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

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Blog Bat Around: The Cards I Used to Own

It's been quite a while since I've seen, let alone responded to, a Blog Bat Around, so when I saw that gcrl had posted a question I had to jump in on it.

Well, it's more of a topic than a question, but he does actually ask something at the end:
what cards have you owned that you regret are no longer in your collection? 
If I had answered this question about 5-7 years ago, there would have been a large list. But I've remedied a lot of those "holes" and so the list has dwindled down to just a few.

But like gcrl, let's start with cards I used to own that I don't really miss.
Let's start with the 1990s. I got my start in the "hobby" in 1989 but I don't think I visited my first card shop until around 1991. Certainly by 1992 my grandmother was having (cheap) boxes of cards delivered to my door, not to my mom taking me to local card shops. My school bus driver was a card collector too, and we ended up going to some flea markets and card shows, setting up as collector-dealers at least once.

I sold off cards on multiple occasions in high school, but those were all duplicates. Certainly those haven't been missed. There's only one card I can remember selling before college where I didn't have a duplicate, and that was a Cal Ripken card that was booking at $100 due to his approaching "the record". I got full book for it from a dealer, not an easy feat. But I'm sure he at least got his money back. Heck, I don't even remember exactly which card it was. Probably something like a 1995 Leaf Statistical Standouts - still a $30 card today according to my modern Beckett.
College and movie watching pulled me away from baseball in 1998. My lowering interest in cards and the home run chase of 1998 inspired me to pull all the McGwires and Sosas from my collection and toss them on eBay. I ended up doing quite well selling in small lots. It means that I busted up some complete sets, though I didn't open any sealed factory sets. When I returned to collecting, those holes in my sets were a bit of a nuisance, but not hard to replace. And I don't regret it now!

When I returned to the hobby in 2003, I started small and slowly added more and more collections. A lot changed in cards between 1998 and 2003 - autographs and relics were a huge part of new product, as were parallels. Don't get me wrong, all of those existed when I left, but they weren't as prominent. I bought tons of singles, lots, and eventually boxes again. I had my type collection going, and I was building a few insert sets, but busting boxes was purely for the fun of it. I've had a few nice pulls, including a 2007 Allen and Ginter Bazooka parallel of Ken Griffey Jr. I sold that on the 'Bay for a good bit of pocket change that ended up financing several more cards. It would be a nice card to still own, and I have never owned another Bazooka parallel, But I don't regret getting rid of it.

It was soon after then that I stopped, or at least dramatically cut back on, buying boxes. I open almost no product now, relying mostly on card shows, stores, trades, and online options. And I tailor my purchases to match my collecting needs, so there's nothing extra to sell or trade.

But what about the regrets?
I once had a 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas rookie that I got rid of at some point - long story that involved some bad choices. I certainly regretted losing it. While I have a replacement now in my complete set, it's not the same as having that one from my childhood.
The 1998 sell-off included some non-card baseball items that I wish I still had. Most importantly was a collection of game balls, some with autographs. Nothing was really valuable, but for sentimental value, I wish I still had those things. The balls are almost all from Atlanta in the mid-90s, during the Braves dynasty years. The autographs, though, came from the San Jose Giants and whoever played them in the game I attended. And to go along with the balls and such, I seem to be missing ticket stubs from several games I attended as a kid...
While I wasn't collecting baseball cards for quite some time, I was still collecting other things. And I had dabbled a bit in movie cards as a child. So around 2000-2005, when prices and shipping were both cheap, I ended up amassing a nice collection of movie card sets and a ton of "hits" from movie and TV series sets, along with a really nice collection of baseball hits. And at some point during that period, I realized that I had lost focus on my collecting goals. So I blew them out, and made a pretty penny.

But I got rid of a few really rare cards that I wish I hadn't. There were relic cards and autographs that I haven't seen since at a price I'm willing to pay. However, many of the ones I had before have re-entered my collection, and sometimes I came out on top. For example, I had a David Justice autograph that I remember selling for about $75, and my replacement, above, was obtained for less than $10.

Maybe I'm lucky. Maybe it's just smart or budget-minded collecting. But there really are no major regrets in the cards I've purged from my collection. Now, if you want to talk about cards (or more specifically, boxes) I've bought that I regret buying...


  1. great post. and now i'm thinking about cards that i bought that i wish i didn't...

  2. Man. You had game balls from San Jose Giants games? Very cool. Still waiting for my very first foul ball. I'd love it... if it were at a San Jose Giants game.

    P.S. That Hank Aaron is sweet. I've gotta track that card down.

  3. I got at least one game ball, possibly two, from a 1991-ish game in San Jose. I really do wish I still had those. Getting balls at minor league games is much easier than it looks, and I may have gotten another there when I attended a game a few years ago. You just have to know where to sit/stand... and weeknight games are much easier, of course, with lighter crowds.

    The Hank Aaron is #715 in the 1994 Topps set. I love little tribute cards like that found in sets. I should make a micro-collection of them. I have a few already, like the Lights Out Candlestick card found in 1990 Score.

    And PS for you, it seems that I'm not getting email alerts when you post comments. I don't know if it's just you or a recent problem with everyone.

  4. Thanks for the info on the Aaron card. It's officially on my "wantlist". I've been close to catching a ball... but it just hasn't happened. One day... I keep telling myself.

    As for the email alerts... I'm probably in your SPAM folder. I have the same issue when certain bloggers comment on my blog posts.

  5. I checked spam and I don't see you there either. It's like there just isn't an email. And it might be anyone leaving comments. I'll have to check my settings when I get home tonight.