Sunday, August 12, 2018

Piece by piece

There is one blogger that sort of likes the same things I like when it comes to cards. He's much more of a player-collector and an autograph selector than I am, but we both have the same nose for older, oddball cards.

Fuji swooped in and nabbed the 1970s/80s Renata Galasso Glossy Greats just before I was going to say "MINE!" during the recent contest draft on The Collector's card blog. And just before that, he announced that he had completed the 1975-77 Kellogg's 3-D sets in one, fell, swoop, throwing me into a jealous rage (OK, more like a jealous funk).

Fuji is now trying to land the 1978, 1979 and 1980 Kellogg's 3-D sets -- three items that I am also targeting -- and I'm sure he will get them all before I do.

Fuji landed himself quite a deal at a card show for those 75-77 Kellogg's cards and I'd certainly jump at it if any dealer in my part of the country was that generous, but aside from deals for full sets landing in my lap, I'm just not going to complete my sets all at once.

I'm not like that. I need to collect piece by piece.

I know, I know. It's not efficient. It takes too long. It costs too much money in the long run.

But that's how I operate.

Collecting -- the very word -- to me is like hunting. It's the chase. It's unearthing stuff here and lucking into stuff there. It's why I will always open packs. Always. To me, that is collecting.

You can hunt for stuff when you're looking for a complete set, too, getting the right online deal. But I likely won't ever do that. My sense of accomplishment would not be nearly as strong as if I tracked down individual cards or a few lots at a time, or in constant trading with blog mates.

So, I accumulate cards from sets, piece-by-piece, assuming I'm going to live to be 210 because that's how long it will take me to complete the sets I want doing so in such a manner. But I don't care. It's about the journey, is what those advice people say anyway.

Recently, I received the 1970 Kellogg's Sam McDowell card from Henry at Cardboard Greats. He offered up several cards that he didn't need and I lunged at that one because, duh, I'm trying to complete all the Kellogg's sets of the 1970s! It doesn't matter that I have like 6 cards from this set. I neeeeeded that one.

So, the pattern continues, assembling piece-by-piece, inch-by-inch, minute-unit-of-measure-by-minute-unit-of-measure.

Here's another single card from a set I am collecting that I selected from Henry. It's the Yankees team checklist from 1973 Topps. Get a load of those pre-Bronx Zoo names.

Thanks to this card I now need just 80 cards to complete the set instead of 81. That might not seem like that large of a drop, but this is not a race. I'll get the whole set eventually. On my own time. In my own way. Whether the entire thing pops up on ebay or not.

Henry sent a few other Dodgers needs, too. The 2017 Stadium Club Maeda is a chrome parallel -- I didn't know they were doing that last year. The Darvish "patch" is related to the Players Weekend uniforms, but what Darvish is wearing (and what the Dodgers wore that weekend) doesn't look anything like a Dodgers uniform, so some of the thrill is gone.

Speaking of Fuji, he sent two cards out of the kindness of his heart that aren't from any sets I'm collecting, but are related to a sport that I love quite a bit.

Canada's Genie Bouchard is a favorite and she shines through on this Goodwin Champions mini even though I don't care for the Goodwin art (I like her A&G card this year better).

And this is a Goudey relic card of American tennis player Taylor Fritz.

The scan of this card turned the florescent yellow swatch into a white swatch, which is very weird. Here is what it looks like in actuality:

I'm not sure what the swatch is, the back is typically vague, calling it "Taylor Fritz event-used tennis memorabilia." The color makes me think it's a tennis ball -- which would be dumb -- but it looks and feels more like fabric, so I guess I'll stay up nights guessing.

Of course, there is no right way and no wrong way to complete your sets. Do it however you like and you certainly don't need me to even say that. I'm just saying what I do. Through habit developed from the time I was a child and because I never have enough cash around to land an entire set, this is how I complete my cardboard.

Piece by piece.

It may not be "optimal," as they say in the business world. But, man, the rush upon completion is like nothing else.


  1. Buying a complete set vs putting it together is something I wrestle with. I tend to split the difference by grabbing a starter lot, sometimes a large one, and finishing it off card-by-card.

    Your comment about never having the cash to buy a set reminded me of the time a kid in our school bought an entire box of wax packs. I don't even remember what year it was, just that the other guys were dumbfounded.

    Oh...that Fritz swatch might be a shirt... Maybe not

  2. Card collecting is like playing golf, you are really only playing yourself. And every once in a while, if you're lucky you get a hole in one, lol.

  3. I don't enjoy getting a whole set at once as much as I do putting them together one card at a time. The full set purchase tends to go (or stay) in a box and get forgotten about all too quickly.

  4. I’ve gone after some complete sets recently, or near complete, because the price for some of the individual cards were more expensive then buying a complete set on sale. Now this isn’t always the case, when I was regularly building sets I was always hunting for a card or two at a time.

  5. The last set I did 67 Topps I went the route of the Commish. Starter lot then pieced the other in Card by Card. If I went after set which I won’t. I would just purchase it. As a side note. I got the 70 Kelloggs set as a kid for a few box tops and 9 bucks. I think it was in 1972. Still have it stored in a box. No cracks yet

  6. Buying completed sets may take the fun out of collecting... but I just don't have the patience (need to save that for the classroom). Plus even though you're spending more money in one shot, it's usually cheaper to buy a complete set.

    By the way... I actually grabbed the 1974, 1976, and 1977 sets. Still need the 1975 Kellogg's. I'm not sure if my hobby budget will actually allow me to cross that set off of my list. But I'm on a mission to pick up the 1978 and 1979 sets before the end of the year.

  7. Amen on piecing sets together. Like Paul said, if bought in one shot, there's almost no reason to go through every card and even look at it again. The starter lot method is my go-to.

    Unless I can trade for a series 2 (and Update) set this year, I'll regret not buying the factory set. Only because I have zero interest in any of the inserts or hits. That's unique for this year. Most of the time I might skip an insert set or two (from bloat or scarcity, but those are the fun parts otherwise.

  8. I really like your idea of piecing sets together slowly yet surely. The reason it doesn't work well for me is that I either forget about it or move onto something else. That's what's caused me to resort to making larger purchases while concentrating on one goal at a time.

    Glad to see I was able to send a few cards you needed your way. I'll take a look and see if I have any cards I missed, likely from 2018 Chrome or Ginter.