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  #1  
Old 06-08-2024, 11:19 PM
theshleps theshleps is offline
Michael
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Default when is it too much?

I started collecting autographs from 1965-8 doing visiting team hotels in NYC as well as Smallings list and buying from one of the few dealers back then. Lost interest and sold it all for $250 (easily worth over $1,000,000 if I still had it).
Anyway started again with my son in 2002 doing 6 weeks a year IP at AZ prespring training games (autographs are best post report date but before games start) and Fall league- the goal being getting as many different signed cards as possible. When we reached 65000 signed it started to seem like too many especially when I might have had say 80 different Clint barmes cards etc. Also lots of using Harveys list and started buying for some legit dealers- Stinson, Gordon, Corcoran etc and then ventured into Mastro, Clean Sweep etc.
The quantity became pretty overwhelming and I decided I had to set parameters and get rid of the rest. The parameters have changed over the years but basically I now collect every pre 1970 signed card I can get of a HOFer (this is the bulk of the collection) as well as a signed HOF plaque of each player, and every pre WWII signed exhibit of a HOFer. Also 1960-61 Fleer sets and 1960-1 NuCard. On post 1970 HOFers I try to get 5 signed cards. So at present I have about 4000 signed cards not including exhibits and plaques. So I may have say 5 Tom Seaver as most of his career was post 1969 and 40 Mantle (since there are many pre 1970 cards etc). I have just turned 73 and thinking of changing parameters. Do I really need 5 signed of the recent HOFers? Should I cut down on some of the guys I might have 40 pre 1970 cards of like Brooks Robinson etc. Sometimes I feel like a hoarder, sometimes not. And at 73 years old- how long do I stay active and keep doing auctions etc. These are things I ponder. Those of you in similar circumstances how have you changed parameters, downsized etc or just stayed the course. I do not need the money from selling and my kids are in decent shape. Just wondering which of you have thought about these issues, what you have come up with and what advice you may have. Sorry if I sound alittle neurotic
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2024, 02:21 AM
dgo71 dgo71 is offline
Derek 0u3ll3tt3
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My philosophy is, I will collect as long as it brings me happiness. Collecting autographs still brings me as much joy today as it did in 1987 when I started, although my expectations have been lowered quite a bit by adjusting to the new hobby landscape. When I started, players in Double-A and lower were super appreciative anyone had even heard of them, let alone want their autograph. Nowadays, with private signings being held with every borderline prospect who happens to get a Bowman card, many low-level players are tougher to get than some MLB players. So while I don't bring as many cards to games and am far happier with just getting 1 or 2 of any given player than I would have been say, 10 years ago, I still strive for the "as many different cards as possible" goal. When people ask what I plan to do with everything, I just say "I have no plans at all. I'm a collector. Collectors amass things. That's what we do." That's a bit tongue-in-cheek but not all that far from the truth. You have a spectacular collection from what I've seen you post on here. As good as the 1980's were, I can only imagine the memories you have from the 20 years before I began. I've always felt this hobby is most rewarding when treated as a pastime, and not as a business. Since you aren't destitute and appear to have no pressing need to downsize, my advice is stay the course, for as long as the hobby is still enjoyable to you.
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  #3  
Old 06-09-2024, 05:04 AM
cubman1941 cubman1941 is offline
Jim Boushley
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Although I am not necessarily an autograph collector and my focus are the Cubs, I agree wholeheartedly with Derek's advice. My collecting has tapered off in the past few years as the prices are starting to get beyond my means but I do it for the fun and enjoyment. My son was visiting this past week and we talked a little about this and he understands as does my wife that I get enjoyment out of my "hunts". As we were talking, many memories came back into play, including the two of us going to a couple Nationals. I am getting on in years and the memories and the enjoyment I get when I am able to find something I need are some of the things that keep me going. Stay the course as long as you are finding enjoyment. When the enjoyment leaves and it becomes a yoke because you need this autograph or that autograph, then leave and hold on to the memories.
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2024, 05:37 AM
BillyCoxDodgers3B BillyCoxDodgers3B is online now
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I think that sometimes, people tend to lose sight of what should be one of the greatest joys of collecting: you make the rules! It should never be the other way around. People like uniformity, so that is often the cause of this happening. Do you really want 5 unsightly Greg Maddux scribbles, or are you letting the parameters of your collection (which you came up with, by the way) control what you do? To me, that's no fun at all, and "fun" is what brought a lot of us here to begin with! Change the rules! It's in your power.

