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Old 02-11-2024, 08:05 AM
Kemp1000 Kemp1000 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2023
Posts: 5
Default More joy: complete sets or individual items

After many years away from the hobby, Iím diving back in. Iím going to start working on a couple of baseball and football sets that are 70 - 80% complete. My dilemma now is how to minimize the financing of them. Trading off or selling duplicates is definitely the first step. Where I am struggling is, do I sell off / trade some 1 off things, ie, autographed memorabilia, hockey, basketball, rare albums, comics, etc. Assuming equal value, do I sell an autographed baseball for an equal amount in cards?

I realize that collecting can get totally out of hand if not keeping your emotions in check, but what brings more joy in the end? Completing sets or a variety of cool things?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 02-11-2024, 09:04 AM
ullmandds's Avatar
ullmandds ullmandds is offline
pete ullman
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: saint paul, mn
Posts: 11,215

i'd recommend you buy cards you like. I used to be a "type" collector...and after years of this I decided I wasn't happy paying thousands of dollars just for a common front with a rare back. My Dots Miller run kept my type collecting urge alive but I focused the rest of my collection mainly on cards I liked.

You'll never go wrong buying cards you like!
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Old 02-11-2024, 10:29 PM
Casey2296's Avatar
Casey2296 Casey2296 is offline
Is Mudville so bad?
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: West Coast
Posts: 4,601

I've built pre-war sets, still working on a couple, but am a type collector at heart. Agree with Pete, I only buy cards I like so shy away from buying commons for the sake of it.

Your interests seem quite varied, for me I had to focus on what I really wanted, what I was willing to sacrifice, and get rid of everything that wasn't on my focused list. I buy pre-war rare cards and hofers which can run expensive so I have to choose wisely and sell everything else to budget for that.

Good luck on your project!
Phil Lewis
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Old 02-11-2024, 10:48 PM
doug.goodman doug.goodman is offline
Doug Goodman
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: On the road again...
Posts: 4,479

Everybody has their own style
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:42 PM
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z28jd z28jd is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,032

I have gone through phases of collecting specific sets, individual players, team sets and just random stuff. I don't think I have any real regrets with the choices, other than passing on a few cards here and there.

Changing up your collecting habits keeps it more interesting. I know people who have gone months/years without buying any cards because they have a specific wantlist of tougher to find cards. That's probably the only thing I wouldn't recommend. You can still get the thrill of the hunt while maybe focusing on something else that doesn't cut deeply into your budget for those rare cards.
Check out my newest book on the life and baseball career of Dots Miller, who was mentored by Honus Wagner as a rookie for the 1909 Pirates, then became a mentor for Rogers Hornsby when he debuted as a teenager for the 1915 Cardinals.
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Old 02-12-2024, 06:09 AM
Johnny630 Johnny630 is offline
Johnny MaZilli
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,117

I prefer individual cards over sets and set building. Never been a fan of looking for cards of players I have no interest in or never heard of...Idk each has their own way to love the hobby which is cool by me :-).
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Old 02-12-2024, 08:42 AM
YazFenway08 YazFenway08 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 516

for me, i think you can be a set builder and still focus on individual players/stars/etc that you love

i treat each year as a time capsule of sorts. i try to be as ďcompleteĒ in a given year as possible. take Ď77 for an example. i have the base topps, o-pee-chee, burger king, cloth stickers, etc all bindered so they are easy to flip though. i like seeing and remembering players i loved then ( liking at you lee mazzilli and john stearns). but then i like to have the key superstars and rookies and red sox players in graded/higher grade slabs. i have this in hard plastic inserts so they fit nicely in the binder (another response talked about this i sawÖ).

set building just seems to evoke more memories for me than just doing individuals. this is less important for years/sets where those memories arenít as strong. iíll unlikely ever build a t206, but would love to have more individual cards there at some point. a Ď34 diamond stars set i would tackle because they were there first vintage cards ever introduced to me by a family friend. thatís how i decide
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Old 02-12-2024, 09:28 AM
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JustinD JustinD is offline
Ju$tin D@v3n.por+
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Birmingham, Mi
Posts: 2,587

