Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Holes In My Collection

It's amazing what you find out that you don't have when someone else brings it up. One of my missing commons is the 1990 Topps card of Ivan Calderon. I can never find it at a justifiable price on eBay (it's only worth 5 cents at hi value) and I'm not going to buy a team set when I'm only missing two cards.

With all the packs of cards I opened up in 1990, I never got this card. I'm astounded. I racked up more commons in 1990 packs than stars. I guess it has to do with the law of averages, but I'm beginning to wonder. If I'm desperate to open a lot of packs that aren't from the past two years, I sometimes pick up those repack boxes. It's part nostalgia, part wonderment, part catching up and part desperation. A nice mix indeed.

Funny thing is, when I open the packs from 1990 today, they mostly contain every star I was deprived of back then. Maybe it's the universe correcting things. Maybe it's OK to pull those "star" cards and hot rookie cards now, because they are essentially worthless as a collectible. I pull Ripkens and Griffeys and Alomars and Pucketts left and right out of these packs today. All I pulled back then were Donn Pall and Kelly Mann. It was rare to pull a Nolan Ryan or a Jose Canseco.

Kevin, the newest blogger at A Pack A Day, and of the great sites, The Great 1965 Topps Project and Orioles Card "O" The Day, reminded me of this fact after he sent a massive list of White Sox cards to choose from. In fact he had both cards that I was missing from the 1990 Topps White Sox team set and a bunch of others that I didn't really realize that I didn't have.

As I was paring down his list to cards I actually needed, a strange pattern started to emerge. Team sets that I thought I had completed were coming up short. There was no tampering done to my collection or mislabeling. There were cards that I knew that I didn't have, but for some reason glossed over and forgot about. I guess I was focused on more current sets and sets that were older than I was to really notice that some of the sets from my heyday of collecting weren't complete.

I chalk it up to being bored with the cards I collected as a kid. The way I figure it, I missed out on so much collecting when I was away from the hobby, I've been trying to cram in everything that I've missed instead of making sure my original cards were completed. I was sure that my 1993 collection wasn't up to snuff. That was the year my collecting started to wane and by April 1994 I bought a handful of packs and decided I couldn't keep up with all the new releases and the new higher prices of packs. This was coupled with cards disappearing from grocery stores and my local drugstore putting all the packs behind glass. Plus, all the card shops that popped up since 1990 were all gone.

Thank you Kevin, for making me realize my original goal of getting back into collecting White Sox cards. I feel refreshed by the revelation. I'll still keep focus on much older sets and the current releases, but I'll keep a special eye out for cards that came out during my second wave of collecting (1990-1994), with special focus on 1990 to 1992. Those are the years that I have glaring holes that I once thought were filled.


Kevin said...

No problem! Having just gotten back into collecting myself after not being a diehard collector since the mid-90's, my approach has been scattershot as well. I'm trying to focus more on trading this year, so I can finally get some pesky 80-99% complete sets finished.

--David said...

Amen! Not until I started putting my entire collection into a computer-based program (CardCollector) did I even realize how many of my own sets were "just shy" of completion, or how many sets were out there that I had never even heard of! The internet swap met has been doing wonders for my collection and hopefully, I am providing the same service to others!

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