July 28, 2013

What Ben's Thinking About

It's no secret: my interest in collecting sports cards waxes and wanes like the cycles of the moon. But there are certain things about the hobby that pique my interest. Here they are for the week of July 28, 2013.

1. I've had another epiphany about my card collection this week: I need to cut back. I've collected sets in the past, have an extensive Red Sox and Celtics collection — I'm trying to get one card of every player on each team since their inceptions — and have a shoebox of vintage stars. But I also have pre-war nonsports cards. And lots of Topps basketball from the 1970s. And other cards I'm quite sure what to do with. The epiphany came about because we have been doing a little spring cleaning (in the middle of the summer) and have sold a few things on eBay. Some cards have left the house this way, but it isn't satisfying. Not really.

I feel like if I'm going to make big strides in completing the Soxlopedia, as I'm calling it, then I'm going to have to make some trades. So here we are. Is there anyone out there interested in trading these days? I'd be looking for Red Sox and Celtics players, and maybe a few upgrade cards for my 1965 and 1956 Topps sets. I have some vintage stars and Hall of Famers and T218s and T118s and a huge lot of 1984 Topps baseball, which I know isn't that exciting, but let me explain.

2. I've made large strides in my "Mega Master Set" idea for 1986 and 1987 Topps baseball (and even 1977 and 1978 Topps baseball, to a lesser extent). But where I've found satisfaction in those years, I've be met with a deep sense of ennui with 1984 Topps baseball. Not that I haven't had success with 1984 Topps baseball—I have. I've just found that I don't really care very much if I finish it or not. (I'm a great salesman, I know.) I'm two cards from completing the base set, and have added the 50 cards in the 1984 style from the 2012 Topps Archives set. I've also added a few original 1984 Nestle cards, plus the Larry Bird "Missing Years" card from 2006-07 Topps Basketball, plus even some Topps Tiffany cards. And a handful of the Traded cards. All in all it's about 900 cards, give or take a few. It makes for a nice starter set on the Mega Master Set, I'd say. So, if you're interested in trading for these cards, or would like to know if I can help you with other stuff, and you have Red Sox to trade, I'm all ears. By the way, if you want to see a list of Red Sox players I still need, check out this list.

3. I've been thinking long and hard about this, but 1986 Topps is my favorite set. Ever. It was my first set, and I have cards with their fronts ripped off to varying degrees from this set than any other in my possession. So if there's some sort of Tiger Beat that cares about what I like, 1986 Topps baseball is what I like...

4. Also, here's something to consider: Did you just get $75 worth of baseball cards from that box you just paid $75 for? If not, how much value do you think you got? I bet it wasn't anywhere close to what you paid, unless you count a box's anticipation markup — my name for the traditional profit-ensuring markup that plays to the expectations and excitement of the consumer towards the product. That's probably harder to determine, right? If there are 192 cards in that box (let's say you bought Heritage), then you just paid $0.39 for each card (sure, that's a steal if you get a Sandy Koufax autograph exchange card, but you're more likely to "hit" on a relic card of Raul Ibanez). So if you can get base cards on eBay for closer to $0.07 or $0.10 apiece, then you're paying an anticipation markup of anywhere from a quarter to thirty cents per card. You might scoff at this logic, but for your $75, your box probably contains $18–$25 of value in it. It's a sobering thought, especially as I look towards 2014 Topps Heritage...

5. I just finished David Maraniss' Clemente and recommend it. Actually, if you're interested in reading it, I will make it available for trade. See the linked list above of Red Sox players I'm missing and let me know if you're interested.

No comments: