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  #1  
Old 08-11-2018, 03:53 PM
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Default Has anyone ever given up on set collecting?

I've been a set collector since the 1970's. I've got complete set runs back into the 1960's, and I've got a good run on a lot of sets in the 1950's and 1960's. But, increasingly I am finding the majority of the fun that I have collecting is on star cards (and sometimes minor star cards) of the 1910's through the 1960's. I've never thought about NOT collecting complete sets until the last few months. I spent several hundred dollars this Summer on commons from the 1950's and 1960's for various baseball and football sets. When I opened the packages and put the cards away, I found myself literally looking at the cards long enough to stick them in a plastic sheet and then.. goodbye.

I have had an internal debate for several years, and it has gotten bad the last six months or so. If I gave up set collecting and just went to getting the cards that I like, it would make a lot of space in my house and I would only be looking at cards that I truly like. I'm not saying strictly HOFers, because I like a lot of players that aren't superstars (i.e. Willie Kamm, Bob Johnson, Vic Power, etc.). I also wouldn't be spending big money on cards that are just hard to get, but not particularly appealing. My 1966 Topps set is complete, but honestly, who the heck is happy about spending more money on a Grant Jackson rookie card than a Goose Goslin rookie card? By not set collecting, I can avoid these situations.

It all sounds very logical. Except, my instincts are to try to complete sets. My collecting has been organized for a long time. I'm not sure I can do it. Has anyone else had these kind of internal debates? Did anyone ever abandon set collecting? If so, did you have any regrets? Just looking for other people's thoughts.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:05 PM
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I like to complete sets, but have seldom really pursued it all that much. Maybe sometimes when I realize I'm down to a couple cards I'll make an effort to find them.

I pretty much gave up on set collecting years ago when I realized the price of some cards was getting well beyond what I can afford. Even a small set like 48 Bowman which I'd completed (With a wide range of conditions, a couple really nice, some VG, most p-f) and then sold, are now sort of out of reach.

I don't focus on stars though, and will pick up pretty much anything, as long as it seems like a deal at the time. So I guess I'm still sort of set collecting, but in a very haphazard way.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:12 PM
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I gave up building sets a long time ago. I hated spending money on players that I never cared about or even liked. That why I basically collect one team.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:48 PM
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Gave up set collecting a long time ago..but I still have a few
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2018, 05:19 PM
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Yes and no. I love complete sets, and set collecting suits me best. I like putting together a full set, and enjoy commons just as much as superstars. With the prices of superstars ever increasing, I have many sets that will just have to be 1 or 2 cards shy of completion forever. Plugging a hole in my 1952 Topps box is just not worth the thousands of dollars a low grade Mantle costs. I suppose I’m now a near set collector lol
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:49 PM
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I am a set collector and always will be. That said, in recent years I have taken to subsets as well. There isn't any set in existence you can't slice and dice into any subset that interests you.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:57 PM
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I only tried to complete a couple of sets and gave up on them both. I'd rather focus on just picking up specific cards that I find interesting.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:04 PM
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I did for a while but was quickly drawn back in. The key for me is to find manageable sets that aren't 500+ cards. 1950s baseball and 1950s and 1960s football are right in my wheel house. I like some of the 1960s baseball sets, but they are a little large for my taste right now.

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  #9  
Old 08-11-2018, 06:25 PM
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Default Struggles with sets

I feel your pain. I generally work on pre 1972 baseball sets, raw except for the stars, in ex/mt or better condition. When trying to upgrade, I find it getting difficult to spend a lot of money, or even a marginal amount, to improve a card two grades when it doesn't really add value to the set. The only way I justify the continuance of my pursuit is working on two sets from the same year in various conditions. Not sure where I'm going from here.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conor912 View Post
I am a set collector and always will be. That said, in recent years I have taken to subsets as well. There isn't any set in existence you can't slice and dice into any subset that interests you.
Piggybacking on this, you might want to consider strictly team sets of your favorite team from each year.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:49 PM
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There are sets from the early 50's where cards in VgEx condition are running $10-20 each. A lot of times, I have no idea who these people are. Pitchers with few wins or batters with few hits, yet what a few cards cost me could get me a star card from the same set. It is such a tough situation.
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:23 PM
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High grade, given up

