Friday 16 April 2021

How does someone go about being a set builder in 2021?

As I've reentered the hobby over the past few days, I've been trying to decide what I want to spend my money on. I have income, but with the world the way it is, I feel a lot of people are being foolish with their spending. I don't want to be foolish. I want to stick to a budget, and keeping that in mind I am trying to decide how to get the most bang from my buck out of the hobby.

One of the things I've found with collecting cards over the past couple of decades is that I never really complete a project. I tend to start on something, get into it, decide it's not for me or too expensive or whatever, and sell what I've already acquired and then quit the hobby for a few months.

Often I find the issue is not just money, but also choice. There is just so much to collect! And I am a fan of a wide variety of sports. I grew up on hockey and baseball, but as an adult I enjoy basketball and soccer the most. I also watch football, boxing, and mixed martial arts. I bet I could get into tennis and golf if I wanted to.

I enjoy collecting cards for all these different sports. Here in Canada locally, it is easy to acquire hockey. Baseball is not bad. Everything else is impossible.

Choice normally sounds great, but when you are sticking to a budget, then choice can be crippling. I like all the Toronto based sports teams. I like a lot of their players. People talk about limiting themselves to a team or a player, but that still doesn't whittle my choices down to enough where I have a focus.

I'm kind of an old school guy in a lot of ways. I like set building. I know a lot of people don't like it, and I do have some knocks against it. It's kind of annoying to accumulate large quantities of low value cards that are hard to sell if you decide you no longer want them. But that's only if you sell them, of course.

One of the major appeals of set building is to see a variety of players and teams. I found as a kid, I learned so much about hockey from collecting sets of hockey cards. If I built a Topps baseball set, for example, I would feel more connected to other players and teams in the league besides the Jays. It's more fun that way.

I'm also a big book guy. I just moved into a new apartment, and one of the big things I want is like a wall of books. I love books. I'm a reader, obviously a writer since I have this blog, and I enjoy collecting books. I feel like a set of cards put into a binder is kind of like a book. It's almost like an album about the specific season of a league. Like, you can open it up and read through it and kind of have a snapshot of what the league was like at that point in time.

One of the things I've always wanted was to have a fun of Topps baseball or O-Pee-Chee hockey vintage sets. Like, to see I had a complete Topps base set for every year from 1970 through 1989, or whatever. I could open up the binder with those cards and read it, like I would a book.

I like modern sets, too, though. I think, though, because there are so many modern sets released each year, they don't have the same feeling of being a snapshot in time as vintage sets do. That's not to say I don't like modern sets, it just seems obvious that modern collecting is more geared towards investors first, and player and team collectors second. There are a few releases that are geared towards set collectors (Heritage, O-Pee-Chee hockey, maybe a couple others), but not many.

If you had to start your collection and you wanted to build a set, where would you start? Which set would be your first? It seems more efficient to work on one set at a time, but also kinda less fun. I feel like I want to work on one set from each different sport, so I have a few things going at a time and it doesn't become stale.

How would you go about doing this?

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