(I haven't been feeling the Cardboard Appreciation posts lately, which is why they've been so scarce. I'm trying to get back up to speed because I want to have another vote-off and put another card in the Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame before the year is out. So this is my attempt to do that. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 237th in a series):
This is directed at all of you set collectors out there.
Consistency. How important is it to you?
I'm referring to card condition. And I find consistency is quite important in my set collecting world -- even more important than the actual condition of the card.
A card in inferior condition isn't a deal breaker if other cards in the set are in inferior collection. For example, if I wanted to collect a complete set of beat-up 1993 Topps, for whatever reason, then any card from '93T that was beat up would do. And, a mint '93 Topps card probably wouldn't make it into the set binder. That's how important consistency is for me.
This is a common goal for set collectors who want their complete sets to be as mint as possible. They're constantly upgrading cards so they look like all of the other cards. But it also plays a part for me when I'm trying to complete sets that are not so mint.
For example, the 1972 Topps set. I received the Steve Carlton Traded card from Commish Bob of The Five Tool Collector recently. It's a tricky card -- a high number of a star player -- and one of the more notable cards from the set that I still needed.
The Commish mentioned that the card wasn't in great shape. All four corners are dinged and there are creases traveling through it like highways on a road map. He suggested the card would hold until I could upgrade.
But it might hold, period. The creases are pretty light. And although most of my '72s are in better condition (I try for VG-EX), the Carlton is not out of place with the other cards in the set.
To me, that's all that matters. Is the card consistent with the cards around it?
And I think this one might be.
Bob also sent a couple of Stadium Club needs because it's yet another set I'm trying to complete. (Aarrrgh, Joe Morgan is not a black-and-white photo kind of player!)
These cards, of course, are so new that condition and consistency isn't a factor. I suppose that's why certain collectors only collect new cards. The consistency is built in, you don't have to look for it.
But to me, that's part of the challenge of vintage. And it's a fun part. Finding a card that suits your needs, not just a card that fills a hole, is truly a pleasant part of the set-collecting process. It's not about making things hard on myself. It's about my attempt to collect a set where each card is in harmony with the others.
Set consistency is cool.
There's enough about life that is inconsistent. At least my collection is a little more reliable.