The same thing happens every year around this time… You’re in the store, and you see all kinds of new stuff that looks like you might enjoy it, so you try a little bit of this and a little bit of that, sampling something every time you go to the store until the next thing you know, you’ve got this extra flab that you just can’t shake and you wonder “How the heck did I get to this point?”
Oh… did you think I was talking about something other than my collection? New product comes out, and it’s try a hanger of this, a blaster of that, a few packs here and there, and before you know it there’s a couple of tall stacks sitting on your desk that seem to have come out of nowhere.
So I’m a couple of weeks late for my quarterly weigh-in, but the general idea of it is to post my collection’s status to see if I’m making any progress in my quest to get rid of the dead weight, the stuff I look at and think “Why do I still have that?”
Before I get into that, I’m going to touch on some of the pseudo-goals I’d set for 2017, and how it’s working out for me.
Keeping a box of recent acquisitions in my car:
This was a solution to two problems. Problem #1 is that I impulse-buy too many cards. Problem #2 was that I don’t spend any “quality time” with a lot of the cards I buy, they just pile up on my desk. The solution was taking the cards in questions (nothing vintage or valuable, of course) and keep them in a box in my car so that I can thumb through them when I’m having a crappy day at work and the urge to buy cards comes at me. Having the box on hand has worked out pretty well, because there were many days when taking a “cigarette break” in my car and going through the cards would take the steam out of the pack-buying urges.
Making 1990’s Frankensets and getting rid of the resulting unwanted cards:
One of the ways I’m combating bloat in my collection is by creating Frankensets for particular years in the 1990’s, organized by team and player. By organizing my cards this way, I can find out when I’ve got more cards of a player than I really want or need, and I can feel comfortable getting rid of those extra 1992 cards of Roger Clemens because I’ll still have at least one nicer card to represent that jerk – I mean, Roger – for 1992.
I had thought I would go for the low-hanging fruit and make a 1995 Frankenset, given that I consider 1995 the worst overall year from my 40+ years in the hobby. The problem is that the fruit was hanging a little too low; Because I don’t like 1995, I didn’t have all that many 1995 cards in the first place, and there wasn’t much “body fat” to shed.
So, for 2Q 2017, I’ll be a little more scientific about it and work on the year for which I have the most cards. I ran a query on my database, which I’ll now show you in graphical form:
This is my collection in terms of cards per year, from 1968 to 2017. Those tall red bars in the middle are 1990 and 1991, the beer belly of my collection. Do I really need 3,800 cards just from 1990? I think it’s time to work on my core.
BTW, the black bar is 1995, the “low-hanging fruit” I talked about.
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).
To add to the visual appeal of something which isn’t the most exciting information, I’ve included a number of cards I’ve been meaning to post.
First I’m going to document the changes since the last Weigh-in on January 2nd:
Net change in the collection: +587 (591 added, 4 purged)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +1,117 (1,163 in, 46 out)
It’s amazing how this stuff builds up. While I did buy a wax box of 2004 Topps Total, that was only 360 cards. The other 757 cards came into the house in bits and pieces – a blaster here, a repack there… before you know it, you’ve acquired 1117 cards in just over 3 months.
Next, the totals since I started tracking this stuff on 10/16/2011.
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,139
Net change to the collection, to date: +840
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 48,905
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -25,646
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 55,419
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 16,890
…which means I’ve got at least 72,309 cards in my collection