Reassessing My Priorities

New year, new me.

Yes, I know that's cliche and lame, but that's how I am approaching my collecting in 2020.

It was about 4 1/2 years ago that I dug my sports cards out of the basement and took some time to go through them. In that time, I discovered many retail possibilities for accumulating new cards. I could get them at Target, Walmart and even Walgreens. I started buying a lot of baseball cards, a good amount of football cards and some basketball cards.

Then, I discovered Twitter's card community. It drug me in even deeper. I started buying for buying's sake, and suddenly I have piles upon piles of cards to sort. And this is AFTER I SORTED ALL MY BASEBALL CARDS.

Sorry for the all caps, but it was that realization that made me reassess what it is I want out of this hobby. Accumulating numbers isn't it.

Also new to my interests is that the spousal unit and I have decided to really crack down on a budget in 2020. We really want to wipe out some debt so her and I can start making bigger purchases (especially vehicles) with the aim to get what we want - not what we can afford.

This new budget means I can't make random trips to Target for one thing and leave with a box of cards as well. I don't buy those $5 Fairfield repack boxes from Walgreens anymore. I don't accumulate more and more cards with no clear direction.

It's time to focus on what I WANT, not just accumulating cards. What does that mean? Let me tell you.

Stop wasting money

It's time to stop buying cards any chance I get. If we are truly monitoring our spending, I'm not going to pick up an extra pack here or there and accumulate cards of guys I couldn't care less about.

I have a large stack of 2019 baseball still in boxes. I bought them, opened them, and set them aside for sorting. It's January 2020 and they are still in those boxes. Why am I accumulating without being able to sort? It's a waste of resources.

Get what I want

It's time to focus on the PC. I really haven't delved into my football or basketball collections, but my baseball collection has been sorted (minus any 2019 cards). It's time to focus on the Brewers. Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Ryan Braun and Christian Yelich top that list. But any of those guys are on top of my list.

Also, in 2019 I decided to finish the entire 1969 Seattle Pilots set. I'm nine cards away, and instead of spending hundreds on packs, why not just get those nine cards. When someone told me 1970 Topps also had Pilots, well, let's just say I added that to the PC as well.

I will also keep an eye out for any Packers and Bucks - as well as former University of Wisconsin players. I don't mind adding them to the collection - even if my football and basketball cards are still in horrid unsorted piles.

Back to junk wax

Let's be honest, I'm never going to be a big-time buyer of cards. I'm not accumulating hobby box after hobby box. I don't have the time, patience or resources for that. Sure, I could recoup costs with selling, but that's not my goal.

I'm not in this for the money. I'm in it for the hobby. Money is great, of course, and I'll get to that later, but it's not my ultimate goal.

I love junk wax. I grew up in the 1980s and love the stuff. I've accumulated many of those cards I never thought I'd afford in my early teens. Why not get more? Honestly, it's not a bank buster anymore, so Don Mattingly, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, you're back in my crosshairs.

Get rid of stuff

I need to sell. I have so many cards I really don't need - or want. I recently started digging and found some bigger-name, high-demand cards in top loaders. I recently sold Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna RCs, and another Acuna is bringing me two Keston Hiura cards in return. If I can make money and get PC cards, then that's a better plan.

I also have stacks upon stacks of doubles that need to go. Plan 1: dig through stars and start having 25-cent sales. Plan 2: accumulate team blocks and sell those off. Plan 3: trade, trade, trade. Plan 4: those junk wax randoms work great as bumper cards for shipping.

I figured that maybe some 300-count boxes of junk wax may be marketable, so I may try to get that going. Much of this may wait until the summer, as a teacher has a lot more time to get stuff out of the house when there's no class to teach.

Don't stop buying

This doesn't mean I'm going to stop buying cards altogether. I'll still get a random pack or two with car change (after a month I usually end up with $20). I'll still wander into Goodwill with some extra cash and look for buried treasures.

But, the main focus will be to get cards I know I want. Instead of $20 for a box of cards at Target, why not take that $20 and buy stuff from many of the amazing people I've met on Twitter? I'd rather have 10 cards I want for $20 than 90 cards that are mostly useless.

Besides, the occasional retail purchase does bring those bigger-name rookies that can help with trades or money-making ventures.

We'll see if it lasts

This will be an interesting shift. I went from not collecting for 20 years to suddenly jumping into the deep end of the collecting pool. It was silly. To any new collector, I recommend not doing this. Buy a few packs to get your feet wet, but really take time to think what you want from collecting before you go in full bore. Trust me, you don't want to be sitting at a computer four years later wondering why you bought so much.


  1. Love the 1969 Pilots set. I picked up the Tommy Harper the other week at an antique mall in Missouri. It was in the dollar bin.


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