March 03, 2013

The Mega Master Set

I've documented my collecting habits over the last seven years on this blog, following an arc from the scattered, massive accumulation of decades-worth of baseball cards to new-card musings to a realization that in terms of collecting, less is more: that it's better to collect with a purpose and a goal rather than to simply collect because it fills the time.

As it turns out, like many collectors, I have a lot of different focuses. One goal is to get a card of every player that has ever played on the Boston Red Sox (my Soxlopedia). Another is a small player collection of Fred McGriff. And collecting printing screw-ups, like miscuts, blank fronts, blank backs, doubleprints, and those cards missing gold foil or some other mistake. And cards from the 1967 Topps Who Am I? with their disguises still on (unscratched). Another is completing sets.

And it's here — completing sets — that I want to highlight today. The other day I was at my local shop (Kenmore Collectibles in Kenmore Square, Boston) and mentioned to its owner (Peter) that I was thinking of going for the mega master set of 1965 Topps. He didn't know what I meant, which I thought was weird, since I assumed that this was something that other collectors did. The mega master set would be collecting every card made in a particular design. So for 1965 Topps — the one with the pennants — that would mean not just finishing the regular set, but then pairing it with 2003 Upper Deck Vintage, which co-opted the design. And then adding 2014 Topps Heritage. And 2014 Topps Heritage Chrome, Refractors, High Numbers, and whatever else Topps creates next year for this design.

But wait, there's more! There's the 2001 Gallery Heritage insert set. And whatever cards were included in the multiple Topps Archives and All-Time Fan Favorites sets. And various cards in the Shoebox, the 50 years, 60 years, and Cards Your Mother Threw Out insert sets, the Vintage Legends Collection, the Bill Russell Missing Years card from Topps basketball... And I'm sure there are others that I haven't listed here.

I've put together traditional sets before, but the idea of the "mega master set" appeals to me. I've decided to do this for Topps sets from 1965 (with Embossed, but maybe not Transfers), 1976, 1984, 1986, and 1987 for starters (but not including the Tiffany sets from 1984, 1986, or 1987). this a thing that other collectors do, or have I stumbled onto something new?


lifetimetopps said...

I haven't heard of it - but it sounds pretty cool. It also sounds incredibly daunting for 1965, since you're counting not just Heritage, and not even just Heritage Chrome, but the refractors too. There'd have to be some line drawn no matter what - it just depends where that line is drawn. Do you count Real One autographs? What about the 1997 Mays autographed version of his reprint card? Why Heritage Chrome but not Tiffany? Why the Upper Deck set?

Still - it would be fun just to make a list of what "everything" entails. There's probably some of those rookie patch cards in retail packs for 2013 Topps, plus all the Yo Momma cards plus the Mantle/Mays/Clemente/Aaron reprints from the 1990's. Plus the Turn Back the Clock cards and then some of the award winner cards from the 1970's.

For some of the others that don't have Heritage, probably not quite as difficult. This is a great idea for 1987 - I love that set. Would be cool to do for both 1962 and 1987.

Ben Henry said...

I had included Heritage Chrome and Refractors b/c those are two sets you can complete card by card. The same can't really be said for the Tiffany sets. Also, the Upper Deck set would be included because it appropriates the 1965 design. I know I left some cards out of my list in the post, like the "Divas" cards from WWE Heritage.

But you're right, 1965 will be a daunting goal. I've started this in earnest for the 1976 and 1986 Topps sets as well; I've found it's easier when you already have the complete base set. I'm still putting together the base 1965 set.

Jim said...

I've honestly thought about doing this, but with the 1956 Topps set. I collected a complete '56 set with my Dad over a 20 year period and I already have most of the 2004 Topps Heritage set. So I would just need to track down the cards using the '56 Topps design in the various reprint and insert sets. I think I'd have trouble putting together a complete list of those cards - and that's what has stopped me from doing this.

Good luck with your 1965 Mega Master Set!

Ben Henry said...

Jim, I had thought about doing this with 1956, too, but never started the 2005 Heritage set. What I like about approaching it now is that Topps came out with a few "Cards That Never Were" a few years ago (or maybe last year), with cards of Musial and Frank Robinson in the 1956 design. 1956 is one of my all-time favorite sets, and the idea of adding Musial and Robinson add to its luster.

The set that got me thinking about all of this was 1954 Topps. I put together a master set of the 2003 Topps Heritage set consisting of base set, SPs, and three insert sets, over the last few years and wanted to see just how deep the design permeated the hobby. Turns out it shows up in a huge number of places. Besides the 1994 Archives set, there's the first fifty cards of the 2012 Archives set, plus one of the Fleer Tradition sets from the late 1990s, I think, plus a Gallery Heritage insert set, plus use in every reprint insert set Topps has created over the last few years. It's just endless.

lifetimetopps said...

Good luck! Like I said - even just putting together a list would be fun!