Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Previously, I listed some players who should be in your card collection. Now, let's examine 10 things you should accomplish in the hobby.

1) BUILD A 200-CARD-PLUS SET FROM PACKS: Buying a starter set is cheating; getting the last few singles from trades, eBay or card shows is OK. Nothing fills you with pride like watching a set take shape. Sure, it's more expensive than buying a complete set, but you'll have a connection with it and appreciate each card more.

2) BUILD A '70s SET: In this case, buying a starter set is the way to go. Growing up in the '70s, I'm biased, but there's just something cool about sets from that decade, especially '75. Building that set was really fun and still get a kick out of flipping the pages and reading the backs. 

3) GET A CARD AUTOGRAPHED: Preferably in person, but it seems pretty easy to get them through the mail these days, so go postal if you don't like crowds. If you go the mail route, target an older player because they tend to sign legibly. A nicely autographed card can be a showpiece in your collection.

4) MAKE A TRADE: Many do this regularly. I still haven't because of impatience. When building a set, I go into hyper-drive and want it completed ASAP. I know. Stupid. It's my personality. With the Internet, making trades with fellow collectors is easy and a great way to thin out doubles piles, save money and make a friend or three. 

5) OBTAIN AN ODDBALL CARD: Though lacking style and logos, cards from snack food and soda pop companies et al. can add depth to your collection, especially if you can track down some regional issues. 


6) TREAT YOURSELF: Times are tough, people have families, mortgages and other bills. But sometimes you have to splurge. So there's an Andre Dawson rookie you've had your eye on? A Bryce Harper? You only live once. As long as you don't go in debt or sacrifice a kid's education, go for it.

7) GIVE CARDS TO KIDS: Speaking of kids, my wife and I at one time gave cards on Halloween, in addition to candy. I'm not sure if that ever turned any of them into collectors, but we were hopeful. I'm going to resume that practice this year. Don't ever pass up the opportunity to give a kid some cards, especially non-collectors.

8) INVEST IN THE HOBBY: It's OK to shop for the lowest price on the Internet and trade for cards, but find a go-to dealer or store. And don't always buy a handful of 25-cent cards dug out from the bargain bin. Make a real purchase occasionally, even if it's just supplies. If you become a regular customer and get to know him or her by name, you will get deals and perks down the line. If you don't, find another dealer/store.

9) TRY ANOTHER SPORT: Be like Bo and just do it. If you're a baseball card collector, buy a pack of football cards and vice versa. Maybe even some of those Olympic cards. Point is, try something different and you might just expand your interests. 

10) START A NEW COLLECTION: It's easy to collect a favorite player or team. Get creative. Collect players who were born or grew up in your hometown (I've toyed with this idea for years). Rookies of the year. Players who hit for the cycle or threw no-hitters. Rookie cup cards. You get the idea. Think outside the box and get a binder going with an interesting subset that won't break the bank to start but challenge you to keep updated.

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