As collectors, I think we all believe in a few different cardboard philosophies.
Because of that, no two collections can ever be exactly alike. I've always found that to be one of the greatest things about this hobby.
Personally, I could probably fill up a few posts on my own collecting beliefs. However, the one I'd stress more than any other is actually quite simple.
Appreciate your collection!
My binders have been readily accessible throughout my collecting life. I've taken advantage of that by plopping down and flipping through them on a regular basis.
While you can interpret the word any way you want, that's basically how I "appreciate" my cardboard.
Although a flip through my binders does often allow me to simply bask in the glory of a recent "score" or a cool vintage piece, the process has other purposes.
Sometimes, I discover little quirks or nuances about cards that I'd never noticed before. Little, obvious things that would've slipped under my radar without a little "appreciation" on my part.
A few months ago, I speculated that Jim Kaat's 1973 Topps card was the first to feature a shot that featured a pitcher in a hitting/base-running situation.
After taking a quick look at my beautiful 1956 Topps Harvey Haddix one afternoon, I felt like an idiot. I'd already had a "pitcher at the plate/on the basepaths" card in my collection. And it was a full 17 years older than the Kaat.
I guess I was just too caught up in the beauty of '56 Topps to make the association.
This card was actually on my trade list for a little while.
I'm just glad no one ever claimed it.
For a long time, I thought this was simply another confusing Bowman "Prospects" card of a failed minor-leaguer. While Russell Wilson never enjoyed much success in baseball, his sporting life turned out to be far from "failed".
Football fans might know him as the up-and-coming quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks.
While I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the NFL last year, I had indeed heard about Wilson and his former baseball career in the Rockies' organization.
As I was combing through some of my spare cardboard one afternoon, I once again came across this particular piece. At that very moment, it finally clicked.
I'd been sitting on a card of that Russell Wilson all this time!
These days, it has a happy home inside my Rockies binder.
All it took was a little appreciation.
Mr. Hudler here found his way into my grasp through one of those big "blogger boxes" that were all the rage earlier in the year.
Although Hudler isn't a "binder guy", the action photo alone earned it a spot in the miscellaneous stack of neat cardboard I've been setting aside lately.
As I was going through those cards for the umpteenth time, I once again came across this very card.
This time, though, I decided to flip it over.
And this is what I found.
As you can probably tell, this particular photo is an "action shot" of an entirely different sort.
While not the only cow-themed card I own, the appearance of an udder on this one certainly came as a surprise to me.
I'd always heard that Hudler marched to the beat of his own drum.
This card certainly confirmed that.
As my regular readers probably know, I've developed a newfound fascination with "bat barrel" cards.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of many fellow bloggers, I've received a tremendous amount of new ones via trade packages and the like.
However, a little "appreciation" showed that I'd already been sitting on a goldmine of these things.
Through my various binder digs, I've discovered dozens upon dozens of new "barrel action" cards. I've even found a few double and triple barrel cards during my searches.
Still, none of them can top the greatness of this Campy.
I traded for this one when the "Vintage Legends" inserts first hit the market back in 2010. While I've always viewed it a neat piece, I probably wouldn't have rated it as one of my surefire favorite Campanella cards.
Until recently, anyways.
My new bat barrel-loving self instantly took notice of this one. I count an unheard-of five different barrels gracing the front of it.
Still, who knows?
Maybe there's an elusive six-barrelled card sitting in my binders as we speak.
A little "appreciation" is all it takes to find out.
I've read about people who keep the majority of their cards in storage or locked up in a safe somewhere.
While I understand that a collection can occupy a decent chunk of real estate (especially among married hobbyists), I doubt I'd ever be able to have my cards that far from reach.
I'd never be able to appreciate my collection that way.