I recently added a modest selection of 1975 Topps buybacks to my quest to "complete" a 1975 buyback set and, in the process, went over 200 cards in my project.
I now have 206.
My intent with this project was for it to be as carefree as possible. I don't really expect to complete the entire 660-card set. I wanted to be surprised with what I find, and by when I grab a certain card and what is out there. I didn't want to make a want list (that's why the want list features only cards I've accumulated in the set) or be trapped by other tasks that happen naturally when you try to complete a set.
But I've kind of changed that approach. With reaching 200 different cards, I think I owe it to myself to know how close I can get to a complete set here. I should see some sort of finish line as I continue this project.
So I did a small amount of searching and counting.
Looking at the various online card outlets, there are 22 buybacks that I need that I could acquire with no problem tomorrow. They are within my budget and I fully expect to have them in the next month or two.
There are also a whopping 139 more that I need that I can get with very little problem. There is no deadline on this project, so who knows when I'll get them, but they will land in my collection with no struggle.
There are about eight that I could get with a little counter-offering on COMC.
There are 18 more that are being offered for unreasonable prices. But they ARE out there. So I can always find them somewhere else or -- this the beauty of online shopping -- another one may pop up at a much more rational price tomorrow.
I found 37 more in COMC's "sold-out" queue. Some of those same "sold-out" cards are on ebay or elsewhere so the "sold-out" thing won't be much of a deterrent. Again, today's "sold-out" card can be tomorrow's "make-me-an-offer" card.
I found 18 more at various other online sites like sportlots.
That brought me to 234 cards that I need that I know are out there. Add that to the total I have already, and I'm dealing with 440 known 1975 Topps buybacks on this particular day, January 15, 2018.
So, curiosity peaked, what's missing?
-- I didn't find any Hank Aaron card, not the first card in the set or the last card.
-- Very few of the "double zero" cards. No Willie Stargell or Reggie Jackson or Rod Carew.
-- There WAS a Nolan Ryan buyback card but I'm not paying $200 for a buyback of a card I have already. Besides, Shoebox Legends has one of those stamped Ryans and maybe I'll throw him all the Red Sox in my collection for it.
-- There also was a stamped Carl Yastrzemski, also outrageously priced as some dealer took advantage of Topps' beyond-ridiculous "levels of stamped scarcity" in its 2017 buybacks. Just keep finding more ways to screw the lowly collector.
-- No Ron Cey or Steve Garvey. But I do know there's a Cey out there because I've seen it somewhere. I'm assuming if there's a Garvey, gcrl has gotten it already or will get to it first. Let's hope he picks up a 2-for-1 deal.
-- Very few MVP subset cards. They do exist though. I found a couple.
-- No 4-player rookie prospects cards. I've heard mention of a couple of those cards, but I didn't see one on this go-round.
-- No rookie Brett or rookie Yount. If those two do exist, this project just got a lot less fun.
-- No superstars like Rose, Bench, Seaver, Schmidt or Gibson.
-- No Vida Blue, although I saw one on Dime Box Nick the other day that he says he's going to keep but OH YES, IT WILL BE MINE.
-- No checklists. I doubt there are any. I think even Topps couldn't convince a single collector in the world that they had anything special when they pulled a stamped checklist.
-- No Herb Washington. (*sad face*)
-- a limited number of team cards, there were probably under 10.
That's what I'm facing.
But I'm still glad I did this. If there are 440 buybacks that are reachable then I'm almost halfway through this project and this is a good point to check my progress.
None of this research is scientific. I do know that if I ever approach 440 unique cards, that I will then proceed to unearth buybacks that I had never knew existed. That's the fun of this continuing project.
Whenever I can rescue a poor, abused, stamped and scarred '75 Topps card, whether it's one year, five years or 20 years from now, I will do so.