I can relate. We all can. When I collected, I was a completist. I wanted at least one of every MLB player. Unlike many, I wasn't as picky as to medium. 3x5s or cuts that would fit onto said were preferred, but I'd take anything, especially when it came to the very rare. And I was never concerned with pen/marker type/color.

But the rules changed. I became stuck in your same rut, albeit for different reasons. By the 1990s, the new players' autographs were becoming increasingly hideous to look at each year. I didn't even have any interest in the modern game, so what was I doing collecting this junk?! I was bound to a silly, self-imposed rule. I decided then and there to put a cap on this nonsense at the year 2000 debuts and call it a day with material that only made me cringe. Easy as that.
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2024, 06:20 AM
rand1com rand1com is offline
R@ndy Hart.soe
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theshleps View Post
I started collecting autographs from 1965-8 doing visiting team hotels in NYC as well as Smallings list and buying from one of the few dealers back then. Lost interest and sold it all for $250 (easily worth over $1,000,000 if I still had it).
Anyway started again with my son in 2002 doing 6 weeks a year IP at AZ prespring training games (autographs are best post report date but before games start) and Fall league- the goal being getting as many different signed cards as possible. When we reached 65000 signed it started to seem like too many especially when I might have had say 80 different Clint barmes cards etc. Also lots of using Harveys list and started buying for some legit dealers- Stinson, Gordon, Corcoran etc and then ventured into Mastro, Clean Sweep etc.
The quantity became pretty overwhelming and I decided I had to set parameters and get rid of the rest. The parameters have changed over the years but basically I now collect every pre 1970 signed card I can get of a HOFer (this is the bulk of the collection) as well as a signed HOF plaque of each player, and every pre WWII signed exhibit of a HOFer. Also 1960-61 Fleer sets and 1960-1 NuCard. On post 1970 HOFers I try to get 5 signed cards. So at present I have about 4000 signed cards not including exhibits and plaques. So I may have say 5 Tom Seaver as most of his career was post 1969 and 40 Mantle (since there are many pre 1970 cards etc). I have just turned 73 and thinking of changing parameters. Do I really need 5 signed of the recent HOFers? Should I cut down on some of the guys I might have 40 pre 1970 cards of like Brooks Robinson etc. Sometimes I feel like a hoarder, sometimes not. And at 73 years old- how long do I stay active and keep doing auctions etc. These are things I ponder. Those of you in similar circumstances how have you changed parameters, downsized etc or just stayed the course. I do not need the money from selling and my kids are in decent shape. Just wondering which of you have thought about these issues, what you have come up with and what advice you may have. Sorry if I sound alittle neurotic
If money is not important to you or your children as you stated, then just enjoy the hobby the best way you can.

I am a little younger and more of an investor/seller than collector, but I can assure you my wife nor daughter want to be left with a large holding of cards, autos, and memorabilia when I pass.

I try to keep the inventory down to a manageable level although each year it seems to grow. Discretionary money always bought the "stuff" so I guess nothing ventured, nothing gained if I pass with a large amount of dollar value that will not translate to the same cash for my estate.

I do keep a costed inventory on the more valuable items that my wife and daughter know about so they will not be completely in the dark as to value.

I have also given my wife and daughter contacts to liquidate the inventory should I pass suddenly. It will result in the least amount of lost cash. That is the least I can do for them.

And the reality is, I like the buying/selling platform so the enjoyment I have obtained possibly trumps the loss of value at some point in time.