Originally Posted by Johnny630 View Post
I prefer individual cards over sets and set building. Never been a fan of looking for cards of players I have no interest in or never heard of...Idk each has their own way to love the hobby which is cool by me :-).
I fall into this category with a specific exception. I collect sets that were released between the ages of 6 and 16 for myself as those strike a memory chord. I love to thumb through them as I wanted them so bad in a card shop or the Sears wish book.

Otherwise it's a completely random assortment of "onesy-twosy" cards or any genre ever...the big 4, non-sports, anything. If it strikes my fancy it's in.

I don't think there is any one way as long as you are enjoying yourself. If you are not, then maybe it's time to change something up.
- Justin D.

Player collecting - Lance Parrish, Jim Davenport, John Norlander.

Successful B/S/T with - Highstep74, Northviewcats, pencil1974, T2069bk, tjenkins, wilkiebaby11, baez578, Bocabirdman, maddux31, Leon, Just-Collect, bigfish, quinnsryche...and a whole bunch more, I stopped keeping track, lol.
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Old 02-12-2024, 01:22 PM
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Shankweather Shankweather is offline
Stephen Benzel
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 195

I used to build sets and collect a wide variety of things, but I've focused all my energy on collecting the Cubs, 1870-present, and I've never had more fun. I'm determined to have the world's greatest Cubs card collection.
Looking for:
1903 E107 Frank Chance
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Old 02-12-2024, 01:34 PM
packs packs is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 8,261

I have a lot of respect for set collectors but I don't like the idea of buying commons.
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Old 02-12-2024, 02:11 PM
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BeanTown BeanTown is offline
Jay Cee
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,025

This would be a good question to have a poll on. I would definitely say individual cards, of certain players.
Love Ty Cobb rare items and baseball currency from the 19th Century.
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Old 02-12-2024, 02:24 PM
1954 topps 1954 topps is offline
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 70

I admire people that have the dedication and passion to put together full sets. Especially fully graded sets in high condition that take many years to acquire. They arenít chasing only the big stars or only care about generating increased value of their collection. Itís about reminiscing and celebrating a by-gone era, remembering names of guys you totally forgot about or didnít know. Researching who these guys were, what type of jobs they had in the offseason, understanding a time when guys played for the passion of the game, not for money or fame.
Anyone with a fat budget can buy an expensive card and quickly show it off. But a complete set in high grade is astounding! It shows the character of the collector, somebody that put the time and effort to carefully assemble a work of art.
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Old 02-12-2024, 03:02 PM
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Rhotchkiss Rhotchkiss is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 4,222

You ask two different questions:

1. "Do I sell off / trade some 1 off things, ie, autographed memorabilia, hockey, basketball, rare albums, comics, etc. Assuming equal value, do I sell an autographed baseball for an equal amount in cards?"

2. "What brings more joy in the end... Completing sets or a variety of cool things?"

The first question assumes you are committed to assembling sets and asks how to pay for that commitment. The second question asks whether you should focus on sets or variety of cool things. Since the answer to #1 hinges on the answer to #2, I will focus on #2 (as most here have done already), and I will approach this from a different angle -- what would I rather sell vs keep (kind of touches om #1); instead of sell vs buy.

I recently decided to buy some real estate, and I have decided that I will sell sufficient value in baseball cards to pay for the real estate (many items will be sold in Memory Lane over the next few auctions). I own sets, back runs, and numerous cards of specific players, and I had to decide what to sell and what to keep.

