Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's the thrill of the chase

On one of my many excursions back and forth from work lately, I pondered what my fascination has been over the past few months with collecting "vintage" sets.  When I first wandered back into collecting in the early 90's, there was nothing about vintage that I cared for.  The look, the price, the whole allure of older cards was lost on me.

I was focused on the here and now.  The shiny new kids on the block were the cards that caught my eye.  If it was Upper Deck in the early 90's, I collected it.  A lot.

Fast forward to the start of this blog, 20 years later during the summer of 2011. Shiny and new was still the method of my madness.  The more blogs I read, the more new shiny stuff I looked at, the more I gobbled it up.

Then something happened.  More and more blogs landed in my lap.  More collectors that enjoyed the vintage sets from the 50's, 60's and 70's.

I started to really look at vintage as a new source of collecting.  Why?  Because the way I collect vintage now is the way I collected the shiny stuff back in the early 90's.

Piece by piece.

You see, 20 years ago I was a poor college student who lived on a budget (sound familiar?).  I had only so much in my budget for cards, so sets took a bit of time to be completed.  I bought packs for a while, then as I approached the completion of a set, I would head for the singles binder at the local card shop.

Now, when collecting the modern sets (Topps flagship for example), all I would have to do is wait a couple of weeks, buy a hobby box, have the set 80-90 % completed, make a couple of trades, and voila!  Set done.

No thrill there.  Piece of cake.

Having started older sets such as the '64, '73 and '77 Topps releases has awakened the monster.  The guy who likes the thrill of the chase.  The cheap Scotsman who likes finding deals on vintage commons such as the one I found at the card show last weekend...

You remember the credo..."can't leave them at the show for that price"?  I walked by the table of a dealer I really haven't dealt with all that much, and there was the sign...

1970 Topps commons.  10 cents each

For $2, I started a 1970 Topps set, 20 commons worth.  Yikes, another vintage set to least I found a blog to follow that chronicles the '70 set

Here's another aspect of the chase that I enjoy now more so than I did 20 years ago.  Watching binder pages fill up.  Part of the problem back then was I didn't have the extra money to put any sets in binders and pages.

Fast forward to now, and collecting sets like '64 Topps almost have to be put in pages.  Watching pages fill up is another thrill that 20 years ago never existed (for me at least).

Cards 46-54...only missing #50

Now, this particular page may be the biggest thrill of them all when I finally am able to complete it.  Card # 50 that is missing....well that's none other than Mickey Mantle. 

I don't get that kind of thrill adding a SP from the '11 Heritage set to the binder.  Yea, Stephen Drew was a good pickup, but the wow factor just wasn't there.

I'm sure the Mick will provide that for me....

One day

Thanks for reading, Robert


  1. Every time I find a card from my want lists of 2011 and 2012 sets I am happy. Every time I find another card to put in my 1973 Topps binder, I am overjoyed. Nothing like putting a 40 year old piece of cardboard into an empty slot in my notebook to make my day complete. Good luck with your vintage sets.

  2. I had a vintage "awakening" a few years ago as well. I can't imagine what it would be like to build a vintage set, though. Best of luck on the rest of the chase!

    P.S...that's quite a dime box you found there. Vintage dime boxes are often the best kinds.

  3. You must be getting some killer hobby boxes. It usually takes me two or three to get that close to a set.
    But vintage sets are where it's at. I've got '69, '71, and '74 thru '80 ('81 on to me is not vintage, I bought them when they were new), and I'm one card away from '73. No gimmicks, no super short prints (except for high numbers, which you can actually FIND), and no packs with cards from other sets in them.

  4. I used to share in the same sentiments about vintage. I was a poor college kid, and all I wanted was the newest cards. Vintage was sooo yesterday and I just didn't want to bother with cards from before I was born. Then I found the blogging world and it opened my eyes up a bit. I appreciate vintage cards much, much more now. Heck, I'm starting to build the Topps sets from 1974 thru 1980 (81-present already completed) and I recently completed the entire run of vintage Topps Orioles cards that finished off with Brooks Robinson's rookie card this past summer. So yeah, vintage rules!