I have an older friend who is 80 and going through your same questions. He has no close family to leave his estate to but does have a niece who will get it and he does not want to have a bunch of memorabilia for her to deal with, so he is holding onto the parts of his collection he really enjoys and is slowly liquidating the part he rarely looks at.

This might be a good approach.

With today's life expectancy, you may well live another 15-20 years, so enjoy what you have spent a lifetime obtaining would be my advice.
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2024, 10:16 AM
tlake22 tlake22 is offline
Terry Lake
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I know this will sound harsh but I mean no disrespect. At 73 you are at the over and under. Sell it all now. Give the money to your family members or treat them to a great vacation. Trust me...I'm a coin dealer and if I had a dollar for someone who has brought in their newly deceased fathers collection just to get rid of it I would be rich. Your family will have their hands full with way more important things than to liquidate your collection that they have zero interest in.
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2024, 06:13 PM
NiceDocter NiceDocter is offline
Rocky Rockwell
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Default My answer

Assuming maximum financial return is not the issue…. then collect whatever you enjoy as long as you want…. and make sure your “estate” includes a contact for disposal easily of your collection after you pass on to Glory. Having an actual phone number or website of an auction house or private seller to call will remove your heirs from a lot of trouble. And try and “document” with each highly unusual or valuable piece now so that it doesn’t fall through the cracks some day in some future auction. Good luck and don’t dump it now… long may you run!!! Rocky
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2024, 03:59 AM
BillyCoxDodgers3B BillyCoxDodgers3B is online now
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I wanted to write something similar to Rocky, but he summed up my thoughts very nicely. If it brings you joy, it's beneficial to your continued existence. None of us know when our time is up; if it's tomorrow, then we didn't plan enough ahead. If it's still a long piece down the road, you may sell too soon and while you still have a healthy interest in the material, thereby causing seller's remorse. With how much the financial aspects of our passion comes into play in other discussions, it's refreshing that the true answer here still lies in the words "fun" and "joy".
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2024, 11:04 AM
theshleps theshleps is offline
Michael
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great feedback so far, thanks. personally I have written something telling my probable heirs who to contact. seems alot of folks are pulling out and I'm wondering why? age? speculation, etc. I love it tho it is quite time consuming and we move alot which isnt easy with a large collection
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2024, 06:35 AM
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MooseDog MooseDog is offline
J Stone
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I started collecting as a kid in the 1970s doing the same thing, hotels, TTM, took many different paths - trying to get every player who played, then concentrating on HOFers, ended up wandering all over the place. Accumulated lots, nothing like you have. Also made a few sales like you did for good money at the time but man, what I would have today. Also had two pretty major deals go south, one outright theft and the other with an infamous California dealer who screwed me big-time.

Over the years also wandered around job wise, haven't been really successful but done OK but also never owned a home and don't have any family (legacy) money or assets. Found that I could always rely on selling some stuff through hobby pubs and later eBay to keep afloat during leaner times.

If your heirs have a direct interest in your hobby, outside of the financial aspect, then I think you can trust them to handle your collection as you wish. However if the interest is fleeting then I would think about handling a dispersal on your own.

I'm about to hit 65, and I've pretty much made the decision to sell and move on. At the moment I'm getting my best stuff in sellable form (TPA certs, etc) and currently working on the low hanging fruit (cheaper stuff). My reasons are as follows:

- don't have any heirs nor relative interested
- certainly don't want to burden my partner with having to deal with it
- as a lifetime city of Oakland sports fan, my last connection to the city is gone
- just got laid off from my dream job (still working in the industry but the location was my "happy place"
- the looming IRS 1099 reporting requirements if they ever go into effect

And last but maybe not least, I discovered (but expected) that a number of what I thought were really nice autograph and game used pieces (these I bought in the 1970s and early 1980s before the hobby exploded) are "likely not genuine".

