My Card Collecting Love Affair Is Over

Its been a long and convoluted love affair between Chrome and I, lasting over a decade. Since 1998, I have always chased the Chrome cards of my favorite players, even when I stopped collecting cards. Based on emails I have received from many of the other people in this hobby, they feel the same way. The parts of Chrome I always loved the most were the refractors, as the chromium technology made rainbow foil look like wrapping paper on other products. These cards were everything they were hyped up to be, and I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the refractor is quite possible the best tech feature in the modern card.

In fact, chrome rookies and refractors are possibly the only non-numbered card to still hold value in this hobby. It is very rare that a non-auto, non-numbered card has any value what-so-ever, but the refractor has bucked this trend since its inception in 1993 finest baseball. This also means that the low numbered colored refractors are worth even more, and the Red refractors from both Topps and Bowman chrome have been known to crack 100 bucks without an auto. Think about it, look at all the other low numbered parallels that are present in just about every set. Will any of them frequently draw big bucks without a jersey, patch, or auto? Rarely if any will have that power.

Of course, 2009 is the final year for Chrome in football, and I am very sad to see it go. I will always have a special spot in my heart if it comes back, but for now, this is the end. Although I havent ever had much success with pulls out of either product, I think the singles are always going to be part of my collection. I was lucky enough to pull a coveted red refractor auto last week, and I was happy to finally have the feeling of pulling something like that. However, knowing that those kind of singles will not be available for the forseeable future makes me pretty angry that Topps is out of football. I am very glad to see the end of Triple Threads and Sterling (both kinds), yet I cant help but think that I would be willing to put up with those fluffy turds if I could have another shot at some chrome cards of the 2010 rookie class.

Lastly, its rare that I love a product like chrome through most of its run, and I credit the way that Topps approached the product each year. Instead of rehashing designs or lazily working with new concepts, there was a new fresh look every year. The refractors stayed the same, but I always looked forward to seeing the new design that was coming. Most of the time, they did very well with both Topps and Bowman chrome, and no matter what, those refractors always held their own. Collectors still chase the original Finest set because of the refractors, and I think I may start to join them without a new product each year. After all, my love didn’t come from staying with tradition, it came from appreciation. I never collected Chrome because I needed to be the person who had them all, I collected Chrome because I wanted to.

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