Low grade fun over time
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:09 PM
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Keeping it short, I recently went through the same internal debate as you (the OP). And where I ended up is that even though I'm set collector by nature, I have all the sets that interest me (two pre-1972 Topps baseball sets and the rest more recent than that). For the reasons you mentioned, I don't see the point in pursuing any others. I thought about team sets, but that doesn't interest me. So, I don't consider myself as having given up as a set collector. Rather, I'm just plain done. Mission accomplished. Now on to single cards, but only the ones I really like or have special meaning to me. And, I've been spending more time looking at what I actually have.
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:47 PM
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I actually like that logic Nick.
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:54 PM
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There are, of course, many ways to collect. Team sets, HOF sets, player sets and on and on. Complete issue sets have never appealed to me as much. My HOF set (now gone) was far more interesting for me to complete than I could ever imagine any one set could be. Each card was a great player, spanned so many eras, exposed me to so many set options and really made me PLAN out which cards from which sets I wanted to target.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:19 PM
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I was a set collector for a long time including sets back to the huge 176-card CJ set. That set burned me out on spending a couple hundred on no names and there were 139 of them. I have since sold that set and moved into collecting non-sets.
I am type a and all that, but collecting a specific card(s) has been different and I think I enjoy it more. At times sets can feel like "work" when they are too large IMO. I enjoyed the 796pc set, but that was only 25 cards but I think most of them are pretty cool even the no names.
Collect what you are psyched on, the rest will figure itself out.
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:14 PM
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I have been a collector since 1969 age 9 and back then you tried to get the entire set...I am still a set collector and now have Topps sets from 1964 to date and trying to complete back to 1957...also have a complete T205 gold border set and 2 complete T219 sets(willing to trade a set or dupes for needs) and need a Bruce Brown card to complete a T227 set...would love to finish this T227 set
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  #18  
Old 08-12-2018, 01:45 AM
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Yup. I gave it up because I didn’t enjoy it. Much happier just collecting the stars.
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokerplyr80 View Post
I only tried to complete a couple of sets and gave up on them both. I'd rather focus on just picking up specific cards that I find interesting.
This is exactly how I feel as well. I completed the ‘33 Goudey set about ten years ago (sans Lajoie). Then when I was done I realized it just wasn’t worth the effort to me. It was fun to put together, but when I thought about the cost to put it together I found myself wishing I had spent the money on HOF’ers I didn’t have in other sets, rather then forking out money for a bunch of commons.
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Old 08-12-2018, 05:30 PM
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Yeah, like many of the other posters on this thread, I've given up on set collecting on expensive sets. I collected the 1933 Goudey, and was working on other sets, but it really bothered me that I was spending hundreds of dollars (if not more) on cards for common players that once I purchased, I would put in a box and never look at again. It was crazy money to be spending on cards that I wouldn't be interested in always looking at over time. Therefore, I've moved to collecting player sets of players that I really liked (mainly Ruth and Gehrig now) and one-offs for cards of other players that I've always really wanted (e.g. Brunners Cobb). So I've since sold of my 33 Goudey set, and been doing this type of collecting the last few years, which I've found that I enjoy a lot more. No regrets and wish I had done it sooner. I still do some set collecting on "cheaper" sets. I've basically still have sets from my birth year (1973) through the sets that I collected when I was a kids (through 1987) for nostalgia sake. The 1980s sets are basically worthless, but I still enjoy looking at those cards, which reminds me of when I traded with my friends. Or how after a Little League baseball game, I would save my money to purchase one of the "shiny" Donruss packs after a game. Great memories.
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:15 PM
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Just when I thought I had it figured out, you guys go and make compelling points in this thread....

