Wednesday, February 24, 2021

If the worst should happen

I know it's dark to think about, but I often wonder what would happen to my baseball card collection if I had to leave it all behind.

I've seen videos and read articles about this person finding a long-lost collection in the attic of a random house, or that person inheriting a basement full of binders and boxes from the uncle of a friend's friend. I don't think I'd want anything like that to happen with my cards. I've been collecting for most of my life now, and without meaning to brag, I like to think I've amassed a pretty darn good pile of baseball cards in that time. My collection wouldn't make national headlines -- I'm not sitting on a treasure trove of 1933 Goudey or anything -- but I still wonder where everything would go if I wasn't around to oversee it.

Sure, I own real vintage Sandy Koufaxes and Mickey Mantles, but I hope someone sees the stories behind in my 75 Hideki Okajima cards, too --  specifically, the passion it took to put such a strange and disjointed collection together.

As painful as it is to think about not being surrounded by my collection, it hurts just as much to picture it just sitting there, completely removed from human contact.

This, I think, is what worries me most. My cards are in binders and meant to be enjoyed, not shuffled off to a garage with rakes and shovels. I don't have nearly as much time to devote to my cards now as I did when I was 15, but I still try to sit down with my binders at least a couple times a week, and let my cards remind me why I've devoted so many waking hours to them (not that I ever really need reminding).

And when I shove the darkness aside, I realize I've still got a whole lot of those waking hours to devote to my cards -- many of which were recently spent sorting through an excellent string of trade packages I received from Shoebox Shane recently.

Shane's mentioned he's partaking in a mini-purge of his unwanted/lesser-needed cards -- which is good for me, since my binders are an eternal home for castoff and misfit cardboard.

Ben Zobrist has shot up my player-collection ranks in recent years, so I was happy Shane thought of me with these two.

If you stop and think about it, parallels have absolutely no reason to exist -- there's no reason I need eight different versions of the same card.

That's true, but do I love having red and blue and orange and whatever-other-color parallels all housed together in a binder page? You bet I do!

Here's a selection of early-aughts - particularly shocking because I'm still convinced all the cards from this era fell off the face of the earth at some point.

Fun fact about yours truly: I own a Tony Womack Diamondbacks t-shirt, and I have no idea how or why that happened.

Shane's mailers didn't have a whole lot of rhyme or reason, which, of course, meant they were incredibly fun to sift through.

Case in point: here's a random batch of players and sets you don't see turn up in a whole lot of trade packages (really dig the Sonny Gray Pro Debut card).

I don't specifically chase Stadium Club parallels, but I'm happy to have them because they allow me to enjoy such masterful greatness all over again.

Am I the only one who forgets Stadium Club has inserts?

A rag-tag bunch of parallels here -- '90s Dufex technology, x-fractor blindness, and a pair nifty orange borders from 2020 Big League.

Kinda forgot how much I enjoy these Score stadium shots until Shane decided to remind me.

If anything happens to me, please do me a favor and try to find someone out there who'll appreciate a collection that features Rondell White and Lou Boudreau in equal prominence.

Two things I'll collect forever and ever: defunct-team vintage, and team card vintage.

I scanned these cards a while ago, and for the life of me I can't remember why I grouped these four together.

That's the fun of random trade packages, after all. 

Not to demean the other three cards in this scan, but my god that Reggie Jackson SI cover is marvelous.

A veritable buffet of minis!

(Alas, I mourn the days when A&G included people like P.T. Barnum...)

At some point, I imagine anyone who collects anything wonders what might happen to their collection if the worst should happen.

But I figure that thought is more pronounced with baseball cards because it's such a personal and often arbitrary hobby, packed with years and decades and centuries of history. I (usually) know why I collect the things I do, but I'd have a hard time explaining that to anyone else. I can only imagine how lost someone would be looking through my cards without me around, or without any frame of reference. The painful part is that, given such confusion, I can see how a collection like mine could be abandoned in a room, or thrown in an attic. It's a possible end to a chain of events I don't want to think about.

But with any luck, I've still got years and years of time to spend with my beloved baseball cards, and I won't have to worry about anything I've just talked about for a good long while.

[knocks on wood]


Swing And A Pop-up said...

I've always had a "sucks to be you" mentality towards whoever has to deal with my cardboard disaster of a collection after I'm gone. I'm sure there will be a lot of "What was he thinking?" moments as they peruse the largest collection of cards not worth grading in history.

Mike said...

I remember in your early collector years how excited you got finding cards from defunct teams!

night owl said...

This topic comes up quite a bit on the blogs.

