Advice for Returning Sports Card Collectors from Other Collectors
Like a lot of things in life, collecting sports cards sometimes requires a break. Interests change, life circumstances evolve — there are lots of reasons why it happens.
But breaks are a reprieve. They come to an end. And when they do, collectors find themselves coming back to the hobby. If you’ve been away for more than a year or two, the card collecting landscape has changed. If you’ve been gone for a decade or more, a lot of things are probably not recognizable and it might seem overwhelming.
One thing that hasn’t is the fact that there’s still a massive community out there ready to help and offer advice.
Recently on Twitter, I posed the question, “What’s the one piece of advice you’d give a returning collector?”
Here are a bunch of the responses:
It’s simple to me, collect what you’d like to keep. Don’t buy expecting to sell. Then, you should never be disappointed.
— Bean’s Ballcard Blog (@beansbcardblog) November 14, 2018
Be willing to adapt. Coming back in to a hobby that is drastically different can be overwhelming. For most of us, if not all, it takes 2-3 years (if not more) to define what your new PC will be. And even then, it’s not set in stone…
— Sports Antagonist/Card Economist (Ben) (@ourtradingcards) November 14, 2018
Stick to singles. Collect what you like. Set a budget. Don’t try to impress anyone. There is someone out there who has deeper pockets
— Jacob Stephens (@jstephens2482) November 14, 2018
And have an organization plan, but be ready to change when the direction of your collection changes. Its a slippery slope to having stacks of cards everywhere!
— Topps Living Stats (@ToppsLivingStat) November 14, 2018
Pick one player, collect that player. Jordan, Jeter, Brady, or someone else of their status. You will NEVER finish and you will never say “man, there is nothing to pick up”. Those players also have price ranges for any budget
— TheWalkingDeadSaga (@ThoseBackPages) November 14, 2018
Stick to singles in the secondary market; the away from packs.
— Cardboard Icons (@cardboardicons) November 14, 2018
To borrow from U2, “Don’t let the bastards drag you down.”
Whether it’s negativity from other collectors, the sheer number of different items that come out every day (seemingly), or what have you, do what @Pgn3540 says — figure out what you like and collect it.
— Tony L. (@OffHiatusBBC) November 14, 2018
Have fun and don’t jump in the deep end. This hobby is not a race. Explore….and don’t be afraid to “make a mistake”. Heck, I still buy the odd item that I think “Why did I buy that??” 😂
— MHCO Brett (@bamlinden) November 14, 2018
— Fred C Harris™️ (@FredCHarris) November 14, 2018
Collect what you enjoy and makes you happy, regardless of value or potential value. I still like some of the old wax packs from when I was a kid.
— Brian Peloza (@BrianPeloza) November 14, 2018
Absolutely set boundaries up front, and determine how much you are going to spend. This hobby has eaten a lot of people alive. Enjoy the heck out of it though. We have a GREAT hobby with lots of great people!
— TanManBaseballFan (@tanmanbbfan) November 14, 2018
DON’T do it.
— Brian (@patpdude) November 14, 2018
You gave some great answers.. And I would add>>>Just have fun and if it’s not fun don;t do it…lol
— Larry Robidoux (@mrdsgrumpy) November 14, 2018
Figure out why you’re collecting and what you like to collect.
Thrill of the chase?
I think once you’ve figured that part out you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you like & where to put ur $
— Nacho Nordberg (@Pgn3540) November 14, 2018
Figure out what you enjoy in the hobby and do that. If it’s not fun then you’re doing it wrong.
— nick (@vossbrink) November 14, 2018
Collect what you like ie specific release, sport, etc….don’t do it for reselling (you will be about 90% dissatisfied)
— Luca 2️⃣ 🇦🇱 (@Bustaferrari) November 14, 2018
Keep your collection focused. Pick a player or set to collect.
— Cory Furlong (@iamfur72) November 15, 2018
Figure out your lane, don’t be afraid to unload things that don’t fit your collection, and use @CheckOutMyCards but leave Carter Hart and Nolan Patrick’s cards alone LOL.
— phillypuckfan (@phillypuckfan) November 14, 2018
Collect what you like regardless of trends; if you have a Limited budget set aside, stay focused rather jumping all over the place. Also, something is only “worth” what someone is willing to pay for it #collect
— Mark Del Franco (@delspacefranco) November 14, 2018
Prepare to be disappointed. Nothing is like it was when it was more fun.
