What Am I Doing?

So, my name is Joe and I have been collecting Baseball Cards for almost 40 years.

I am a set collector. I do PC some players (Mattingly, Ripken, Gwynn, Nolan Ryan and Ozzie Smith.), but mostly as part of sets and then some oddball stuff. Mattingly is my number 1.

Enter flashback story:

It was April of 1984--my birthday actually--my Uncle Ray bought me a random cello pack of 1984 Topps. The top card was Rick Cerone. Now, this was particularly nice considering that I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and was a die hard Yankees fan. What this also did was start my love of cards.

But it wasn't until 1987 that I really go into it. Something about working towards that Topps set made it even more of a thing for me. Unfortunately, it would be 1990 before I finished my first set (Topps) and that feeling was the best.

For the next 7 years I collected like crazy. Any set. Any sport. Even non-sport. I wanted them all. My family moved to Florida in 1993 and the collection moved with us.

Then, in 1997, I joined the Army...

For the next few years, cards were sporadic and a career was forming. In 2001 I got pretty heavily back into the hobby and that lasted between deployments until about 2005. From 2005 until 2013, cards were an on again off again thing for me.

In 2013, I was medically retired from the Army after 15 years. I worked in Georgia for a bit before moving to Washington state. The collection moved with us. It was up to about 150,000 cards. I was living with some former friends when we decided to moved from the Kitsap side of the water to the Seattle side. When that happened, I was convinced to let the majority of the collection go--and so I did. Hurts to think about all of the cards I lost to a sale I saw no money from by people who manipulated me for almost a decade.

But, we move on...

Finally, after I moved out of that situation with my now wife and escaped the people who had made everything kind of horrible, was I able to look at what I wanted from life.

In 2018, my wife and I decided to go to a Mariners game. There, she suggested getting a blaster of 2018 Series 1. We did...  Opening the box was almost freeing and made me drag out my cards--or what was left. Next came Goodwill and Value Village, then the hobby boxes and jumbos. Retail blasters abounded and the collection started to grow again. At the time, I was a Topps only guy. That didn't last long.

Before we knew it, I had amassed close to 200,000 cards--which is more than I ever had before. I was still missing great chunks, but the collection was coming together. At that point, I changed the goal to 1977 and on. Then to 1952 and on. Then to 1948 Bowman and on.

Now the goal is 1948 Bowman and on but includes 1933 and 1934 Goudey. With this are team sets, exclusives and master sets. A Master Set for me includes one of each parallel, insert parallel, autographs, etc plus all inserts, the base sets and errors. This is a lot. Add to that my growing collection of art cards and artwork and things get even crazier.

For baseball alone the number exceeds 700,000. Football, Basketball and Non-Sports are limited to specific years and sets, where Hockey is open to whatever we find. All in all, I am searching for nearly a million cards and some starting lineup figures...  and some coins...

The collection is roughly a million cards at the moment with the bulk of it being doubles. 

What changed the target? Trading Card Database. TCDB.com changed everything. Once I realized that I could trade excess RC's and good cards for vintage and other things I needed, the whole concept of collecting changed.

Twitter pushed it off the deep end. Between trades, giveaways and stack sales, I make consistent dents in sets on an almost daily basis.

So, why keep doing this? Part nostalgia, yes. Part OCD, yes. Truthfully, sorting and collecting is cathartic and therapeutic for me. I did 4 combat tours between Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the keys to battling PTSD is to find something that calms you. Baseball Cards calm me. It is a tool as much as it's a hobby.

Which brings me to the point of all this...  I need more help. Collecting on this massive scale is going to take resources. I am here promoting this so that people who may just have a box of cards sitting at home collecting dust and want to get rid of it have a place to send it. I will happily accept it and even pay for it. Maybe a collector sees this and has that 1 card I need. Maybe I have 1 they need. Who knows?

We never know how this hobby works until we try. Maybe someone will read this and see a way to deal with their own thing...  I can live with that even if we never trade a single card.

The plan is to post weekly and update as I add cards. We will see how well that goes.

Gonna be fun to see either way.

Joe (@madsetcollector on Twitter)

PS: If you're wondering how my wife feels about having a million cards in the house--well, she keeps buying more cards. I call her The Enabler... So, she's cool with it.

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