I’ve spent the last two posts talking about how I’m largely giving up on set building, and how I’m looking to reduce the size of my collection.
This time around, as part of my New Year’s Navel Gazing, I thought I’d discuss my goals for 2020… However, it’s not exactly a list of goals, but more the thinking behind those goals. I realize this is not going to set any readership records for this blog, but I kind of want to get it out here and out of the way.
A lot of collectors will talk about entirely cutting out new cards when things get overwhelming, but buying packs is fun and keeps me in touch with “who’s who” and “who’s where” in the Majors. Opening recent packs helps me stay somewhat knowledgeable about less-hyped players coming into MLB, guys like Tommy Edman and Jonathan Loaisiga.
On the other hand, I’ve come to the realization that what brings me joy with newer cards is not set building but, in a sense, “FrankenSet building”. In 2020 and going forward I’d like to have as many different current players as possible represented in my collection, but I’m not chasing entire sets unless I just completely fall in love with 2020 Heritage or something which hasn’t yet been previewed.
In a similar “Unless I’m blown away” vein, I’m not going to spend much effort tracking and chasing after most inserts, online exclusives and unlicensed cards. If they come my way in packs or trades, that’s fine, but there are just too many to bother building wantlists or looking for them at shows or online. I’ll admit that, in my case, I’m pretty much dreading the coming onslaught of Pete Alonso cards.
Quick visual break to feature three 2019 cards I found to be an interesting grouping…
Edwin Encarnacion played in 2018 for the Indians (His Series 1 card is on the bottom), was part of a three-team offseason trade which sent him to Seattle (Opening Day card, upper left) and was traded to the Yankees in June (Update card, upper right). Not often that you get three different base cards like this. Sadly, the Topps Chrome card used the same image as Opening Day did.
Moving on to my goals involving older cards…
I’m not going to have the time, money or frankly the opportunities to attempt anything big, so 2020 is going to be all about smaller projects, team sets and player collections. Since I’ve repeatedly run into budgetary roadblocks with my vintage Mets team sets (Nolan Ryan, high-numbered 1966 Topps, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver rookie, Nolan Ryan), I’m going to focus on the many unfinished 1980’s team set, as well as filling out some of my 1980’s and 1990’s PC wants. For example, there’s no reason why I don’t have every 1980’s Cal Ripken base card other than I hadn’t made them a priority. Now I’m making them a priority.
Since I’ve largely given up on building sets, I need to shift some of my focus towards breaking down some of these partial sets I’m never going to finish. How to handle these is sometimes less than clear-cut. For example, My database says I need just 17 cards to complete 1989 Topps…
…But you know what? I don’t like 1989 Topps much, I mainly collected it because it’s Topps, but it’s one of my least-favorite 1980’s Topps sets.
I’m also 38 cards shy of completing 1989 Donruss, a set I like much better even while I acknowledge its significant flaws.
On top of that, I’m 97 cards short of a complete 1989 Score set, and I’ve got a complete set of 1989 Bowman (named least-favorite 1989 set in pretty much any poll you’d care to name).
Truth be told, I wouldn’t get a huge hit of satisfaction out of completing any of these sets (other than not having to maintain a needs list)… So do I keep one set largely intact and then break up the other sets? Do I pool them all together and make a 1989 Frankenset done by player & team? Should I even spend much time thinking about it given that any of these sets can be easily and cheaply replaced?
There are other years in a similar situation, but I think that’s enough hand-wringing. You get the idea.
One final goal which will definitely affect the tens of readers I have… I want to do some updating to this blog’s format and I’m thinking I should make it more mobile-friendly. I also want/need to update and reorganize my Custom Card Gallery.
Any input on changes to the blog’s layout would be GREATLY appreciated.
OK, as long as I’m boring you all to tears, I’m going to do a Weigh-In for the just-finished 4th quarter of 2019. Yes, I bored you with a weigh-in just a month ago, but that one was two months late, and this one is on time.
As most of you know by now, I find that posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection gives me a look at the big picture, keeps me honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt. Over the past few years it’s been “guilt” but things were looking up in 4Q 2019.
Changes since the last weigh-in (from 10/1/2019 to 12/31/2019):
Net change in the collection: -40 (790 added, 830 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: -293 (757 in, 1050 out)
The net change isn’t big on either number, but I’ve very pleased that both numbers are negative.
Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 13,433
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,078
I’m working towards making that “net change” number become negative, but that will clearly take a fair amount of work at this point.
Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,584
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -15,274
Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 67,932
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 14.669
…which means I’ve got at least 82,601 cards in my collection
Money spent on cards:
This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $136.65
Final total spent for 2019: $964.57
Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
I didn’t track my spending before 2017.
I’d spent relatively little in the 4th quarter of 2019, which is why my 2019 Average $ per month dropped over $10 since the last weigh-in. I would expect the outlay to be about the same $1,000 for 2020, but I’m hoping to make it to the 2020 National in Atlantic City, so that should boost up the cash outlay.
Size of my MS Access card database:
A few years ago I created an Access database and began tracking my collection in there. There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity by finding out how much information is currently in my database.
My database currently contains 939 set definitions (up 1 from the last weigh-in) and 231,981 card definitions (up 291 from the last weigh-in).
In case you’re wondering, the one set added was 1979 TCMA “The 1950’s”. I still need to add Topps Update, Bowman Draft and other late 2019 sets, but I’m planning to make modifications to my database before I do those.
It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, that set represents 1 set definition and 240 card.
GOOD NEWS FOR EVERYBODY!
This is the end of my navel-gazing for the time being. Back to cards next week!
I’ve got a very-long-term project I’m working on, similar in length and scope to a blog devoted to a particular set… but it’s not set-centric and will be a recurring post in this blog. I’m having fun with the concept so far, and I think you will enjoy it as well… but just to make sure that I can keep this going for a while, I’m working to get a number of posts “in the can” before I start publishing. Stay tuned!