(02-27-2012 09:34 AM)jtraven42 Wrote: I'm still in education; I think you retired at just the right time!
As for collecting, the big secret is there's really no right way or wrong way. Everybody talks about their own systems and methods, but you need to experiment with what works best for you. Here's my advice:
1. Be careful with your cards. Penny sleeves and toploaders are a good idea, taping them in a photo album is not. I like to put my Topps sets in binders and store them on my bookshelf. Many people advise against this because the pages may sag. However, I've never had a problem and I like it. I also, take out my personal favorite cards and put them in the aforementioned penny sleeve/toploader situation.
2. Research prices. Like buying a TV or microwave or couch, shop around before you buy. That includes ebay too. Always check the completed auctions for a cards you're looking to buy. That'll give you a truer price than any Beckett guide.
3. Your Local Hobby Shop charges more, but that can be okay. Usually, these guys are small business owners who're trying to get by in a dying hobby. As long as the price is within a few bucks, I'll buy from him. If you're in this for the long haul, the discounts he gives you down the road will make up for the few more dollars you're spending now.
4. Collect what makes you happy. Lots of times, gents will ask on here, "What should I collect?" To which I always think, "How the poop should I know?" Collect to make yourself happy. I like the Orioles, who suck. And yes, it may be masochistic but I like to own players of my birds because I enjoy it. I'm not trying to make money, I'm trying to make memories. Don't open wax packs to turn a profit, open wax packs becaue it reminds you of summer days when you were 11.
5. Stop when you're not having fun. Baseball card collecting should be fun. When I jumped on this site full time around Christmas, I didn't know what to expect. But I found lots of nice, helpful people; and I've made a bunch of trade to help me complete my vintage sets. I have fun posting on here about cards. I hope you do, too.