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  #22  
Old 08-12-2018, 07:10 PM
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I switched over to just high numbers or short prints or harder backs or rookies or hall of famers only, sets just take up to much space for me

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Old 08-13-2018, 07:14 PM
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I have read and reread this thread several times over the past couple of days. There have been many compelling arguments made against collecting sets. I primarily collect ‘70s mid grade sets and the challenge of finding/buying high # commons certainly resonated with me. In the end, however, I have decided to continue building sets (currently about 20% finished with the 71 set). I guess we all have to decide what we like and why we collect. I enjoy building the sets of my youth. I actually enjoy looking at commons. Each card captures a moment in time and looking at a set is like opening a time capsule. Ultimately it is an individual decision based upon what we enjoy. I may eventually sell my sets, but for now they provide a great and relaxing escape, even if just for a few minutes.


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Old 08-13-2018, 07:38 PM
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I enjoy prewar set collecting because I like the stories I learn of the lesser known players. The HOFers are the easiest to find and almost merely a formality for completion. I'm not sure exactly why, but I've always seen exclusive HOF collecting as front running and boring.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:10 PM
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I guess we all have to decide what we like and why we collect.
Exactly.

When I had all my CJs I would but them all on the floor, in number order, by team, HOFers, commons, all sorts of shit. I enjoyed that set more than other I have ever had including my childhood cards. I just got burned out on it, too big.

I collect cards that make me feel like I did when I was a kid which is a feeling I cant really put into words but it either does it or doesn't and its that simple. I love pickin up really tough stuff, I only get to make a handful of buys a year though and is the downside but I definitely know exactly what I want in a card by the time I buy it.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:27 PM
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I have posted in this thread a couple of times, but I keep rereading it because I enjoy it. I agree with what Ed said about everyone doing it the way they enjoy. Collecting single HOFer cards sometimes appeals to me, but I enjoy all the cards that make up a set and seeing how sets fit together. Also, I know myself as a collector well enough to know that I always need/like to be dabbling with the cards. As a collector on a budget, sometimes the commons in a set come at a good time for me financially. I might not be able to afford another star card at a certain point, but I can add a few commons and make some progress, giving me some new cards to sort and play with.

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Old 08-15-2018, 08:50 AM
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Completely given up in the past couple years. I also just found no enjoyment in getting cards that did not interest me me just to fill a checklist and pass on others that did. I still have the sets from my childhood years that I still enjoy, but that is it.

I just like not necessarily collecting stars, but just cards that I enjoy looking at.

I do really find forum members like Larry and many of the OBC crowd that collect low condition sets to be pretty awesome in their collecting habits and might someday try building a gd-vg set for fun to try it out. I think I would need to do much better in my shows and trading habits as postage on a low condition project like that would take away the point in my mind.
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:25 AM
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I gave up on the t205 set twice before completing it on the third try. It is the true monster, much harder than t206. I can't imagine doing a Cracker Jack set, especially 1914. I am done with collecting sets. I will keep my t206, t205, 1933 Goudey and 1941 Play Ball sets and just pick up key singles from now on.
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:06 AM
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I gave up on the t205 set twice before completing it on the third try. It is the true monster, much harder than t206.
Did you do the master?
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:07 AM
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I do really find forum members like Larry and many of the OBC crowd that collect low condition sets to be pretty awesome in their collecting habits and might someday try building a gd-vg set for fun to try it out. I think I would need to do much better in my shows and trading habits as postage on a low condition project like that would take away the point in my mind.
^^This^^ I collect postwar but have thought about picking a set and trying this. I am not a high grade collector, opting more for mid-grade stuff. That being said, I am not sure I could ever "let go" enough to do it.
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:16 AM
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^^This^^ I collect postwar but have thought about picking a set and trying this. I am not a high grade collector, opting more for mid-grade stuff. That being said, I am not sure I could ever "let go" enough to do it.
I used to think the same thing, then I read a quote...I think it was George Vreck (sp?). When asked about building low grade sets, he said something like " Obviously we'd all love to have mint cards, but the reality is we're not all rich and we don't have eternity to build these sets."

