The Dark Side of the Rainbow: Player Collecting and 2012 Topps Heritage Baseball
For some collectors, finding enjoyment in the hobby isn't difficult. Others like to present themselves with tough challenges. Many collectors, especially Chromies, love the myriad of shiny colors that a lot of Topps and Bowman sets are filled with. Products like Topps Chrome and Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects offer plenty of colored parallels to pick from, including gold, blue, orange, red and purple. Some collectors even consider themselves super-collectors and love putting together complete 'rainbows' of their favorite players.
Having never attempted such a thing, I thought I would give it a try. However, my first attempt had a bit of a twist. I decided to pass on the multitudes of bright colors that remind me of Easter. Instead, I went with something darker. With the release of 2012 Topps Heritage Baseball, I'm putting together a collection that I'm calling my 'anti-rainbow.'
First I had to find my subject. I had to find a player that had a base card, a Chrome parallel numbered to 1963, a Refractor numbered to 563, and a Black Refractor numbered to just 63. I had 100 players to choose from. Luckily, one of my favorite current players, Hunter Pence, was one of them.
Pence is as unorthodox as collecting an anti-rainbow. The way he chokes up on the bat, runs, throws, guzzles coffee and plays World of Warcraft make him a bit of an oddity both on and off the field. He's also a perfect target for such a challenge. However, after ripping into a couple of 2012 Topps Heritage Baseball hobby boxes and a handful of retail purchases, I still found myself empty-handed. I didn't even have a Hunter Pence base card.
Like a lot of resourceful collectors, I turned to the Internet. I began to rummage through online listings, searching message boards and sending out tweets on Twitter. Fortunately, it didn't take long before fellow hobbyists came to my aid. I was able to make trades and purchases that helped me build a complete base set. I was also able to track down all the Pence cards except the Black Refractor.
To complete my challenge, I turned to eBay. As with any new product that hits, collectors can expect to pay a premium. Several Pence Black Refractors have been listed but early sales saw the card go for more than $30. I had to show a little patience and waited for the secondary market to settle a little before I purchased mine for $15.
There is satisfaction in completing a challenge such as my anti-rainbow. However, as I assume is the case for most collectors, the completion of one challenge probably means the beginning of a new one. Good luck with yours.