Ultimately I decided to sell privately items that I felt could flood a market at auction causing a situation where supply outstripped demand (mostly e card back run variations), and to consign mostly items that I could maybe-likely replace if I ever so desired. Thus, I consigned to Memory Lane my T206 set, my 1914 CJ set, a D304 set, and many more common Ruth, Cobb, Wagner Gehrig , Plank, Mathewson, Thorpe, Young, and Jackson cards. Note, by "common" I mean more than 4-6 extant and I am not regarding front/back variations. I decided to keep the items that mean the most to me, that I feel has the most investment upside, and that would either cost me a fortune to replace or I could never replace. For example, I am keeping my compete E107 set (only one known), most red sox era Ruth items, most of my Wagner portrait cards, including T206, rare early Cobb and Jackson items, some very rare and historically significant items, etc.

First I decided to convert cardboard into real estate; you have decided to buy more cardboard. Next, I had decided what cardboard to sell and what to keep; you are trying to decide what to buy and what to buy it with. Finally, I determined to keep those items that are most dear to me, which often are irreplaceable.

In answer to your question #2, I encourage you to consider a similar dynamic -- first, define your top priority (for me it was to buy this real estate and to use 100% cardboard to buy it), and then decide what items you can and cannot part with in pursuit of that priority. Then execute. If assembling sets is your priority, then, in regard to question #1, sell whatever is less important than your goal for sets and keep the rest. You may find you like the individual stuff more. Who knows.

Last thing, regarding sets: Assembling sets is a lot of fun and a huge accomplishment. In my experience, the fun is in assembling and there is a bit of a let down after completion -- the journey, not the destination, is the reward. Regardless, if you do pursue sets, please spend the real money on the HOFers and be frugal on the commons.

Good luck
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Old 02-12-2024, 03:36 PM
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conor912 conor912 is offline
C0nor D0na.hue
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,138

One of the things I enjoy about set building is that no card is more important than any other for completion.
Items for sale or trade here UPDATED 3-16-18
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Old 02-12-2024, 04:27 PM
raulus raulus is offline
Nicol0 Pin.oli
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 1,726

Blonde or brunette?

London or Paris?

Chocolate or Strawberry?

Ferrari or Lamborghini?

I'm guessing we all have our preferences, depending on what floats our boat. Personally, I'm a player collector, and I go deep. I want every piece from their playing days. If I'm feeling frisky, maybe I'll dabble in collecting a small oddball set that is mostly overlooked by everyone else and seems like it might be a fun sideline.

Although if Ferrari is an option, the correct answer is Ferrari. Always Ferrari.
Trying to wrap up my master mays set, with just a few left:

1963 Post complete panel
1968 American Oil left side
1971 Bazooka numbered complete panel

Last edited by raulus; 02-12-2024 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 02-12-2024, 04:28 PM
BioCRN BioCRN is offline
Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 239

I tend to gravitate toward specific types of collections, defined by me, that make me happy.

I have an ungraded Mark Grace collection that happily sits in binders and I don't really care that much about the card condition as long as it's not a beater.

I have a graded 1950-2011 "HOF-stars-notables" collection. Why 1950? Arbitrary, yet easy enough of a starting it lets me start my collection with the RC of the first NL/AL ROY winners Don Newcombe and Roy Sievers. Why 2011? Well, it used to be 2001 because Pujols+Ichiro really breathed life into the hobby and it was a nice time to be in it. It became 2011 because why not...and also Mike Trout. I made the call and got to add more cards.

I have an all-time Cubs graded collection of HOF-stars-notables. It's not insanely impressive like the collections of some others (aka Shankweather), but it's comprehensive and very fun to build. It let me deep-dive into the entire run of the team history (well, at least the 1886+ years) to find contributors that don't have decent name recognition. The education has been almost as rewarding as the cards.

So yeah, collect whatever you want and create your own guidelines. The guidelines may change. You might even get a little bit into it and decide to bail...that happens.

Have fun.

Last edited by BioCRN; 02-12-2024 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 02-12-2024, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: california
Posts: 553
Default 9 pocket sheet

I like to buy the best 9 to 18 cards of each set and put them in a binder,
That way you dont have all the commons and you have all the best of the set
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