True that. Do the best you can. I think the beauty of the breadth of the finished set is worth the well chosen sacrifices in condition we have to make sometimes.
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:29 AM
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Couldn't agree more! That was my point in my rambling post over on the postwar board about the 1954 Topps set I put together. I have always been anti-crease and such, but I have often wondered if my level of satisfaction would really be any less with a lower grade set. Don't get me wrong, I am not looking for beaters but might entertain a collector grade set. Like I posted about that '54 set, I did give in a little in spots condition-wise relative to what I usually do, but the sum total (or the beauty and breadth as you so eloquently put it) of a completed set is pretty powerful. I wish I had unlimited collecting funds, but I don't. If I try and build every set high grade, I have learned that I will end up not completing and bogged down. There is something about taking the lid off the box and just seeing them all lined up.....and then pulling out those Cardsaver Is and looking through them all. Can't wait to get home tonight and look at my 1953 Topps!

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I used to think the same thing, then I read a quote...I think it was George Vreck (sp?). When asked about building low grade sets, he said something like " Obviously we'd all love to have mint cards, but the reality is we're not all rich and we don't have eternity to build these sets."

True that. Do the best you can. I think the beauty of the breadth of the finished set is worth the well chosen sacrifices in condition we have to make sometimes.


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Old 08-15-2018, 01:37 PM
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Did you do the master?
No, but I collected 5s and 6s. I do have the easier variations, but when I have to pay more than a Cobb or WaJo because of a minor text variation, i will pass.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:27 PM
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When I got back into the hobby a few years ago while I was in college, I tried to put together base sets for basketball, football, and baseball. Modern didn't do it for me, I had no interest in collecting vintage sets of guys I've never even heard of at times, so I determined that true set collecting wasn't for me.

However, the great thing about this hobby is the ability to create your own sets. Team sets, player runs, Hall of Fame sets, etc. THAT is what does it for me. My Hall of Fame project is what I'm having a blast with right now. Within the project, I have mini Hall of Fame sets, and I do consider the overall project to be a "set" (one of each Hall of Famer - I call it the Cooperstown set; not really, I just thought of that, but it sticks and I might start using it haha).
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:34 PM
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I am working on a 1961 set and am pretty committed to finishing it as it is my birth year but dang when you hit something like a high number team card that will set you back $40-60 for a nice grade and think I could have gotten a decent superstar for the same money, you start to wonder.

I'll probably get some 50s complete sets...I'd like a 59, but I will buy them whole.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:37 PM
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I'm not sure what I will do. Nothing rash, because at 53, starting over really isn't something I'm looking to do. I am on pace to finish 52-present Topps and (52-55) Bowman (except 52 Topps highs) by 2025. I'm also working on getting playing days cards of each HOFer (minus Negro Leagues, pre 1900, and executives), plus playing days cards of cool players that weren't HOFers. Part of me just wants to stay the course and just finish it all up, then just work on the vintage stuff. Part of me hates the idea of paying $100 for a 1967 Topps high number of a marginal player, when I could get a nice vintage Paul Waner for that. Decisions, decisions...
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:48 PM
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I'm not sure what I will do. Nothing rash, because at 53, starting over really isn't something I'm looking to do. I am on pace to finish 52-present Topps and (52-55) Bowman (except 52 Topps highs) by 2025. I'm also working on getting playing days cards of each HOFer (minus Negro Leagues, pre 1900, and executives), plus playing days cards of cool players that weren't HOFers. Part of me just wants to stay the course and just finish it all up, then just work on the vintage stuff. Part of me hates the idea of paying $100 for a 1967 Topps high number of a marginal player, when I could get a nice vintage Paul Waner for that. Decisions, decisions...
I think the problem a lot of set builders face is over commitment. When you have the next 5+ years of acquisitions all mapped out, it can really sap the fun out. Discovering and buying new things can be just as much fun as crossing something off of a checklist.
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:33 PM
Promethius88 Promethius88 is offline
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Originally Posted by conor912 View Post
I think the problem a lot of set builders face is over commitment. When you have the next 5+ years of acquisitions all mapped out, it can really sap the fun out. Discovering and buying new things can be just as much fun as crossing something off of a checklist.
This right here!

