Being away from the hobby for several years (pretty much since 2005) made me realize how much I do in fact love card collecting. Pursuing cards, organizing cards, learning from cards, displaying cards – I love all aspects of building a quality collection. This hobby helps us reflect on the past, appreciate the present, and look forward to the future. For these reasons (not to mention being more financially stable than I had been in years), I started my collection over from scratch in the spring of 2011. I started things off over the first year or so by buying a variety of wax boxes – 2011 Topps baseball, 1997 Bowman Chrome baseball, 1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars football, 2008/09 Topps Murad basketball, 2012 Topps Heritage baseball, and a few others.
While I had fun ripping into these boxes, more often than not, I was left disappointed by the overall value of the cards that I pulled. For the post 2010 boxes in particular, I too often ended up with an autograph/game relic/serial numbered card of a minor star or of a young player who had failed to pan out. And even though I enjoyed having stacks of cards to review, organize, and catalogue, between work and family life (my first son was born in September 2012), free time was at a premium. Why spend hours sorting through my cards when I could simply go on eBay and buy already-organized complete sets on the cheap? All of this is just a long way of saying that by 2012, I was faced with old questions that I had never really answered: What would be the theme and focus of my collection? In what format (singles, boxes, or sets) did it make the most sense for me to purchase cards? I wanted to collect cards, but had to become more efficient at doing so. Given the smorgasbord of card sets being produced by the hobby industry, it was more important than ever before to answer these questions once and for all.
After much thought, I decided to stop buying wax-boxes and instead purchase single-cards almost exclusively (I do plan to do some box breaks for Lingua Sport Cards). Buying quality single-cards seemed like the best and most responsible way to get value for my money (espeically important for a new parent). At first, I thought that I would miss the excitement of ripping into fresh wax packs, but I quickly discovered that searching for and ultimately finding rare and interesting singles can be just as exciting, if not more so. I also liked that I no longer had to worry about pulling redemption cards or damaged/non-centered cards. The patient pursuit of highly-sought after single cards is a thrill all by itself, a thrill that I’ve come to appreciate more and more over the last couple of years.
But which players to collect? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve liked having a wide variety of athletes in my collection. First of all, I like a wide variety of players in real life and want my collection to reflect that. Secondly, I think it is financially prudent to collect multiple players. Just as having a diversified portfolio is important when it comes to financial planning in general, it makes sense to me to maintain a diversified card collection. To be sure, I am not in the hobby to make money. Ideally, my kids will grow up to like card collecting, and I’ll be able to will my collection to them. But at the same time, we all live in the real world. It is impossible to predict when a monetary-related emergency might appear. If I ever do have to sell my collection to help my family out, I want to make sure that I’ll be able to get value back. Maintaining a highly diverse collection (as opposed to putting all my eggs into one basket with one or two specific players) seems like a good way to ensure that my collection retains value over time. So with all of this in mind, by about 2014 I had created some statistical standards to base my collection on (players who reach these standards become eligible for inclusion into my collection). We all have different collections, and this is what I am most comfortable with.
Finally having a general plan in place, my collection grew steadily from 2014 to 2016 – one card, two cards at a time. As always, I built up my baseball, basketball, and football card collections simultaneously. I especially had fun looking back at cards from the late 1990s. I had overlooked many of these sets in my younger days, and quickly discovered that a treasure trove of high quality cards from this era existed. However, even though I was enjoying myself and my card collection, something was still missing: interacting with fellow collectors! It was great building up my collection, becoming more adept in the hobby, and debating with myself what made for a quality card, but I was doing all of these things in isolation. By the end of 2016, I realized that it was time for me to change things up and start communicating with fellow card collectors. Many other collectors had their own blog and/or showcased their collection on YouTube, why not me? We live in such an interactive world these days, why not take part? LinguaSportsCards.com is my answer to these questions. This site is my effort to engage with fellow collectors, and to give back to the hobby that has brought me so much joy.
My collection has been dismantled and rebuilt a couple of times during my life, but I’m here to stay this time. There have been a lot of ups and downs in my Card Collecting Journey over the past three decades. I’ve made some choices that I wish I could undo, but as long as I learn from the past (and not dwell on it), I have no regrets. I’m not sure where my collection will go moving forward; life is simply too unpredictable. But I look forward to sharing my experiences with you every step of the way.
Word of the Day
obviate – to make (something) no longer necessary; the new medical treatment obviates the need for surgery