Monday, December 23, 2013

Collecting with a purpose

Sometimes I think I'd get more out of this hobby if I had a little more direction.

Sure, I have certain cards I collect -- Dodgers, specific sets, night cards, oddballs -- but I could refine my collection a little more.

I hate to use the cards I received from Jon of Community Gum as an example, but really I could have picked any group of cards that I received in the mail lately.

For instance, I will take as many of these Moments and Milestones Dodger cards that you are willing to send, but what hope is there in me collecting them all? Will I make the slightest attempt to do so? Gary Sheffield isn't even a favorite of mine.

Mike Piazza is a little more of a favorite, but my chances of finding all 150 of these cards are zero.

These are very nifty. They're from Topps' golden giveaway website promotion from 2012, the one I completely ignored. I would imagine that there are other Dodgers in this set. But since I ignored it, I have no idea. And the incentive isn't there to find out. It seems like another collection without a destination or purpose.

Here is what I believe are the blue parallels in Chrome this year (it's numbered to 199). If that is so, I'm not crazy about the color change as blue parallels used to be the greatest thing about Chrome cards. And it's not making me want to go out and investigate what other Gonzalez Chrome parallels I can find.

This card from 2002 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia means I need three other Dodgers to finish the team set. But will there ever come a day when I'm looking for team sets to complete that I will say, "how about if I finish off the 2002 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia set?" No there will not.

Then there's the '90s. How many of those team sets or insert sets will I never complete?

But I accept all of these cards gleefully because they're so cool and they're Dodgers and they're SO COOL.

But is there a purpose other than to accumulate?

This is the side of collecting that I try not to think about and I would imagine that lots of other collectors try not to think about, too.

There are lots of sets that we will never complete or come close to finishing. And there are lots of collectors that are a lot less efficient in this area than me -- who have random items scattered here and there without any knowledge of what they have or even where it is.

I respect that kind of collecting. But there's part of me that thinks maybe I should have more of a purpose. It's probably part of getting older.

Maybe I should focus on only my very favorite sets and players and get rid of the rest. Maybe I should just save one card from each set and do some sort of set-type album thing.

I don't plan to do this anytime soon, but it's a thought. And the older I get, and with every new binder that I buy, that thought appears again.

Maybe my collection needs better defining.

Of course, that would mean turning away some cards.

That's an ugly thought, too.


  1. Even if I wanted to pare down my collection at some point, I doubt I could ever bring myself to get rid of some of my cards, as you mentioned. In my world, team collectors such as yourself narrow it down to a specific focus that I've never had. I respect people who can stick with one team or a few players in their cardboard travels.

    That said, even with my scattered type of collecting, I do know almost exactly what I have (and need) and where it all is. That's more of a topic on organizing, though.

  2. I'm one who tries to collect with a purpose as much as possible. I like blocking and tackling - finishing and isolating. That's kind of my personality I guess.

    I like the kind of collecting you do, too though - the smorgasbord makes for good reading.

  3. Over the years, I've definitely gotten more and more focused on what I collect. Once upon a time, I saved every piece of cardboard I could get my hands on... with the idea that one day it might be valuable. These days, I spend at least one day out of the year sifting through things that I either sell or give away to make room for new stuff. Could I be more focused? Definitely. But right now I'm happy with the way I collect... and that's all that matters. Collect with as much or as little focus as you like. Happy holidays!

  4. I collect almost anything, knowing I won't finish everything. Just because I'm unlikely to finish a set doesn't mean it's not fun to have some of it.