So many great comments on here and since getting back into collecting I have been faced with the same issues as many others. I'm not a set collector by nature. I did have close to a complete 62 Topps set so I finished that. I have a good start on a 61 set but did sell off a bunch of nice ones a few months back before I thought maybe I would work on that. I have several sets from maybe 78-90 but in all honesty, they bring me no enjoyment at all. After completing a set it's like...eh, whatever. Other than knowing I want to complete the 62 Jell-O set, I have zero focus in my collecting. It's nice to know that there are many others out here that appear to be in the same boat, lol.
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Promethius88 View Post
Other than knowing I want to complete the 62 Jell-O set, I have zero focus in my collecting. It's nice to know that there are many others out here that appear to be in the same boat, lol.
I would say more than 80% of my collecting is simply randomly looking around and the following mental exclamation of "ooh, that's cool"!

The other sub 20% is the rare finding of stuff on my want list or player collections. If I just focused on those, I would only add something every 2-3 months as they are at the point of just being things that don't turn up much. I need the fun stuff to keep entertained.
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:18 PM
Promethius88 Promethius88 is offline
Tim Hadley
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If I just focused on those, I would only add something every 2-3 months as they are at the point of just being things that don't turn up much. I need the fun stuff to keep entertained.
This is exactly the reason I am working on getting Uecker Rookies in every PSA grade as well as doing 86 Fleer Basketball sticker sets in PSA 6-9. Even with those I've gotten to the point of not finding items I need to fill in holes. It's like, I have money in my Paypal, I have to find a way to spend it!
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:47 PM
emmygirl emmygirl is offline
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Let me start by saying I'm 73 yrs old and have been in love with collecting since I was 10. I was a set collector then and I'm a set collector still. Love putting my "finds" usually from ebay, card shows or here on Net54 into those empty plastic 9 pocket pages. It's fun plugging in the missing holes and seeing the set develop over time, sometimes over a very long time. I just finished a really nice 63 topps baseball set that took about 4 yrs. Rose was the last card and I got a real nice Rose from Dave W. here on Net54, thanks Dave. So I started my favorite boyhood set right after the 63 was finished. The 1956 topps baseball has always been the set that I remember most as a kid so I'm going to try to put it together in a cool way, I think. I'm collecting both the grey and white backs. This will probably be my last big challenge but I'm fine with that. If I don't finish the set I'm hoping one of my three sons will pick it up and complete what I started. My boys love collecting just like their dad. So, whether you collect single cards of players you love or build sets or just buy for investments have fun and enjoy this fabulous hobby any way you want. Happy Collecting Jim
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by emmygirl View Post
Let me start by saying I'm 73 yrs old and have been in love with collecting since I was 10. I was a set collector then and I'm a set collector still. Love putting my "finds" usually from ebay, card shows or here on Net54 into those empty plastic 9 pocket pages. It's fun plugging in the missing holes and seeing the set develop over time, sometimes over a very long time. I just finished a really nice 63 topps baseball set that took about 4 yrs. Rose was the last card and I got a real nice Rose from Dave W. here on Net54, thanks Dave. So I started my favorite boyhood set right after the 63 was finished. The 1956 topps baseball has always been the set that I remember most as a kid so I'm going to try to put it together in a cool way, I think. I'm collecting both the grey and white backs. This will probably be my last big challenge but I'm fine with that. If I don't finish the set I'm hoping one of my three sons will pick it up and complete what I started. My boys love collecting just like their dad. So, whether you collect single cards of players you love or build sets or just buy for investments have fun and enjoy this fabulous hobby any way you want. Happy Collecting Jim


Jim

I 100% agree with everything you said about set collecting. It is great fun to see a set come together. This is a fabulous hobby and I wish you the best on your 56 set.


