I found this card sitting behind an upgraded version of the card when I was pulling all my 1956 Topps cards out of the binder for my completion post the other day.
I had no idea it was there and it's kind of neat to have another '56 dupe again -- I think I've traded most of the others away.
I'm now in the process of returning those '56 cards to their forever home and taking my time with it. Because, really, once that's done, I'm done with the '56 set for good and then, now what?
That's a very real feeling when you accomplish a task on this kind of collecting level.
I think most collectors understand the achievement. This is my most-liked tweet in nine years on Twitter, and I can't imagine any collector not clicking that "like" button, you'd have to have some kind of issue.
Out of all the comments on this tweet, there were lots of congratulations, a few really weird responses (there are always those people) and a couple of "don't forget about the checklists" comments (there are always those people, too).
But what the "don't forget about the checklists" people are actually saying is: "now what?"
So, yeah, right. That.
Well, looking forward, I think finishing the '56 Topps set means I'm done with the periodic '56 of the Month" posts that I've written for the life of the blog. There doesn't seem to be much of a point anymore. I like researching stuff about the subjects, but the posts don't get a lot of readers and that's a lot of work for little return, even if I learn something.
I'm probably done with trying to complete a set that came out before I was born. I'm just not interested in those older '60s or '50s sets and definitely not anything before that. Even something like '59, which I like a lot, is not anything I see on the horizon. I'm sort of relieved though. I can axe out some serious spending.
But the "now what" includes the current feeling that I've now finished all of the Big Sets In My Life.
I'm done with them. I completed the 1975 Topps set and the '75 minis. I completed all of the Topps sets from my childhood all the way until young adulthood. I've completed sets that came out before I collected but I remember seeing all through growing up, 1971 Topps and '72 Topps and '73 Topps. And now, the '56 set -- the biggest dragon since I was a teenager -- has been slain.
What's left? There is nothing out there that I feel a burning need to complete.
Sure, since I don't have to squirrel away cash for expensive '56 cards, I can devote stuff to expensive 1970 Topps cards, like Bench and Ryan. Or, crazy expensive cards in the 1967 Topps set.
Or, if I just want to relax the wallet for the next several months, I can continue collecting oddballs from the '70s because those are always fun things from the kid era.
I just added some more 1976 Hostess cards to my growing set and there's another group on the way. I've been enjoying learning the many nuances of the Hostess cards, even if I can't be bothered much with the brown backs and black stripes and all that.
I'll continue chasing Kellogg's cards from the '70s, stepping up my bids for cards from the '75, '79 and '80 sets. And I can finally commit myself to getting those '80s Fleer sets finished.
And here's something. After putting the dumb Heritage short-prints from the 2008 set on the back burner for ages, I've started picking up a few again. I'm down to the final five.
I will always have some kind of card set to chase. I will always have a list, that's not going away.
But that child-like thrill, that decades-long yearning to finish a particular set that meant so much to me when I was 12 is probably gone now. That's a bit sad. Part of me thinks that might kill my enthusiasm for collecting a little.
But the collector in me is probably safe and still strong.
So let's go.