This is probably going to be a rambling post, but I was thinking again about how the card collecting community has so many different standards.
This has been decades in the making and the only thing many collectors have known in the hobby. But I remember a time when everyone collected the same thing and, with the exception of different rooting interests and varying tastes about individual cards, had the same experiences and thoughts about cards. We all collected Topps, each and every year.
So as great it is to have variety, there was very little disagreement about what a set offered or didn't offer, what was good about it or bad about it. You had only one set to collect, do you want to collect? Well, shut up and collect.
It's much different today.
Take this page for example.
Some collectors would look at this and see a cutting-edge set, with sparkly and shiny parallels, an alternative to the company that has all the licenses. Some of them collect only Panini cards. That's wild to me, but they're probably not set collectors.
Other people look at this page and wonder what it's doing in my collection. Why aren't they in the garbage? I admit, sometimes I think that myself -- after all I grew up in a time when nobody knew what a baseball card license was. The cards simply came with logos, all the time -- except for NFL cards.
It's a wide disparity. I mean I can't even enjoy cards on my own blog without someone in the comments acting like they're my teacher and telling me "I'm better than that." What have we created? (Yes, I know, we've created collectors who can't handle change ... or use their inside voice).
Here are some cards from reader Grant to help continue the discussion. He sent me two separate envelopes, days apart, and did quite well as 17 of the 20 cards were needs.
Here are some more of those Panini cards. I will dutifully accept them and happily put them in my binders. The young collector in me, who only knew Topps, would wonder what has become of me. I mean I didn't even think Fleer and Donruss were legitimate when they showed up with cards in 1981.
It means I've adapted (others would say I've settled). In order to keep to my long-established set- and team-collecting standards, which say that I need a version of every card of my team ever created, then I want stuff like this. Maybe one day -- when I finally run out of space -- I'll get rid of cards like this. I do know that in the event of downsizing, they will be the first cards to go. I haven't lost complete sense.
Bowman cards (not 1950s Bowman) won't be far behind in that future trip to the garbage dump. Bowman has made a lot of weird cards in the name of prospects and it's created an entire collecting class that chases prospects, that's all they do. And, unlike those days in 1977, we have nothing to talk about when it comes to the hobby.
I would never tell anyone not to collect cards like this, they should do what makes them happy. But these are among my least favorite cards in my collection. They don't mean anything to me other than it says "Dodgers" somewhere on the card. Probably a sign I should start unloading.
As the only player in the logo'd baseball card game, Topps tries to appeal to all kinds of collectors with a wide variety of sets. Shiny, plain, loud, ugly, nonstop stars, people I've never heard of and guys from a long time ago. I don't have enough control to limit myself to just one kind of set, but when I think about it, sticking to one set makes sense. I used to do it. For years. I'd do it again -- if flagship would use real card stock again.
Collect parallels of parallels? I know collectors who think that's ridiculous. I know collectors who loudly proclaim their greatness. That's a wide range of opinions.
I am in the middle. I try not to spend money on cards that have pictures I just saw. But I am also part magpie. I can't resist colorful and shiny things.
What would collectors do with this flimsy, non-standard-sized card of the unfortunately named Dick Cox, whose picture has been taken from a newsprint image (notice the type!) probably from the 1920s.
Some wouldn't even consider it a card. Some would have no thoughts. But collectors with an appreciation for history, and an interest in one particular team, really, really want it. They want it so much even though these are impossible to store. Different standards.
More history, more cards that elicit varying opinions.
I love Laughlin cards, particularly the World Series sets. I want them all. I have the same kind of enthusiasm for these that people have for ancient vintage, you know stuff like tobacco cards from 1908. I'd rather have these. Weird, right? But that's the way I am. And I realize that, when I shout out to the internet that I've added more Laughlins and get a tepid response.
I like a wide variety of cards. I also dislike a variety of cards. As I get older, I'll probably narrow my focus -- I just see that's what happens to people when they get older -- and most of the cards I will keep forever will be stuff I saw as a kid.
But there always will be a little bit of variety. That's always in me. And that's why I got the following with what was left on my gift card after the Heritage buy:
Some collectors said "ugh". But others said "cool."
Forgot to mention I put up a new 1993 Upper Deck blog post over the weekend.