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Old 08-15-2018, 06:18 PM
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I am working on getting Uecker Rookies in every PSA grade
Well that's a new one.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:43 PM
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I don't really fit in one type or the other, more of a mix of both. I collect a bunch of post war vintage sets (Topps, Bowman and Oddballs) and a few prewar sets, and I collect cards that I think are cool and that I like. I won't be finishing any prewar set any time soon as I'm not able to drop money on a Cobb or Wagner right now, so those are out. But there are a ton of great cards that don't cost a lot. (Like the e101 Knight below).

I love trading with my OBC and hobby friends to builds my vintage sets. I get a lot joy out of sending them cards they need for their sets. And I believe they feel the same way sending me cards I need.

I guess I'm trying to say that you can be a set collector and collect what you like at the same time. You have to be defined one way or the other. Enjoy the hobby all.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:26 PM
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If any of y'all working on sets want to do some trading on 50s and 60s sets, let me know. I'm still hanging on as a set collector.
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  #46  
Old 08-15-2018, 07:47 PM
Kenny Cole Kenny Cole is offline
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Yup. I gave it up because I didn’t enjoy it. Much happier just collecting the stars.
Me too.
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  #47  
Old 08-15-2018, 08:27 PM
Promethius88 Promethius88 is offline
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Well that's a new one.
Lol, why I'm doing it, I have no idea. But, it's been fun so far. I have 2-8 and 4.5 and 5.5 so still a few to go. The 9...if one comes up again, might be a bit out of reach. I was telling my wife recently that I would like to get one autographed and slabbed then low and behold one just came up on Ebay. It actually ends in about a half hour and it's jumped from $161 to $257. Probably a little more than I want to spend. Would probably prefer a nicer autograph than that one anyhow and also get one in person. Uecker was all over as I was growing up...Lite beer commercials, tv, movies. Maybe this is part of my "passion" for collecting them.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:20 PM
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I gave up on set collecting before I ever started.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:04 PM
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I'd say that as long as I'm collecting, I'll probably never abandon "set" collecting.

Now, I may never collect another "complete" set as issued, for many of the reasons listed on this thread, but I do have to give myself parameters that define my own version of a set. (examples: Topps and Bowman active HOFers 48 thru 79; 100 pre-war type cards - HOFers or TGOTT subjects; t207 recruit bat, belt, and glove; E90-1, e92, e101, e102, e105, e106 clouds and sunsets)

I've been on hiatus for over a year now, but the last complete "as issued" sets I attempted was 51 bowman football. Still need 1 card for that one and t205 minus variations (still need 29 of those). Before that, 73 topps, 52 bowman, 33 goudey (minus one of the Gehrigs & Lajoie), t206 (520)

If I tried to only collect what I like and or what strikes my fancy on any random day, I'd drive myself poor or crazy or both.

Last edited by tonyo; 08-16-2018 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:37 PM
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Set collecting makes you hearken back to the innocent and nostalgic days of youth when the cards were released in series and you and your friends were on a non-stop effort to trade, flip, etc., to check off the numbers (yes, with a pen or pencil!!) on your checklists. When that finally happened, you would wait with bated breath until the next series was issued and the process gloriously started anew!! We would always make sure we had two checklists from each series, one to mark up and one to keep. When you were missing cards at the end of the year? Heck, that's what winter was for. Every time you went over to your friends' houses, you were always on the lookout for the cards you needed to trade for. Add the smell of cardboard and gum to the mix, and that's what set collecting means to me.
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