I'm 31 years old as of this writing, which means that yours truly is coming up on 25 years of collecting (where does the time go?).
I don't recall when I got my first pack of cards, but I'm pretty sure I was probably around six or seven. Unlike most collectors, I've never taken a break from hoarding cards since then - I collected all through my pre-teens and high school - and you better believe it's still going strong today. Collecting is still the most powerful addiction I've had the pleasure of coming across in my time on this earth.
But that's not to say I haven't noticed a shift in my attitudes as I've gotten older, and specifically since I've edged into my early 30s. There was a time not that long ago where I could almost literally devote an entire day to organizing my cards, looking at my cards, blogging about my cards, etc. etc. I simply don't have the energy, time, or brain space to do that anymore (I haven't blogged in three weeks, ugh!). I got a little foggy after putting away cards for 45 minutes last night.
Certain things that would've sounded weird to a younger version of my collecting self suddenly don't seem so far-fetched.
Case in point: upgrading!
I never used to upgrade cards - why would I need another copy when I already have this one? It didn't matter if I came across a better-looking version later - the original was my copy, and that was that. But while I don't specifically seek out upgrades these days, I'm not altogether averse to the idea, and I've found myself doing it more than I ever thought I would.
An excellent package I received from blogging extraordinaire Greg of "Night Owl Cards" illustrates that. It's not every day someone sends you a surprise '67 Topps Joe Morgan - bad news was, I already had it. But the good news is - and don't tell this to my younger self - Greg actually upgraded my copy (on the right) which was woefully miscut.
I think most of us would agree that my new properly-centered Morgan just looks better, and while I was by no means disappointed with my old copy it's a general upshoot for my collection.
But I'm still nowhere near picky about condition, and that's a good thing when it comes to Kellogg's cards because a good amount of the ones I have are cracked.
I seem to mind the trademark Kellogg's Cracks less than just about every collector out there (makes them exponentially cheaper), but once again, I'm not averse to upgrading should the time come.
The Perez & Fergie (my Perez had even more cracks!) were both better than the ones I currently had sitting in my binders, and the Sutter & Clark aren't upgrades because they're new to me, woo-hoo!
I, like Greg, am fascinated by the world of alternate-universe '77 OPCs where the cards are completely different than what appeared in '77 Topps.
Greg dropped a few into this trade package, and while none of these four dudes are Binder Guys, they're worth keeping for curiosity's sake.
Greg is a more focused collector than I could ever hope to be, but he's long been a pro at sprinkling some treasured randomness into his trade packages.
(Send me all your Gabby Hartnett cards!)
Snazzy Cubs parallels are always welcome here.
I'll forever have a soft spot for Turkey Red - I bought so, so many packs of it as a teenage collector - they're just neat old-timey cards and man do those black parallels pop.
Have refractors gotten a little out of hand these days? Yes.
Do I still want them? Also yes. This grand finale from Greg's wonderful trade package is liable to blind you - it's officially called (checks notes) a Magenta Speckle Refractor - but it's still a whopping addition to my binders, and a pretty good indicator that certain things haven't changed for me in this hobby, and never will.
I loved shiny baseball cards when I was eight, I loved them in high school, and of course I love them now!