This post is 100% inspired by Bad Wax. If you have not checked out his blog yet, please do so. He has some great insight into the hobby and his Definitive Collection is pure genius (and original…no matter what the boys in Texas say).
I agree with Chemgod’s sentiments about needing focus for a personal collection. When I was a kid, I bought packs and retail boxes whenever I saw something that looked cool and had some mowing money saved up. I kept all of my Emmitt Smith and Michael Jordan cards separate, but other than buying a few singles at the local hobby shop, my player collections only consisted of what I pulled from packs or happened to trade for with other kids at school or my brothers before they gave up the hobby. As I got older, my interests turned to buying classic rock CDs with my extra cash, so my card buying dropped drastically. Then I went off to college and somehow paying the semester bills and buying textbooks seemed more important than buying cheap wax at K-Mart. By the time I graduated, I hadn’t bought any boxes of cards for almost eight years.
When I began my career as an accountant, I threw myself back into buying wax with my new-found income. I quickly racked up some credit card debt and wondered what I was going to do with all of the cards I ripped from packs and felt no personal connection to. I also bought a whole slew of Emmitt Smith singles, but it suddenly became hard for me to remember which cards I owned and which ones I didn’t. I took a big step back and almost walked away again fearing I would either lose any passion I had for collecting or would go broke trying to chase down everything I wanted. I wish I had Chemgod’s advice then to focus on what I wanted. Fortunately, I came to the same conclusions on my own.
I decided I would only collect Emmitt Smith cards (Jordan is featured on about 500 Upper Deck cards every year and the secondary market prices are too high for me to seriously continue that collection). Since then, I have decided that I would add two smaller collections that would also hold a lot of personal significance for me. I have found over the past few years that I enjoy college sports far more than professional. I have been a huge Nittany Lion football and Tar Heel basketball fan since I was a child. I decided that I would try to collect every Nittany Lion football rookie card and every Tar Heel basketball rookie card possible. It seems daunting now, but I know I have the rest of my life to fulfill that dream. And since I will be after very specific cards, I feel like I have a better chance at completing it.
By narrowing my collection to these three specific things, I feel I have once again captured that joy of collecting I had as a kid. Chemgod is absolutely correct when he says that this hobby should be about fun and not about making money or chasing the next big thing. Yes, there will always be jerks out there who will try to make ridiculous profits by prospecting baseball cards, but if the core collectors like chemgod (and hopefully me) continue to remember why we began collecting in the first place and can still maintain joy over profit, I believe this hobby can climb out of its current slump and prosper for years to come, inviting in new generations of kids and kids-at-heart alike.
How have you tried to focus your collection? Leave a comment here, on Bad Wax, or post your thoughts on your own blog.