Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Edition - 2018 Goals

Last year was the first time I did a post on "Collecting Goals."  For the most part, looking back, I failed to complete a single one.  "Failed" probably isn't the right word, as I once again very much enjoyed collecting cards in 2017.  It was a positive aspect of my life that brought me a lot of harmless enjoyment.  And really, that's all any of us "collector's" are looking for, at least those of us who don't keep ledgers as to whether or not our sales are in the black or red.  So while I didn't meet most of my "goals," I don't view my past year of collecting as a "failure."

Last year I broke down my goals into four categories.  Here's a look at how they went and the Grade I'm giving myself towards the goal:

1. Tim Wallach Collection - Grade: C-
I set out to do four things, (i) acquire more Wallach's, (ii) audit my collection by hand counting all the cards and cross referencing it with my spread sheets and posted blog numbers, (iii) bring a card to "extinction" by zeroing in on one card and trying to exhaust all online buying options for it, and (iv) put together a coffee table book of my collection.

All that I accomplished was acquiring more Wallach's.  About 1,200 of them.  That ultimately is the most important goal, and I'm okay with the progress, but I didn't even take a stab at the other three.

2. Continue to Complete Sets - Grade: B+
Specifically I set the goal of completing the following sets, in this order: 1970 Topps, 1952 Topps (#1-310), 1976 Topps, 1977 Topps, 1974 Topps, 1972 Topps, 1986-87 Fleer Basketball, 2015 Topps.

The only set I actually completed was 1970 Topps, and honestly, I'm more than okay with that.  I wear it proudly as a Collector's Merit Badge.  While I didn't complete anything else, I am now a mere one card away from completing the first #1-310 of 1952 Topps (anyone have an extra well worn copy of an Andy Pafko lying around?), and made great strides on the other 1970's sets I'm still working on.  I also put a huge dent on lingering set needs from 2008 to 2015 Topps base sets.  As for the Basketball Set, I'm now two cards away, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

3. Most wanted cards - B-
I only knocked off two cards on my ten most wanted list, but they happened to be my #1 1960 Topps Football Ernie Davis, and #2 1953 Topps Satchel Paige.  As for the others, some will show up again down below, and a few just no longer seem as important to have.

4. 2017 Topps Base Set - F
In 2016, I bought four packs of cards, two from each series and a Factory set.  I spent three times the cost of a factory set on packs from Target this year and I'm still four cards short.  There's a lesson here to be learned here.  Buy the set, but don't go full cold turkey on opening packs if you enjoy it.  There is a middle ground to be found (let me know if you do).

So, with 2017 in the books, here are my "Collecting Goals" for 2018.  And sure, "have fun" is number one, but that's boring, and I roll my eyes when I read tweets to that effect.  They're usually followed with some sort of whinning about the price fluctuations of a Bowman autograph card of some minor leaguer I've never heard of and link to something they're selling.

"2018 Goals"

I. Collect more Tim Wallach cards

Yes, that is stock photo above, but I'm mid-move at the moment and the bulk of the collection is in a different State than I am at present time.  Someone asked how I store my Wallach's in a recent post comment.  25 of the same card go in team bags.  Those go in these white boxes sorted by year and alphabetically within the year.  (Loose groups of less than 25 also go in the boxes).  My first and primary goal is to make the number of these boxes grow.  Last year I added 1,200 cards.  That was a significant drop from 2016, but I had a lot of help from various magazines and newspapers in 2016, so it wasn't entirely unexpected.  I just need to do a better job of occasionally relieving unsuspecting seller's of their inventories every once in awhile.  Here are my sub goals in this category;  (i) Pick up 2,018 new Wallach cards and (ii) Focus on making one card disappear from the internet.  2,018 is a reasonable number but will still take some effort.  As far as making a card disappear (which would also go towards the goal of 2,000 cards) I'd like to go for 1982 Fleer or 1983 Topps.  But there are good number of sellers who post those cards with silly prices.  I'm simply not paying upwards of a dollar for an '82 Fleer Wallach.  Once I get the other 200,000 or so then maybe we can talk.  So I'm thinking something like 1989 Score, or the 1991 Upper Deck Checklist.  Something where there aren't tens of thousands available (like '87 Topps), and won't cost a ton.

II. Complete Sets

Felix Millan was the last card to take it's place in my 1970 binder.  I'm not going to lie, it felt really good.  I know the idea of it sounds incredibly daunting, but if you've never tried to tackle a multi-series pre-1974 Topps set, I encourage you to do so.  But do it right.  Drop the money for a binder and  9-pocket pages first, you'll enjoy the process more sleeving the cards as you go than you will if you just file them in a box and wait until the end.  With 1970 in the book, here's what I hope to do in 2018:

(i) 1952 Topps #1-310 - I only need card #1 Andy Pafko, but that goofy card seems to get more expensive every time a new one pops up on eBay.  Sooner or later, the sorriest, most pathetic looking dog eared copy anyone has ever seen will show up, and I'll lay down the $50 I've allowed for it, and be done with this set (sort of, as I'm not counting cards #311-407)

(ii) 1953 Topps - With the end of my 1952 Topps endeavor (at least until my ship comes in and I go after the hi-numbers), I'll be moving on to 1953.  Crazy as it sounds, I may complete this entire set this year.  For one, it's only 274 cards, and more importantly, I already own dog-eared, shamefully beat up copies of nearly every high dollar card sans Willie Mays.  With a Mantle, Paige, and Robinson already in hand, and no hi-numbers to deal with, this isn't all that daunting of a set.

(iii) 1976 Topps - There are a number of other 1970's sets that would be more "fun" to work on, but I'm very close to knocking this off, and want to finish it.  I expect to put up a self-congratulatory twitter post before the Fourth of July.