You don't really ever stop being a collector, so I limit myself to trying to get a signature of every player who appeared in an MLB game for the A's 1968-2024 (thank you for the huge lot you sold me), and a few pieces of Oakland sports memorabilia for the walls and shelves.

Over the years I've kind of lost interest in other sports. I don't know, I just like watching games and competition and the increasing tendency of turning everything into an "event', announcers yelling into the mike to dramatize a moment and the over-analytics don't do anything for me. I would pay for a crowd-noise only feed. I have season tickets to the San Jose Sharks and attending hockey games in person is still one of my favorite activities, yes even in the state the Sharks are in right now.

One of the things I do to satisfy my collecting and history bug is to visit museums and I found part time work with a small local auction house. I do some cataloging, help appraise sports stuff, books, and paper ephemera, areas I am familiar with. Have to resist bidding, but that hasn't been a problem unless I know something is going way too cheap. I was a customer, then got to know the auctioneer and she asked if I could help out with a big consignment and I've been doing spot work for her ever since.

I realize what I wrote is pretty self-indulgent but hope there is something in there that can help you in your situation.
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  #11  
Old 06-11-2024, 11:54 AM
HexsHeroes HexsHeroes is offline
Vincent Hecksel
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.
If/when decision comes to sell your collection, it will be both the most agonizing and liberating decision/action you undertake as a collector.

I made that decision twice. Once in 2017, but failed to follow through. But after losing a younger brother to pancreatic cancer in 2018, nearly losing my oldest brother to ulcerative colitis in 2020, and finally recognizing the hidden fear my wife kept from me about prospects of dealing with the volume of my vintage Detroit Tigers autograph collection should I die, I sold nearly the entire collection. I gave up substantial potential gain doing so but it liberated both my wife of her fear and allowed me to redirect attention usually devoted to collecting to other, more worthwhile endeavors. Do I miss it ? Sure, but I have had a great time doing other activities and placing people first since. And to be brutally honest, towards the end, the hunt was nowhere near as fun (or fruitful) as in my earlier years of collecting.

For what it is worth, I created a document for my wife to use to sell my collection had I died while still owning the collection. The document dealer names, addresses, phone numbers, list of items and descriptions, and several thumb drives of images and lists that could be sent to sent to prospective dealers. But in the end actually selling the collection myself while alive was priceless in my wife's eyes.

Last edited by HexsHeroes; 06-11-2024 at 11:55 AM.
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  #12  
Old 06-12-2024, 10:23 AM
theshleps theshleps is offline
Michael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HexsHeroes View Post
.
If/when decision comes to sell your collection, it will be both the most agonizing and liberating decision/action you undertake as a collector.

I made that decision twice. Once in 2017, but failed to follow through. But after losing a younger brother to pancreatic cancer in 2018, nearly losing my oldest brother to ulcerative colitis in 2020, and finally recognizing the hidden fear my wife kept from me about prospects of dealing with the volume of my vintage Detroit Tigers autograph collection should I die, I sold nearly the entire collection. I gave up substantial potential gain doing so but it liberated both my wife of her fear and allowed me to redirect attention usually devoted to collecting to other, more worthwhile endeavors. Do I miss it ? Sure, but I have had a great time doing other activities and placing people first since. And to be brutally honest, towards the end, the hunt was nowhere near as fun (or fruitful) as in my earlier years of collecting.

