes where you mentioned the need to 'get even', but like Fuji said - it's a gift!

    Keep collecting the way you want and most enjoy.

  6. I think we all have the same list. I do appreciate that the bloggers haven't changed and I can rely on those blogs to keep my head straight and appreciate cards for what they are.

  7. I'm with you when it comes to unexpected packages. There are random acts of kindness I've received over the years, and every one I wish to someday repay that kindness. It can be overwhelming.

  8. Solid post, Tom. I totally understand the decisions you've made and will honor and respect them. You've been one of the most generous traders to me personally and I am forever grateful for that. Like you I always feel like I owe a card or twelve to someone but I literally have nothing to send out. Anyway, I can't wait to see which cards (older or newest) make it into your collection and on to your blog.

  9. Do bloggers ever listen to other bloggers when they ask them to stop sending cards?

  10. I can definitely see why you'd put an embargo on present-day cards. Sometimes it seems like Topps is doing everything they can to NOT want us to buy their product.

    I'll also say that I never expect a return when I send cards you to or my other blogging buddies. It's more than enough for me to get unwanted/extra cards out of my hands and into a much better home!

  11. Like everyone else said, I agree with a lot of what you posted. I can't say I'll never send you a package but if I do, I certainly won't be expecting anything in return (don't worry though, my Cubs trade bait is basically non-existent right now anyhow).

  12. Wow - I agree with all eight! The hobby is moving backwards for me, or perhaps I am. Also, I understand your feeling regarding trades and will do my best to respect your wishes. That said, I can't promise I won't crack at some point and send cards your way. I was going through my stash of trade relics just yesterday and found several I meant to send long ago. What to do...?