— Boobie Maine (@robbyt86) November 14, 2018
Set clear collecting goals from the start, and do research on new products before spending money. Watch break videos so you know what to expect from that product.
— Waxtopia (@waxtopia) November 15, 2018
Buy singles if you’re planning to collect just one player or team … buy wax if you’re just looking to build a varied collection or looking for hits
— Jameis1of1 (@jameis1of1) November 15, 2018
Don’t pay Friends and Family on PayPal and don’t up charge someone for wanting to pay Goods and Services. Check sold listings use your resources before asking what something is worth. If you buy a card pay promptly if you sell a card ship promptly. Have fun and enjoy yourself.
— Justin Millham (@jmichael8787) November 15, 2018
1. Set a price limit
2. Select a specific player and/or team to collect
3. Buy hobby or retail packs not boxes (find out what sets you like before committing yourself to set building)
4. Sell or trade the rest (returning value)…
— Mike B: A Star Wars Story (@ShadowsOfEmpire) November 15, 2018
Pick your team or player. Pick your years. Buy what you want. I love ripping packs but it’s a labor of love not investment. If I want a specific card I go find it and buy it.
— John M. Guilfoil (@johnguilfoil) November 14, 2018
Collect what you like, but be conscious of what others like.Even if you plan to keep all of your cards, life is full of surprises. You may need to turn your collection back into cash to respond to an emergency, and if so, you’ll be glad to have cards that others value monetarily.
— Brian Hayes (@linguaspcards) November 14, 2018
Scope your collection. Don’t just collect everything
— Jason Mott (@moxxjason) November 14, 2018
When I got back in, I was only collecting my favorite team. Then I branched out as I got into it. Sticking with just one team allowed me to stick my toe in and then let it grow organically as I became more interested.
— Bill Strong (@nyiforlife) November 14, 2018
You don’t need all of that.
— Gallagher’s Armpit (@FightHobby) November 14, 2018
Buy a few packs and see what strikes you.
— Steven Judd (@CardboardLifer) November 14, 2018
FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS. Find one thing (player, team, year) and work on that. Waaaaay too much out there and it’s easy to get spread thin.
— TIM (@MaxxxPower68) November 14, 2018
Collect what you like! If you like junk wax, fine, enjoy that! If you like a certain player or team, buy singles. Just enjoy it.
— Shane Salmonson (@ShaneSalmonson) November 14, 2018
Collect with your heart, not your wallet. Collect based around what you enjoy versus what other collectors find valuable. In 20 years, if everything that you have collected is worthless from a monetary standpoint, at least it will still have meaning.
— Big Time Breaks (@bigtimebreaks) November 14, 2018
Decide up front if you’re here for fun or to get rich. Know the second is a huge gamble with a very high ante. The first is easy. Find a community, learn a lot, know for every $100 card in a holder there is a raw one almost as nice for $30.
— Heavy J (@HeavyJ28) November 15, 2018
I think I would say as someone who recently got back into it, collect a player or players/team and if you like breaking packs pick your product and stick with that product or products.
— Dave-N-Fwood (@nottelinguagain) November 14, 2018
— Andy Van Kay (@Andy_Van_Kay) November 15, 2018
As others have said, find what you like and do that. But, always leave a little room for serendipity.
— Jeffrey Carlson (@Carlsonjok) November 15, 2018
— jeff L. (@SkaggsJeff) November 15, 2018
Buy the card not the grade
— WhiteSox_History (@ChiSox_History) November 14, 2018
Stick to one thing, like I’m a base Rookie Collector. All the others get traded sold to work on my PC. Don’t try to chase everything you’ll lose your mind
— Breakingwaxcollectibles (@breakingwax47) November 14, 2018
Stick to 1 player for pc. 1 set.
— ChuckTysowski (@F570cat) November 14, 2018
Collect what you like and buy what you can afford! Support the LCS and try to attend at least 1 show a year. Most importantly have fun!
— Bill Enck (@camdensgoneyard) November 14, 2018
Pick a player!
— Mark Tower (@stonejugsoccer) November 14, 2018
One more piece of advice — if you’re looking for a community online, you just scrolled through a lot of folks you can connect with on Twitter. It’s one of several places you can find other collectors online if a friendly card shop isn’t an option (and even if it is).
What’s a piece of advice you’d give a returning collector? Feel free to comment below or tag us on Twitter @beckettmedia.