Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Pleasures and Frustrations of a Player Collector

If I had to declare what type of card collector I am, I would probably have to say that I am a player collector. With so many sets coming out every year, collectors have to settle on some sort of collecting strategy or they will end up like a kid on a sugar-high running after every shiny thing that catches his eye. For me, that strategy is putting together the best Justin Masterson and Daniel Bard player collections that I can.

A few months ago, over at Sports Cards Uncensored, Gellman discussed How Competitive Personalities Affect Our Collections. In the article, Gellman looked at how the competitive personalities of many collectors impact the card industry and our personal collections.

For me, what makes player collecting an interesting part of the hobby is the fact that every collection is unique. For example, there are as many collecting possibilities as there are players. Considering how many players there are for collectors to select from, it is fascinating to see who people choose to collect, what cards they acquire, how much they are willing to pay for them and when the collecting mission is accomplished. Making matters more complicated is the reality that some player collections are more difficult to assemble than others. For example, it is a lot easier, and cheaper, to collect every card, or almost every card, of Daniel Bard or Justin Masterson than it is to collect every card of Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter.

Furthermore, the proliferation of game-used relic cards, autographed cards, autographed relic cards, and low-numbered/refractor varieties of almost every card creates new challenges and opportunities for collectors. Most importantly: when can you say that you have every card of a player? Can you say that you have every card if you have every base card? What about every base and chrome version of every card? What about refractors? Do you need to assemble the refractor rainbow for every card to truly complete your collection? What role do 1 of 1 cards have in player collections?

To be honest, I think that there are as many answers to those questions as there are player collections, and there is no one right answer. Factor in the difficulty and expense of collecting some players, and any neat or cookie cutter answer goes out the window. For example, while it is relatively easy and inexpensive to collect every refractor, game-used, and autographed card of Daniel Bard or Justin Masterson, Pujols and Jeter collectors would be lucky to pick up one autographed card of their favorite player in their collecting lifetime. That financial reality creates different expectations for each player collection.

Nonetheless, there are few feelings in the life of a card collector quite as satisfying as adding a new card to your player collection, especially if it is one that you have had your eyes on for awhile. Let me know if you have a player collection and/or what you think about player collections.

1 comment:

  1. I'm an oddball when it comes to player collections. I collect Gary Carter, but really only the cards that came out during his playing career.

    I also have collections for early 1990s Mets reliever Jeff Innis, banished-to-the-minor leagues Mets catcher Omir Santos and injured Mets reliever Ryota Igarashi.

    There are plenty of other Carter collectors out there, but no one bothers with the other three guys.

    In the 1/1 era, it's impossible to finish a player collection - I'm just picking up cards I like. I could actually complete my Jeff Innis collection, but I can't quite convince myself to get the last couple of cards that would finish it off.