Taking Another Look At Hoarding Versus Collecting

A few months ago, I commented on the ways that card collectors resemble hoarders in some respect, mainly focusing on a lot of people who’s goal is quantity over quality. The “I have to get every type of X” mentality has left many people with a garage filled to the brim, a room filled with cardboard boxes, or even a basement that is more card storage than anything. Because collecting cards usually extends to other parts of collecting sports memorabilia in general, it can get pretty crazy for a lot of people in our beloved hobby.

Recently, I went through the tedious task of cleaning out my collection, because for someone like me, having a card that you cant display is not worth the time. I have sold parts of my Joe Mauer Collection, my Adrian Peterson collection and my Vikings/Twins collection with reckless abandon, just to make room for things that have more immediate importance to my life. I even listed a huge lot of junk that I have pulled from boxes over the last few years. Really, cards sitting in box, most that will never see the light of day don’t serve a purpose right now, especially when our apartment is soon to be filled with toys and orther Noah related items.

Funny enough, while cleaning everything out and posting on eBay, I watched an episode of American Pickers after an episode of Pawn Stars had ended, and I had some interesting feelings about what was going on in the show. For American Pickers, two gentlemen scour the south for backwoods farms filled with old junk that they can sell at elevated premiums for people who want to decorate their homes, stores, or whatever. Its really a novel concept, especially when you see the stuff they buy and how much they pay. To them, hoarders/collectors are the meat of their business, and it drew some very interesting parallels to our hobby. First, I established from this show that if you are organized and knowledgable, you are a collector, but if you are in a state of disarray, you are pretty much a hoarder. But in all reality, is there much of a difference? We are called collectors because we keep everything organized (mostly) in small boxes arranged by a metric that we deem worthy? I think its borderline at best, and I am wondering how many collectors out there really collect just for the fun of it, rather than just acquiring as much as possible to fill some hole that collectors usually have. Even if it isnt conscious, I have a feeling there is something to that theory. Secondly, if you have a bunch of nice stuff, you are definitely a collector, whereas a hoarder has loads and loads of worthless junk. Sound familiar? Lastly, if you have the space to display, and do display your collection you are a collector, where hoarders just pile everything in any open space, or keep excess amounts of stuff regardless of space issues. Again, sounds a lot like people I know.

Trust me, I am not free from judgment myself, as I have to consciously avoid gathering too much. Unlike the past, when I buy packs now, I don’t keep the junk that’s not a hit anymore, mainly because the shop owners almost always give the cards to people at the store. I mean, what is the point of keeping all of those? They take up space, they arent/will not be worth anything in the future, and like many of us, I already have space issues trying to fit the stuff into a space in my house. I have strictly become a quality over quantity guy, even more classified as an autograph collector rather than a card collector. I think that type of switch in my habits have led to a lot of changes to the collection that I have. If its just going to sit in a box, its not worth keeping anymore. As a result, I have a shelf that is filled with cool items and half a box filled with autographs of my favorite players only.

I want to explain now that I don’t really get what drives someone to collect in excess. When I did it, I just did it without regard for much of anything. I just knew that if it fit my wants, I had to have it without a rational thought telling me not to do it. Eventually, I boiled it down to a combination of unconscious personal vanity, or wanting to have the best “X” collection in the world, and a need to fill free time. Now that I have something to fill my free time and then some, and my personal vanity of needing that best collection has subsided. Honestly, when I started this blog, a lot of my card hoarding habits stopped. Instead of plundering eBay for deals and venturing to shows and shops for forgotten treasures, I spent time writing and making this blog better. Now, a combination of this blog and my son have forced me to re-evaluate a second time, this time with me trimming more fat from my collection than ever before. I hadnt sold a Mauer card in three years, and it was tough to see some of the rarer ones go. But now that I have a lot of extra space and some extra coin in my pocket, I feel better about my station in this hobby.

For you super-collectors out there, I would frequently evaluate why you do what you do. Is it really worth your time to acquire what you acquire even though you know that most of what you buy is not something that needs to be bought? Instead of buying that extra hobby box or making that trip to target, maybe its time to start organizing and stop hoarding. Its definitely worth the time to think about it, and who knows, you may come to the realization that quality may be much more important to the well-being of your life than quantity.

2009 Topps Football Is Live

2009 Topps has hit the bay, and I think this could be a really good year for them. First off, I know that they ditched the flag backgrounds for the RPAs, as long as the photos I saw were used, and secondly, they switched away from those awful looking Career Best auto designs from last year.