I experienced first hand what happens to a collection after the collectors are gone. My parents collected a particular kind of antique glassware and plates that were quite valued among those who knew. When my folks passed and it came time to deal with the house and what was in it, none of their kids wanted to figure out exactly what they had and what they could get for it. It was too overwhelming and our mental states couldn't handle it. So we ended up letting an auction house buy it all, likely for much less money than it was worth.

Now, consider this: my baseball card collection is MUCH MORE involved than my folks' dishware collection was. They is no way that the people I leave behind are going to be able to decipher it or want to. It's beyond their brain scope, and they'll have many other things on their mind.

Therefore, if you worry about what's going to happen to your collection (I don't really, when I'm gone, I'm gone) then prepare to sell it or find someone to give it to while you still can.

Elliptical Man said...

Defunct teams are fun.

I have nobody to leave my cards to, so when I'm gone they'll go to whoever swipes them.

Jeremya1um said...

I think I might just make a post entitled ‘my baseball card will’ or something, and just kind of identify certain (team) binders I have and which bloggers they will go to (you can have the Cubs). I would love to do it with certain players but the problem is that many of them are in different team binders and unless it is someone I collect that all of the cards won’t be in one place. I also want to try to identify any rookie cards or valuable numbered cards that I have and where they are located so my loved ones can get an approximate value and then sold with the minimum amount of work. Not the best thing to think about, but you and others have talked about it lately, so why not do something like that so they will at least go to a good home or get a fair price instead of going straight into the trash.
While not a purge, I’ll have a ton of cards to send you at some point this year when I Update all of my binders.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

I for one not long ago posted about this very topic.

hiflew said...

Sounds like someone is having a "birthday mortality" moment. Just take my advice, chill out man. You are still in your twenties. Yes it is important to plan for your finality, but odds are you still have a long way to go. It also doesn't help the rest of us in the blogging community that are several miles ahead of you on the road of life when someone as young as you is having these thoughts.

You may not believe this, but I was literally having the thought of how much it was cost to have my entire collection shipped to you upon my death just yesterday since you are the youngest collector I know. I'm not dying or anything that I know of, it was a random thought. So it's perfectly normal wanting to know that your life's work will not just be shoved in dumpster as you are shoved in the ground.

Fuji said...

I've had this conversation a few times with friends. I would kinda feel bad leaving behind my collection for my brother or best friend to deal with. That's why I've thought about selling some stuff here and there just to thin things out. Hopefully I'm around for at least a few years into my retirement, so that I can have more time to enjoy my collection and list cards at my own pace.

P.S. Those Score stadium shots are really cool.

Zippy Zappy said...

Now I'm wondering if/when I should give my Torrens collection to him/his fam while I still can.

Shlabotnik Report said...

My current re-organizing of my collection has a lot to do with just flat out having too many cards, but there's also an element of not wanting to leave a mess for someone else to deal with.

Great cards, as always, from Shane!

Matt said...

Even factoring in parallels, I'm amazed Okajima has 75 cards...

My post-life collection hope is that I'll have a future grandkid to pass them onto...

CinciCuse Bill said...

Great subject - it’s something we’ll all have to deal with - unless we don’t šŸ˜œ
Great showing of cards here!

The Diamond King said...

Yeah, this is obviously on a lot of collectors minds. I wish I had a child who would be interested, but I don't. Maybe a grandkid someday, but I won't hold my breath on that either. If I make it to where I can see the end coming (not imminent, but when I am 75-80 or so) then I will probably start going to card shows and gifting a few cards to each non-adult I can find.

Jon said...

It's a very rare occurrence for a collection to get tucked away somewhere, and forgotten about. More often than not, someone just keeps accumulating stuff without any forethought as to who will have to deal with their hoard when they're gone, then they die, and some poor family (usually a spouse) is left to deal with something they know nothing about. This scenario almost never ends well either, as the family member usually gets taken advantage of by some unscrupulous dealer, who then profits greatly from the deceased's lack of planning.

Chris said...

I've definitely thought about this recently even though I'm "only" 40, because I have two daughters with no interest in sports or sports cards and, like you, a disjointed collection with no overarching theme. My wife knows the value of certain things I have so if I go first I know she wont be completely in the dark about getting her money's worth. But I am beginning to condense my collection and tie up loose ends just in case.

Seeing the different types of cards you collect gives me an idea to put together another PWE for you. It's great to see someone appreciate parallels and non-star players on the scale that you do.

acrackedbat said...

I estimate 3/4 of my collection is now listed on TCDB. Most of my Tigers are in another database. I have no family to leave my "life" to. My closest friend is also a collector so I've left for her my passwords to everything, sealed within an envelope in my safe. That gives me some peace of mind. Should I meet an early and mysterious demise...please ask my friend where she was that fateful night. LOL.

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