Saturday, January 13, 2024

OAMC #23 - The Set Collector's Struggle

Organizing a Million Cards #23 - The Set Collector's Struggle

I was hoping to make my first post of the year much earlier than this, but my health likes to play games and the VA likes to give out new meds to fix that. So, I have spent the beginning of the New Year transitioning off of one med and onto another. It has not been fun, but things are improving.

With that, I'm a little late to the party here. The big bombshell of the year so far is the Wander Franco arrest. Collectors are up in arms over the reprehensible act and the value of his cards which is tanking very quickly. A lot of people are going to lose money. This is their complaint. 

A young girl was manipulated. That should be the focus. Her well-being. 

With that off my chest, this still presents a conundrum for set collectors that makes them look at their very own ethics. Can you collect the cards of someone who is accused of something so terrible--especially when it involves a minor? 

Alas, this is a card blog, so this got me thinking. As a set collector with same insane goals (Topps Tek (all patterns), Topps Total, UD 40-Man, Documentary and Yankee Stadium Legacy to name a few crazier ones.), I have found a few major struggles that people like me deal with in the hobby. 

1 - What do you do when a player does something terrible? Well--unfortunately, their cards are part of a complete set. This means in order to truly complete the set, you have to include their cards. The one saving grace here is that you don't actively need to chase their parallels or autos. Just what you need and that's it. No reason to make them a bigger part of the collection than need be.

2 - Other collectors overreacting is a terrible thing for set collectors. Burning cards publicly, cutting cards up and just throwing them away are ways that some collectors have begun to deal with this. The issue here is that some set collector likely need that card to complete something. We are not proud of the fact that the card is of "that player", but we will likely buy it on eBay or trade you for it. So, just calm down. 

Also, some people have weird PC's where they collect the autos of criminals. There's always a market.

3 - The flippers. Not only has this killed retail for most collectors, but it takes another very twisted turn--the trashing of base cards and commons. You may not be able to flip a 2020 Joey Gallo card, but someone out there is missing that Gallo. To paraphrase the awesome @notgaetti, "Ever heard of Goodwill?"  

Someone out there wants or needs those cards. Most of us are even willing to pay shipping. There are also teachers, scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, etc. There is always somewhere to send your unwanted base cards. Stop throwing them out. That's just a travesty to collecting.

4 - Price gauging has been terrible forever but even worse since 2020. People will find a card or set and decide it's "Super Rare" or "Hard to find" and then charge an insane amount for it. Others then follow suit and the common collector is screwed. 

This is also true of new products. Do I need to bring up Bowman Draft and the Brady thing?

5 - Grading. Raw cards are not worth what a graded card is. Stop this nonsense of trying to get graded prices on a card that is worth $10 raw--when the card is raw...

So, being a set collector has its definite down sides. This current Wander Franco thing is the worst of it. Being a set collector doesn't mean I condone his behavior, but I'm not giving up my goals for this.

It's like I say often: "If I stopped listening to music because of everything the artists were accused of or did, all I would have left is "Weird" Al and he would have nobody to make fun of."

I hope the girl involved in the Wander case finds peace and justice is served to both parties involved in doing this to her. 

I also hope every one is having a better year than last year.

Now get out there and keep collecting. 



  • Main Collection: 54,873
  • For Trade/Doubles - 3,033
  • 1991 Topps Glow Backs - 0
  • Mattingly Doubles - 230
  • Total Cards Logged - 58,136
  • Complete Sets - 50
  • Insert Sets/Errors - 12


(Vonnegut37 on TCDB)