(iv) 1972 Topps - The binders in my closet are a bit of a lie.  The top shelf is more or less empty space holders, but the ones you look down on, are all visibly complete.  While I don't expect to fill in that top shelf anytime soon, I want to finish off the Decade of the 1970's.  That won't happen this year, but after 1976 is complete, I'd like to focus on '72.  I love the '72 design, and this is something I'm really looking forward to and already have a very solid start on.  To aid in this effort, I'm not listing as many other baseball sets.  I don't want to be as scatter shot in 2018 as I was last year.

(v) Fleer Basketball sets 1986-87, '87-88, '88-89 - I unapologetically love these early Fleer Basketball sets.  I'm two cards away from completing the classic '86-87 set, and will probably be one card away for awhile.  The fact is, this set is no where near as scarce as it's made out to be and dozens of new Michael Jordan RC's post on eBay everyday.  That's not because there aren't many of them.  As such, I won't pay $500+ for a worn out copy of a mass produced 1980's semi-junk wax card.  I don't care how many sneakers he sold.

(vi) 1975 Topps Mini- This set wasn't on my radar last year, in fact, I only had a handful of examples of them.  But the universe did it's weird thing it has a way of doing, and for once I came out on the right side of it, and about a 1,000 of these fell into my lap as a gift.  So I bought the pages and a new three ring, and this set is within reach.  So why not?

III. Top 10 Most Wanted Cards (last year's rank)

1. 1952 Topps Andy Pafko (5): As I've mentioned twice already, this is the last card I need to complete a run of the first 310 cards in the '52 set.

2. 1980-81 Topps Basketball Larry Bird/Magic Johnson (4): For most my collecting life, until I discovered the joy of set building, I was a rookie card collector.  I still harbor a strong yearning for RC's, and this one calls out to me the most.  I'd take it separated and glued back together, I don't care, I just want one.

3. 2008 Topps Update Clayton Kershaw (NR): Dodger fans, please don't take this as any slight to the great Clayton Kershaw, but I feel like this is a card I can wait out, it's price will eventually drop.  Not because I think Kershaw's star will fade at all (I don't), I just think there are far too many of these in existence to remain this high in price.

4. 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout (7): I bought a lot of 2011 Update, and somehow didn't pull one of these.  It didn't seem like all that big of a deal at the time, I thought, "So what, I may have to pay $5 or $6 bucks on Sportslots for one of the million or so copies they printed of this thing." Oops.  But what I said about the Kershaw above, as far as the price dropping, applies even more so to this one.  I still think I end up owning one of these for less that $20 down the road.  Not because I think Trout will fade, I just think dealers will lose interest in having 1,000's of these in their inventories.

5. 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky (6): I don't talk about it much, but I love the NHL and have a very respectable collection of hockey cards.  Just not one of these.  I'd like to change that, and I'm willing to be picky and demand that it be the OPC and not the Topps, the backs just look better.

6. 1962 Topps Joe Pepitone (8): Joe Pepitone retired long before I was born, but he's one of my favorites.  I met him once working in Cooperstown and he was like a character out of a Scorsese film.  These '62 Topps Rookie Parade's feature some great rookies.  There's also Jim Bouton, and Bob Uecker.  Unfortunately, they're all SP's and don't come cheap.   I could probably fill out this list with nothing but '62 Rookie Parade wants, but in the interest of diversity, I'll let this Pepitone be the face of them all.

7. 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr. (3): I made a concentrated effort to pick up a complete set of 1982 Topps Traded this past year, but ultimately lost interest, as the price seems more or less set, there just aren't bargains to be found.  It's the last 1980's Traded set I need, but I also feel like they'll always be there for the picking when I feel like finally buying one.  So I've dropped this card a few spots.

8. 1953 Topps Willie Mays (NR): To my own disbelief, I acquired a '52 Topps Willie Mays this past year (PSA 1, at least until I free it and page it in my '52 binder). It's far and away the biggest card acquisition I've ever made and I'll be making a big deal about it at some point when I get to it on my '52 Blog.  I actually like this '53 Mays more than the '52, and it's the last "high dollar" card I need from  the '53 set (along with about 200 other "commons.")

9. 1962 Topps Football Jim Brown (NR): Last year the #1 card on this list was the 1962 Topps Football Ernie Davis.  I am now the proud owner of one.  But it looks lonely on my bookshelf, and I've decided I need the matching Jim Brown to compliment it.  (Go Orange!)

10. 2002-03 Upper Deck Henrik Zetterberg (10): Henrik has been my favorite professional hockey player to watch the last dozen or so years.  The Con Smyth winner is now almost certainly in the second half of his career, and has seen his numbers (and Detroit's success) dip a little.  I wouldn't mind seeing the price of this card dip a little too.

IV. 2018 Topps Base Set

I know I'm in the minority, but I'm encouraged by the pictures I've seen of this set.  I kind of like it. Granted, I've hated every set since about 1991 when they ditched the correct type of card back and gum, but as far as these post-91 monstrosities they call baseball cards go, I'm okay with this design.  That said, I'll be going the factory set route.  I touched on this above, but it's just not cost effective to buy packs at Target and expect to finish a set.  I'll still buy packs, I won't deprive myself of that enjoyment, but not nearly as many.  (Hopefully)

Thanks for reading, and good luck to all of you with your own collecting goals this year.


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  2. Those are great and well-focused goals. Good luck, and enjoy the process!

  3. I love the organization of your collection.
    You're totally right about building a set versus simply purchasing a factory set. I've never gone the factory set route for current product, but now you have me thinking about the dollar signs. Hmmm...

  4. Love the look of all those binders - they look all being the same and consistent.

  5. When I look at those binders I think "Man I should have been a lawyer, not a teacher." Oh well, happy collecting in 2018 to all of us.