Weigh-In #55: Looking Back, Looking Forward, Pseudo-Goals And Such

I was very bad in 2016.

…From a collecting standpoint, that is.  Trust me, my life in general isn’t scandalous enough to make anybody take notice.

But the thing is, I behaved poorly with regards to my collecting habits and the guilt has set in.  When I started this blog a little over 5 years ago, part of the intent was to keep myself focused on a long-term goal I had, which was to streamline my collection and get rid of a lot of “fluff” that takes up space and which I would never miss (I’m looking at you, 1990’s…).  However, “Focus” and “2016” will never be associated with each other in my theoretical biography.  I did way too much of “Hey, this is cool!”, “Wow, that is awesome!”, way too many impulse buys or cards acquired “just because” and not enough looking at what I already have and asking “Why do I have this?”

And this isn’t solely about sticking to goals.  I’ve come to realize that I’m just dashing through all aspects of collecting, I’m not really spending any time with the cards, I’m not enjoying them like I should be.  It had gotten so out of hand that when I was gathering up unwanted cards for the annual last-minute Goodwill donation, I found a box of forgotten cards from a show in late 2015.  Didn’t get scanned, barely got looked at.  I had come home with the box, removed a few key cards and cards for trade, put the box on the table and it got swallowed by the clutter and forgotten.  Yikes.

OK, so I’ve been bad.  What am I going to do about it?

  1.  More “quality time” with my cards.  Too many cards get bought, scanned, entered into my database and then filed away without my really spending any time with it.  That has got to stop.  I’ve made efforts in the past to remedy this, but it got overwhelmed by too many cards coming in… which leads to the next step.
  2. Keep a box of loose, newer acquisitions in my car.  One of the reasons I get more cards than I need is because I often blow off steam at work by taking a “cigarette break” to bust wax packs in my car.  The problem with this is that it’s become something of a habit, and I’ll buy packs (or repacks of packs) just to have something to bust.  I’m thinking if I have a box of recent acquisitions (nothing vintage or valuable, of course) and just sort through them instead of busting something new, that might keep me from buying a lot of crap I don’t need.
  3. More Frankensets.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve worked on Frankensets for 1992 and 1994, where the binders have one example of each player/team combination from that year.  This worked very well in finding and eliminating some of my “1990’s bloat”.  I need to do more of those (1995 is up next), and I’m also going to set up more Frankensets for recent years along the same lines… although I don’t purge the more recent cards until I know that player is never going to mean anything to me in the future… or I know that I just can’t stand a particular set and have no need to hang on to cards from it.
  4. Skip those “goals” that are really excuses for buying cards.  An example of this is that I started buying 1960’s cards which have the Rookie All-Star trophy on it… regardless of whether I like the card or whether I’d even heard of the player on the card.  I’m not completely happy with an example which involves vintage cards, but it gets the general idea across.

I think I can come up with more, but this is a good start.

OK, on to the “Weigh-in” part.  To remind everybody of what these are about… Much like weight-loss programs will have you weigh-in on a regular basis to keep track of your progress, I find that posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection helps me in a number of ways. It gives me an opportunity to look at the big picture, and helps with both motivation (if I do well) and guilt (if I don’t).   Spoiler alert: There’s a lot of guilt time around.

To add to the visual appeal of something which isn’t the most exciting information, I’ve included a number of cards from “The Forgotten Show”.

1986-topps-league-leaders-keith-hernandez

First I’m going to document the changes since the last Weigh-in on September 3rd, 2016:

Net change in the collection: +414 (723 added, 309 purged)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: -2,856 (1,134 in, 3,990 out)
Cards given out at Halloween and cards donated to charity at the end of the year means big negative numbers.

1995-classic-images-manon-rheaume

Next, the totals since I started tracking this stuff on 10/16/2011.

Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,135

Net change to the collection, to date: +253
I am tremendously chagrined that my collection is larger now than it was 5+ years ago… I know that sounds silly, but again, it’s all about making the collection leaner and meaner.  It’s also the first time this number has been positive since 2012.  (sigh)

1973-74-o-pee-chee-dick-redmond

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 48,859
This number never fails to make me say “Da-a-a-a-a-a-a-amn!”

Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -26,763

1970-topps-scratch-off-jim-spencer

Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 54,312

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 16,890

…which means I’ve got at least 71,202 cards in my collection
1986-topps-quaker-tom-seaver

And since it’s now 2017, let’s go with Billy Joel to Miami… But I don’t think anyone in 2017 is going to blow the Bronx away or sink Manhattan out at sea.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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6 thoughts on “Weigh-In #55: Looking Back, Looking Forward, Pseudo-Goals And Such

  1. While I decided not to state them formally or anything, I agree with a few of your points/goals for the year. Constant struggle between the fun of acquiring something new vs. the enjoyment of what you already have. Happy New Year!

  2. You have over 50k cards tracked in a database? That’s f’n impressive. Actually… the fact that you’ve tracked how many cards you given away is impressive too. F’ it. This whole post was impressive.

    • Thanks, Fuji, I appreciate it. I started tracking my cards on my computer something like 25 years ago using store-bought software. I was later able to load that data into my database… still a good amount of work, but not anywhere near as bad as entering 50K cards from scratch.

  3. FOR THOSE READERS WHO MIGHT BE UNAWARE, BOB LEMKE DIED ON 3 JANUARY –

    Author, publisher and hobby expert BOB LEMKE died of congestive heart failure Tuesday morning at a hospital near his central Pennsylvania home.

    Born in Wisconsin in 1951 and a fixture in the hobby since the 1970s, Lemke was influential in Krause Publications getting into the sports card and memorabilia publishing business with SCD and other titles.

    Working in the company’s coin publication division, he convinced company owner Chet Krause to buy the magazine in 1980.

    He was a columnist, editor, publisher and vice-president during his career with Krause, which was eventually purchased by F&W Media.

    An avid sports fan and collector, Lemke also played a pivotal role in the launch of Baseball Cards Magazine and later on became the founding editor of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, a role he maintained nearly every year until recently. He had collected, organized and produced large amounts of data for thousands of different sets as that huge tome became a staple in the libraries of avid vintage card collectors.

    Even after his retirement from Krause Publications, Lemke remained active as a collector, researcher and writer, eventually launching his own blog – http://boblemke.blogspot.ca/ – where he discussed a wide variety of subjects and showed off his custom made card creations and had posted there just a week ago.

    He is survived by his wife Mary Ann (Henkel) Lemke, who he married in 1973; their daughter, Crystal Gearhart; and brothers and sister Jim, Tom, Dan and Carol.

    BELOW IS HIS LAST BLOG ENTRY AND YOU CAN EASILY GO BACKWARD TO SEE MANY OTHERS ALL OF WHICH ARE HIGHLY ENTERTAINING AND CONTAINING MUCH USEFUL INFORMATION …

    BOB WAS A PIONEER, ALSO, IN TURNING OUT FABULOUS CUSTOM MADE CARDS OF MANY WHO NEVER HAD A BASEBALL / FOOTBALL / BASKETBALL / HOCKEY CARD …

    A REALLY FINE GENTLEMAN WHO DEPARTED THE SCENE FAR TOO SOON BUT HAD BEEN UNWELL FOR QUITE SOME TIME AS IT APPEARED.

    http://boblemke.blogspot.ca/

    ======

  4. Pingback: 1986 Fleer Classic Miniatures: Mini? Sure. Classic? Well……. | The Shlabotnik Report

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