I liked this year’s base auto design in baseball, and it also looks good in football, though Im not sure why they have career best cards for the rookies who have never played a down. I think we need to change the name there.

EDIT: The first RPA is up, and I am digging the way the borders look, though the player looks a little to stark against that background. Im not a helmet off picture supporter, but this design looks good. See? Topps low end is where its at.

EDIT 2: The duals look great. Kudos to Topps on those.

Edit 3: I have seen variations on some of the rookie cards popping up on the bay, makes me wonder how these will factor into the sets. Ive also noticed that Topps wasnt shy about including some of the premiere tents in the photos, which is a letdown, but I can deal with it. Maybe they will edit the photos when chrome comes around.

Please Leave The Mayo To Hellman’s

Most of you know that I am not a fan of retro sets. Personally, I think it’s a sign of laziness and lack of creativity to just redo an old set for today’s market. Of course, for people unlike me, Retro sets are a must buy, mostly because they are designed to play to a collector’s set building side as well as their nostalgic sentiments about a product from their childhood or earlier.

So far, Magic and Philadelphia were the only slated retro sets of the year, and that was more than enough for me, but not for everyone else. Obviously, Topps finally realized that they were going to have a tough sell for everything not named Chrome or something similar, so they put Mayo football back on the calendar for 2009. After last year, many people lost faith in the product after checklist and collation snafus, so this year they basically decided to remake Allen and Ginter baseball into a football product and call it a day. They have now announced Rip Cards, minis, tons of parallels, framed autos, and box loaders, all of which make this a set that they knew could sell very well, instead of actually making a worthwhile product based on an original idea. Mayo’s current release information is frustrating and boring to me, as I would much rather have something completely different from what is out there already. Why not just insert mayo cards into an existing set? That would be much better.

Im sure that Mayo football wont be awful, retro products never are (except for Magic), but it stinks of stale formats, and makes me want to scream. Im sure that once collectors get bored with buying modernized versions of older cards, there wont be many more retro products that are made. Don’t get me wrong, collectors WILL get bored, as we all know that card companies never get the “too much of a good thing” idea down. When the calendar is stuffed to the seems with old products that have been updated, people will want the creativity back. Until then, I guess Ill have to suffer through all the ones on the calendar this year. Although Im guessing that UD Philadelphia will be the best of the bunch this year due to the inscriptions, on card autos, and use of the most popular retro designs on the market, Im not going to buy any of it. Same with Magic, same with Mayo, same with all the retro sets they make.

I want more sets with simple designs like SP Authentic and Topps Chrome, products that focus on the layout and design of a card as the selling point rather than a gimmick or a stale idea like the retro sets. Both Chrome and SPA have been around for years, but neither seem outdated to me. Its because the cards are focused on as the way to show off the brands, resulting in awesome cards that collectors love.

H/T Matt for the Mayo Pic.

Early Look: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks Football

As I said in the post below, I got my hands on about 10 packs of Bowman Draft Picks football, and I must say that I actually like what I saw.

The base cards and inserts look pretty nice, parallels too. However, there are no chrome base cards in any of the packs, sadly, and the auto manupatches seem like they wont be as big of a draw as Beckett wants you to believe. At one per box with a redonkulously long checklist, you can bet a Sanchez pull is very tough, let alone /25. The group A auto rate 1:900+ packs, and the patches are more.

Basically, this is Topps draft picks with a Bowman name, and should be looked at as such. I do support the name change, but chrome would have been nice on some of these. Also, with Prestige out with NFL team names on the cards, these should have them too.

Here are some pictures of the cards, and the orange parallels I pulled of Stafford and Freeman.

First Look: 2009 Topps Football

At this point, I think base Topps is completely worthless in this hobby, mainly with Chrome now at a ridiculously low price tag, and the fact that low end football doesnt have the same following as low end baseball. Add in that Chrome usually comes out a week or two later, and there is no reason to even think this will be a good buy.

With that, Topps has decided to make it a little bit more interesting by adding, you guessed it, manufactured letter autos of the RCs. Lets hope they dont end up like the disasters that were Topps Lettermen Letters. They also added dual autos and some extra gimmicks. Wow, didnt see that coming.

Ill wait for Chrome, but regardless, the design isnt great in my opinion, baseball OR football.

h/t Freedom Card Board