For what it is worth, I created a document for my wife to use to sell my collection had I died while still owning the collection. The document dealer names, addresses, phone numbers, list of items and descriptions, and several thumb drives of images and lists that could be sent to sent to prospective dealers. But in the end actually selling the collection myself while alive was priceless in my wife's eyes.
I am fascinated by your use of the word liberated. When I talked to Jason May after he sold his amazing 1933 signed Goudey collection he basically told me the same. I recently gave my heavyweight champion collection to REA only missing Marvin Hart- that was easy. I also have every US president but still holding on there along with the HOFers and Jewish guys. (I have the best Jewish collection in the hobby both MLB and milb and I'd be willing to sell for a fair price the vast majority of it). Also probably have the best collection of vintage Japanese HOFers on cards of which I might be willing to sell some. I still probably average spending an hour or 2 daily searching for cards, bidding etc as well as work close to full time, travel alot and see 3 of my 5 grandkids fairly often. On some level having such a nice collection adds to my self worth (I know that is kind of sick) and my whole life I have been a collector of something. I have a list of who to contact should I pass and my younger son knows baseball history well.
I am not ready to sell but might change my mind. Love the sharing
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  #13  
Old 06-16-2024, 11:01 AM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
Jeff Lazarus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theshleps View Post
I am fascinated by your use of the word liberated. When I talked to Jason May after he sold his amazing 1933 signed Goudey collection he basically told me the same. I recently gave my heavyweight champion collection to REA only missing Marvin Hart- that was easy. I also have every US president but still holding on there along with the HOFers and Jewish guys. (I have the best Jewish collection in the hobby both MLB and milb and I'd be willing to sell for a fair price the vast majority of it). Also probably have the best collection of vintage Japanese HOFers on cards of which I might be willing to sell some. I still probably average spending an hour or 2 daily searching for cards, bidding etc as well as work close to full time, travel alot and see 3 of my 5 grandkids fairly often. On some level having such a nice collection adds to my self worth (I know that is kind of sick) and my whole life I have been a collector of something. I have a list of who to contact should I pass and my younger son knows baseball history well.
I am not ready to sell but might change my mind. Love the sharing
I never fully sold out (and I am in a different age demographic as I am in my 30's) but had a time where some personal factors led to me to sell much of my collection and take a break, and I can relate to the word "liberated." There was a freedom in not having a fear of 'missing out on an item I really want for my collection,' which I had not realized was even there. It freed up time and money for other things.

Ultimately, I came back to the hobby since I found I still get a lot out of it (I enjoy my collection, I enjoy learning about baseball history, I enjoy the community and friends I've made etc) but I do think there is something to be said for the liberation of it all. I also wonder whether there might be joy (for me) at some point in donating a portion of the collection to a museum or someplace where others would appreciate the work I did in bringing the items that I collected together, though factors such as economics etc. would definitely play a role there.
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  #14  
Old 06-17-2024, 09:51 AM
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bnorth bnorth is online now
Ben North
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Originally Posted by theshleps View Post
great feedback so far, thanks. personally I have written something telling my probable heirs who to contact. seems alot of folks are pulling out and I'm wondering why? age? speculation, etc. I love it tho it is quite time consuming and we move alot which isnt easy with a large collection
I say collect until you no longer want to. I will also say this. I have known a lot of older collectors. The one thing the wife always complains about is having to get rid of all the junk their spouse collected. It is a serious burden in many cases.

I have a friend a little older than you who also did not need the money and none of his family wanted anything to do with his collection. He slowly sold it off over 2 to 3 years. It gave him some more time in the hobby and he won't leave his family a mess.
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  #15  
Old 06-20-2024, 05:42 PM
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earlywynnfan earlywynnfan is offline
Ke.n Su.lik
 
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I've been doing some deep thought about the hobby for the last couple of years. I'm 55 and have amassed quite an abundance of stuff. I love going through it, I still enjoy the hunt, but more and more I look at my man cave and ask "who cares about any of this?" I've started to ebay off some things, just to try to whittle it down. If I were to die suddenly, my wife is just going to call a certain auction house and tell them to come get it all.

I've posted this before, but my prize possessions were also eye-opening moments for me. HOFers, I got them. When I got my Babe Ruth check, I didn't know where to go next. Sure, I'd love a Kiki Cuyler auto, but for what? Who am I going to show it to? I climbed Everest, why spend the money to climb lesser mountains?

Same with my WWII collection. I got Neighbors, O'Niell, and Gedeon. Now I'm going to hunt down a Ray Goolsby just for some completionist obsession?

Sorry if this turned into some sort of rant.
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