Saturday, January 3, 2015

Taking Stock, Part II: Looking Ahead

In my most recent post -- written a week ago -- I sort of recounted my learning curve over this past year of getting back into card collecting. That post turned itself into a post about why I collect what I collect and wondering whether I'm out of touch with other collectors. 

The gist of that post, when boiled down to its essential elements, is that I like to have definition in my hobbies and my life. It's not that I'm tied to having "rules" though. It's more that I like to have specific ideas and reasonable explanations in my head for what I collect or what I do. 

To that end and in one of the least original post ideas around, here is what I would like to accomplish in 2015 in collecting. 

1.  Finish creating my Brewers checklists. 

The cataloging process for me is a two-step process. It's both creating the checklist and filling in what I have on the checklist. I use my own spreadsheets for this because I am not comfortable enough with Access to go that route.  

I tried in the past to use online databases such as Zistle and Trading Card Database to catalogue my cards, but I got frustrated with these user-created sources for a few reasons. First, they are incomplete. This is especially true for the oddball sections of my collection.  Second, they are incomplete. People add sets and checklists to these databases without filling in team information for players. That makes the results on the back-end when I sort for just Brewers cards incomplete. Finally, many of these lists are incorrect, inaccurate, or confusing -- whether it is for leaving off the particular serial number to which a certain parallel is numbered, for leading users to believe that certain sets are numbered in a certain way when the cards give no such indication (usually caused by people assuming that alphabetical checklists for an unnumbered set provided elsewhere is a real numbering system), or for photos being incorrectly submitted for a particular parallel.

2.  Correct Trading Card Database information when possible. 

If I'm going to use a source but complain about it, well, how about I do something about it and fix it where I can? 

3.  Finish creating my Brewers Want Lists.

The whole point of creating the checklists is to see what I have and what I don't have. I have been spending a lot of my time in December working on this particular aspect of my collecting, and it is what has diverted my attention away from blogging.  I've made it part way through 1995 as of this post's writing, and I feel like I need to keep plugging away on it to get it "done" while I have the momentum.

4.  Budget for collecting.

A major change this year for me is that I am going from having a defined, definite, steady income every two weeks to having a sporadic income once a month. Obviously, making payments on insurance policies, my mortgage, and my credit cards will take precedence over buying baseball cards. But, when things settle down on the work front, hopefully I will have the ability to create a defined budget for collecting.

5.  Send out Packages.

I have been bad about this over the past several months. I have promised people that I would send a package to them, and then I don't get around to doing it for a while. I'm making no excuses here, either -- I just need to get better at it.

6.  Catch up on my Milwaukee Braves collecting.

Collecting the Milwaukee Braves is my way of collecting vintage cards from the 1950s and 1960s. I have a decent number of Braves cards at this point, yet I have not done anything to catalogue them, to create any checklists for them, or to determine what collectibles even exist. 

7.  Relax and enjoy the hobby.

It's not that I've been chasing any of the high-end products. It's not that I would turn down getting some of the high-end products if they showed up in my mailbox, either. It's just that I have to stop myself from getting so worked up about "OMG TOO MANY PARALLELS" and just collect. 

The part I hate about this is that it makes me make decisions and draw lines about what I will collect or chase and what I won't collect or chase. At the same time, I'd go insane trying to collect everything -- even if that was my goal as a kid. 

In the end, all of this boils down to a couple of things. It's seeing what I have, what I don't have, and deciding what I will try to collect. 

This is a lifelong hobby. Think about it: At some point in 2025 on some auction site/at some flea market/in some storage unit sale, someone's 2014 Topps Target Red Parallel complete set will come up for sale. It may be more expensive at that point than it would be right now, but if I can't buy it now, hopefully I'll be able to buy it in the future. 

So I keep telling myself -- relax and enjoy it. No one is judging you for not collecting Topps Dynasty, and, at the same time, don't judge someone who does. If it makes them happy to spend $300 on a pack of cards that is literally just one card, well, great. If it doesn't make them happy to do that but they do it anyway, that's their problem. Not mine.

Here's to a great 2015, and to a great year of collecting.


  1. That seems like a reasonable list. My list was very short and pretty much just stated that I want to keep trading as much as possible.

    Happy New Year Tony!

    By the way I've picked up a few cards for you!

  2. Good luck with your collecting goals. I'm not sure if I'll ever get want lists together for the last 20 years. I'm not even going to stress about it. I have pretty detailed lists from 79 and earlier. There is so much of the new product I will enjoy what I pick up in trades.