Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First world problems

Card collecting has its fair share of dilemmas.

Budgeting time, space, and, most of all, money to our collections aren't small matters in the slightest.

Luckily, I learned these lessons early on in my "career".

While I absolutely love each and every facet of collecting, I know that schoolwork always comes first. I have a set amount of space for my binders and such in my room. Although they occupy quite a bit of real estate, my room is still easily accessible and tidy.

As far as money goes, I've never had a set budget. However, I make sure to not go overboard with my spending.

Since my three-blaster barrage of 2013 Topps last month, I've barely bought anything card-related in the past few weeks.

And, if I do find myself on the verge of an "impulse buy", I make sure it's cheap and fits within my finances.

When it comes to card collecting, these are all legitimate concerns. Any fellow hobbyist would tell you so.

However, I bet they'd also agree that collecting also comes with its fair share of "little things".

Little things that always seem to bother us or interest us. Little things that continue to play a major role in our collections.

These little things are indeed the "first world problems" of collecting.

Now, I'm not the first person to tie this idea into baseball cards. I know of a few different bloggers who have used the term on their blogs.

However, it's no secret that we all have "first world problems" in this hobby. 

Myself included.

Take that Dave Winfield card, for instance.

As I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post, I know I'm not going to own actual copies of some of the reprints in my collection. I don't see myself owning a '52 Topps Andy Pafko anytime soon.

However, the prospect of netting a 1995 Topps Dave Winfield shouldn't be all that difficult.

But, for whatever reason, I've never managed to land a copy of it. I have the 2001 Topps Archives reprint of the very same card, but not the original piece.

It's one of the more gaping holes in my Indians binder right now. 

As much as I'd like to ignore it, I just can't. 

Like I said, first world problems.

For me, organizing my collection isn't a first world problem.

I love sorting my cards. It's both incredibly relaxing and quite therapeutic at the same time.

Problem is, I don't always have the time to do it. My sorting process is a bit more time-consuming than most others.

Between a recent barrage of schoolwork and other things, my organizing time over the past few weeks had been fairly slim.

That, coupled with the amazing amount of cards I've received lately, caused those dreaded "unsorted" piles to start adding up.

I pride myself on being up-to-date with my organizing. But over the past few weeks, I just wasn't able to keep pace.

My new Yankees cards really started to accumulate, given the fact that they're the absolute last team in my alphabetical binder system.

Seeing those piles of unsorted cards started to bother me. I'm not quite sure why, though. Just one of those first world problems, I guess.

Thankfully, though, I devoted a few nice chunks of time over the weekend to the sorting process.

Now, I can once again say that I am fully caught up on my sorting. This fantastic multiple-image card of Paul O'Neill is now safely stored away in that last and final Yankees binder.

A true cardboard success story.

I've heard a great deal of discussion over this year's colored Topps parallels.

Actually, I've heard quite a bit of debate over the topic of parallels in general lately.

Some like 'em. Some think they're a big and unnecessary money-making ploy on the part of card companies.

Personally, I enjoy parallels quite a bit.

However, I do think that Topps is going a little overboard with them.

Red, blue, purple, camo, pink...the things just never end.

Deep down, though, I think my inner collecting self has fallen hopelessly in love with the whole parallel universe. In fact, my love for them has transformed into a first world problem.

When I see this neat base-red Max Scherzer "combo" in my Tigers binder, I can't help but think...

"Oh, that's nice. But I bet it'd be even better if I had the Wal-Mart Blue version, too."

It's involuntary. 

I can't just be happy with the base and red versions, can I?

My inner voice just has to remind me that there are even more parallels floating around out there. 

Right now, there are a grand total of 55 different binders in my collection.

And, as far as individual pages go, I doubt I could even give you a rough estimate.

It's a lot. Let's just say that.

Believe it or not, though, I am constantly on the lookout for more binders and pages for my baseball cards.

A couple of my binders are on the verge of being overfilled. And that's a big no-no in my world.

Although my supply is fairly steady for now, I'm sure I'll be needing more pages in no time. I go through them at an amazing rate sometimes. Especially with my seemingly constant influx of Ichiro cards in my Mariners binder.

Trouble is, neither binders or pages are what I'd call "cheap", as far as the retail market goes.

I'm not willing to spend the cash it takes to get one of those two-inch binders from Walgreens. And pages can sometimes set you back a pretty penny as well.

Thankfully, I've had good luck with finding both binders and pages on the cheap at flea markets and such. I found a guy selling five big binders at a buck a piece at the flea market last year.

Still, I probably don't have to tell you that February isn't "flea market season".

Which means that my overfilled binders will have to wait a few more months.

It's going to be rough, but I should be able to get through it.

So, what is my oldest "first world problem" to date?

That's easy.

I'll preface it with a question.

Does anything about this '64 Topps Felipe Alou seem a bit off to you?

Does anything about it seem strange or irksome?

I think you know what I'm getting at here.

Despite the big, bold "BRAVES" moniker at the top of the card, Alou is clearly seen sporting a Giants uniform on this one.

Now, I decided long ago that any card with this mismatched quality would be filed under the uniform, rather than the team name, in my organizing system. Which means that Mr. Alou is a part of my Giants binder.

For the most part, I'm at peace with that decision.

However, I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't bother me a little bit. A card with a gigantic "BRAVES" designation at the top does seem a tad out of place amongst pages of other Giants-exlusive cardboard.

But, like it or not, I'll have to live with this "first world problem".

Now, does something like this really matter in the grand scheme of things?

Probably not.

But, to me, it sure does.

I think most collectors would back me up on that one.


hiflew said...

I love parallels, well I sort of have to. If I didn't, as a team collector I would have 6 cards to track down from Series 1 and get bored quickly. Sure the endless parallels means your collection will probably NEVER be complete, but it also means that your collection will never be COMPLETE.

As far as the Alou card, I am the complete opposite. To me, that is a Braves card. I count Rockies cards that feature other uniforms. In fact I have a special name for them which I will be showing off when my blog relaunches as soon as my batteries get recharged.

Mark said...

I had the opposite problem of your Winfield conundrum at a show the other weekend. I found an 01 Archives reprint of the 1972 WS Highlight Clemente card in a $1 box. It's a card I needed, and I love the Archives sets, but I couldn't justify paying $1 when I picked up a nice copy of the original card out of a 3/$1 box last year.

For my Pirates collection, I add both cards picturing the player as a Pirate and listing them with another team as well as cards that identify them with the Pirates but show another jersey. Both are a little cringeworthy at times, but I've always liked the awkward black bold print "Traded to ____" on the 80's O-Pee-Chee baseball sets, which were released after the U.S. issued Topps set.

Fuji said...

The beauty of "first world problems" in our hobby is that they sometimes help me take my mind of my personal "first world problems".


Your 1995 Topps Dave Winfield = My (any vintage year) Topps Bob Uecker

I love parallels!

You might want to consider picking up a case of pages on eBay. A while back, I picked up a case of Ultra Pro Platinum for $80 (+ $30 shipping).

Lol... it totally bugs me to see a guy wearing one team's uniform, but the card says another.