Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 17)

Day 17: A card from the first set you put together hand collated

This is basically the same for me as day 3. I believe the first set I completed fully was 1992 Topps. And back in 1992, all my cards came from packs - I don't think I traded to finish that set, although I had card collecting friends.

I stopped buying tons of boxes of the same product soon after, instead "sampling" each product with a single box. Back then, it was affordable.. or, at least, my family/I was able to afford it. I don't remember if I hand collated any sets or just bought complete ones. Or maybe I did neither. Or both. Really, who knows? I do remember buying a whole bunch of junk wax at one point and putting together sets - 1990 Donruss, some late-90s non-sport stuff. You know. But since I had no focus and just opened packs and collected for fun, I don't really remember what sets I finished. It just wasn't important. Which may be why I stopped collecting - with no focus, buying boxes had no purpose.

Speaking of non-sport, I spent a lot of money trying to finish the Casper movie card sets. I somehow completed the Fleer set, but I'm still missing cards from the Ultra set.

Does anyone know any non-sport single card dealers? I'd love to finish that and a few other sets.

Anyway, when I got back into baseball card collecting in 2003, I started as a player collector before starting my type collection. I also started chasing insert sets that I liked. (That's three starts in a row...) I've finished a bunch of those sets, some by hand and some through complete-set purchases.

Because I kind of went on a set-buying/building blitz, I can't tell for sure what set I completed first back then.

But, I had a mini-hiatus in 2009-2010, where I collected a little bit but again was focused elsewhere. In 2010 I basically restarted my life, moving back to California, and again returning to cards. And the most important first set I built pack by pack was 2011 Topps.
2011 was a great year for me as far as card collecting goes. There were some great releases, and the flagship set was one of them. I finished the entire set - Series 1, 2 and Update - pack by pack. In fact, I did most of it with retail packs, just like when I was a kid. And not only did I finish the base set, but I also put together the 60 Years of Topps, The Lost Cards, Kimball Champions, and Reproduction insert sets, and earned enough points through the online giveaway to get the Diamond Anniversary factory set, too. Over that year, I would finish a lot of other sets, too, technically before finishing Update, but this one stands out in my mind.

It really was like I was a child again - I would grab a few packs as I checked out at Target or WalMart, and open them up in the car to see what I got. I kept a want list and traded with a few of you all to get the last few singles I needed. Beyond the fun of opening packs and the sense of accomplishment that comes with hand collating a set, the interaction I had sharing the set on this blog and trading with others across the country really made this set the first truly memorable hand collated set I have.

This year is the first year I'm hand-collating the flagship set since 2011. I've finished the first series, and I'll buy jumbo boxes of series 2 and 3 when they hit shelves here too. It's fun, but it won't be the same as that 2011 experience!


  1. I had a ton of fun with 2011 Topps too. I think COMC has some non-sports cards - might want to check there.

    1. I've done a bit through COMC, but for cheap singles it's pretty sparse. Actually, I found a couple online shops recently, so I'll probably shoot one an email to get cracking.

  2. Those 2011 Kimball Champions cards are one of my favorite insert sets in recent years. I started off building it, but ended up buying them on eBay to save me time and money.

    Casper? Interesting. I've seen those card here and there over the years, but never thought about collecting them. If I find any Ultra packs, they're yours.

    1. I did most of Kimball by hand, starting with all the packs I bought, then singles from shops, trading, and I probably bought a few from Sportlots or COMC.

      Given how few Casper cards I need it probably isn't worth it. I think at least one of the two online shops I recently found should be able to finish my needs.