10 New Year’s Resolutions for Sports Card Collectors
Trading card collections are like anything else--they can always be improved. The new year is a perfect excuse to reflect on your collection and collecting habits and see how you can make things better. However, unlike struggling with a piece of pricey exercise equipment that will be used a couple of times before being banished to the basement to a sentence of ten years of dust, New Year's Resolutions can be fun. By setting a few goals, you will have a more focused and organized collection that's easy to enjoy and get excited about.
Steps to a Successful New Year's Resolution
To make sure your resolution is successful, start with a goal. What is it you want to achieve? What does success look like? From there, make a plan. How are you going to make your resolution a success? It might help to write it down. Then, put the plan into action. It's time to make things happen. After you get started, reflect on what's working with your resolution and if anything could be improved. Make adjustments and carry on.
New Year's Resolution Suggestions for Card Collectors
Below are ten New Year's resolutions specific to card collectors. All are realistic and meant to help you have more fun collecting in the months ahead. Like anything, limit your goals to something realistic. Also, don't take on too much. Remember, card collecting is meant to be a pastime, not a source of stress.
Finish a Set
We've likely all got them--half-finished base sets wasting away in a box. There are too few cards to dig through them again and too many to simply trade away or pass on to someone else. It's time to get those cards organized and complete the set. You might be surprised how easy it is, even if you don't have a local hobby shop.
Start by making a wantlist. Thumb through the cards you do have and write down the ones you're missing. Take that list to a show, shop or share it with your collecting friends. If you still have holes, there are plenty of collector blogs dedicated to trading. And if that doesn't work, more and more dealers are moving their inventories online.
With a little focus and a sense of urgency, that half-finished set will be complete before you know it.
Branch Out Your Collection
Many of us get set in our collecting ways. It might center on autographs or rookies. Maybe you limit yourself to a specific player, team or sport. If this is you and things are starting to feel a little stale, perhaps it's time to branch out. There are plenty of collecting corners to explore.
Perhaps you can start collecting hometown players or people who went to your alma mater. Build a vintage set from your birth year in a sport you normally ignore. For a greater challenge, focus on rookie cards of athletes who share the same birthday as you. To create a real hunt, hit on an obscure theme like cards showing players signing autographs or cards with players and their kids.
The options here really are endless. Simply reflect on your habits and see how you can make them a bit bigger. Stick with your interests or take your non-collecting interests and see how to give them a hobby spin.
Get Rid of Some Unwanted Cards
Are you running out of space? Is your stack of monster boxes starting to lean? Maybe it's time for a bit of a card purge. Unless you only buy singles, chances are you've got unwanted cards taking up space. Why not get rid of them?
If these cards have value, sell them. Set up a table at a card show and price them aggressively. Every card sold is one less you have to store. Make a bulk listing on Craigslist and free up a lot of space all in one go. Donate them to a local charity and bring smiles to kids who might not be able to collect. Set up a simple blog and get trading.
There's no excuse for having excess cards cluttering up your home. Move them on and you'll be amazed at the new-found space. If your spouse is anything like mine, they'll be a little happier too.
Write a Letter to a Card Manufacturer
Do you have a favorite manufacturer you're loyal to? Is there one you avoid no matter what? At some point this year, write them a letter and give them some feedback.
Although you may not agree with all their marketing methods or like the products they produce, the manufacturers are all striving to do their best. Why? A happy collector is one that spends money. Without feedback, good or bad, it's hard for a company to improve. They may not recognize an issue until it's pointed out.
Likewise, positive feedback let's them celebrate what they're doing right. Not only will it make someone feel good, but it will help them focus their attention on the things that need improvement.
If you do find yourself writing a letter filled with snark and complaints, offer some possible solutions. Although they might not be able to implement them exactly to your liking, it's still valuable feedback that could springboard into something doable.
It's important to mail in a physical letter. Emails are easily overlooked and forgotten. Phone calls allow you to speak with someone, but they might not be able to relay that message to the proper person. Mailing addresses can be found on company websites. If you can't find it, shoot me an email (linked at the end of the article) and I'll be happy to help.
Look for Alternate Card Sources
With so few hobby shops today, many collectors are limited to the latest releases found in the card aisle of their local Walmart or Target. With a little work, there's plenty other places to find cards. Check out local online classified ads on Craigslist or something similar. Flea markets aren't all rusty tools and wicker Barbie furniture. Often you'll find someone with a box or two of cards. Although few moms toss out cards anymore, plenty are more than willing sell their kids' collections at a summer garage sale.
Looking for new card sources is a lot of fun, even if it's not always successful. It adds to the hunt, an integral part of collecting.
Bust a Box of Something New
Brand loyalty is a good thing. Most of us have specific sets we look forward to every year. However, if you're always sampling the same thing, you're probably missing out on great things going on in other parts of the hobby.
Consider busting something different this year, even if it's only a blaster box. We update product information daily and update our new release calendar at least once a week. With the dozens of sets likely to come out in the next 12 months, something's bound to come along that piques your interest that you normally wouldn't buy.
The worst that can happen is that you reaffirm your love for the brands you follow and have some trade bait for cards you do want. Or maybe you'll step outside your collecting comfort zone and find something new to chase.
Read a Hobby Book
It's always good to hone up on the hobby and learn a little more. There are plenty of books out there to help you do this. And they're not all dry, either. We've compiled a list of ten essential sports card books to get you started.
Study Card Backs
Cards are double-sided collectibles. It's amazing how easy it is to forget this. Although some sets seem to forget this as well, there are plenty of others that have a ton of information, stats and quirks. Done well, they're like art. Don't believe me? Check out the highs and lows of Topps baseball card backs over the years.
Sit down one evening every month or two and get to know the other side of your cards. You'll be amazed at the tidbits you learn and appreciate the art of making cards a little more. Plus, simply by looking through your cards with a purpose, you'll appreciate them that much more.
Go to a Card Show
Once upon a time, card shows were like fast food joints. They were everywhere, even when you didn't want them to be. Although the number of shows has waned in recent years, there are still plenty of them out there. Big or small, they're filled with collectors much like yourself.
Go out of your way to find a card show this year. Head on down with an updated wantlist or some goals in mind, browse through the tables, chat with dealers and buyers and get connected with the local collecting community a little more.
This one resolution could help you achieve many others. Looking over this list, going to shows can help fill sets, get rid of unwanted cards and offer a different kind of box to bust. Quarter bins are also great for flipping through cards to find random themes some collectors might target.
Organize Your Collection
This is a big one for any collector. A disorganized collection is one that can't be enjoyed as much as one that's filed away nicely. Card clutter adds stress and, if left unchecked, can lead to some wanting to leave the hobby. Keeping your card collection organized and tidy helps your collecting goals remain clear. Although organization means different things to different people, we have an in-depth guide using one tested method.
None of us would be collecting if we didn't enjoy it. But that doesn't mean we can't improve our collections. Agree with the concept of New Year's resolutions or not, they do offer a great starting point to make your card collecting habits better.
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