Would you, could you actually destroy a card?


By Andrew Tolentino | Beckett Media | Commentary

Among the cheesy holiday cards I’ve received (and sent out) over these past few weeks, one not-so-cheesy piece of mail from Beckett Facebook contest winner Lee Patton continues to make me think the most.

Patton, who won the opportunity to destroy my very own Vince Young card after a lopsided Red River Rivalry game, sent me a thank you card and explained his position. “I watched your heartfelt video and decided to send your card back. Which I really don’t like destroying cards. Just goes against my collecting nature.”

To my surprise, he included not only the original Young card I kissed goodbye, but another single to add to my collection.

Was  this a trick? Should I have expected both cards to suddenly vanish into thin air and then see a hologram of Patton laughing and saying “nanner, nanner boo boo?”

Thankfully not. Patton’s simple, honest explanation made me wonder. “I really don’t like destroying cards. Just goes against my collecting nature.”

It doesn’t seem too far fetched for a collector to deface or destroy a trading card, does it? Every now and then, a single  slips through the cracks. Commons can occasionally be seen in trashcans at card shows.  Last year, Panini brought back  Dare to Tear jumbos — which must be ripped if a collector wants to see what’s inside — with the Zenith brand revival. I’ve seen seen singles re-purposed as wrapping paper for sweeter hobby presents.

But then again, and in most cases it seems, cardboard sacrifices are seen as sacrilegious. In a recent story about collectible Heisman-voting incentives, Beckett writer Susan Lulgjuraj received a great deal of reader flack for tossing out a Robert Griffin III promo card.

But does that make her any less of a collector? Does destroying a card, for whatever the reason may be, make anyone less of an enthusiast?

While I am happy to have my coveted Young card back in my possession, I’m not going to lie. I was actually excited and entertained by the thought of a collector duct-taping it to a potato, setting it on fire and launching it into a body of water (Patton’s winning concept). When I saw the winner’s name on the envelope, I originally expected to see something much more like the image above than what I actually received as seen below.

Thankfully, for the sake of my Longhorn collection, Patton acted out of kindness and genuine respect for cardboard. I truly appreciate his generosity and decision to refrain.  However, I wouldn’t have accused him of being any less of a collector for taking me up on my offer.

For some, it’s a matter of principle. Destroying a card goes against the nature of collecting. For others, it’s all in good fun, and there’s no harm depending on the scenario. In either school of thought, it comes down to collector opinion.

Which camp are you in?

Would you ever destroy a card?

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Have you ever destroyed or tossed a card away?

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  1. XstreamINsanity 19 December, 2011 at 10:45

    Personally, I could never destroy a card. I’ve very rarely ever thrown them away (only if my kids got a hold of one and it’s no longer salvageable. :) However, I’ve decided (I know it’s not throwing it away, but it feels like it) to give all of my cards that I have for trade away to Goodwill (not for a tax write off either) and start over in what I have for trade. I figure some kid may enjoy my cards (nothing extravagant in there) for a really cheap price. I know the first cards I got was a $1 loose pack of really common commons. Now, I do know that some of the kids will mistreat them and that alone makes me feel like I’m throwing them away. And I also wish I had the time and energy to scan all of my cards so I could upload them to Beckett. But rather than thinking I have an impossible mountain to climb, I’m just going to start fresh. I have two blasters of 2008-09 SkyBox that I’m going to open for Christmas and I think my dad sent me a box of cards, so the start from fresh will start right away. :)

  2. Sandman 19 December, 2011 at 10:47

    wow, the writing at beckett has really gone down hill the past couple of years. why is the magazine even in business anymore? i used to buy the mag just for the product previews and reviews, the q and a section, etc.. i don’t even care about the price guide since it’s completely useless. so now another magazine has hit the skids. will beckett follow the lead of tuff stuff? they should. it’s time to go digital with the price guide for those who actually think it has meaning, and end the awful and embarassing article topics and articles

  3. David Johnson 19 December, 2011 at 11:04

    I remember back in the 80s that Beckett magazines used to have a page in each issue or so with modified cards in it. Cards where someone used a sharpie to make a picture look funny, or white-out to slightly change a name of a player. I remember doing this to a bunch of cards, some of which I probably still have somewhere. This was one of the fun things to do to cards as a kid, and something I wish was brought back into the hobby as right now I really don’t see many kids really playing with and enjoying cards.

  4. Matthew Gilman 19 December, 2011 at 12:23

    Even if the card is worth 1 cent, and is in bad condition already if I bought it that way, I could never, ever toss it away. Its against collecting. Someone out there would find value to that card. My house could become flooded with bad cards (a card hoarder i would become) before i destroy one. Even if someone handed me cash for double the cards value. I couldn’t do it. Sorry people. All cards have a place in this world. Someone, some where out there would love the card you have thought of destroying.

  5. JeffB 19 December, 2011 at 12:48

    When the Dodgers were playing the A’s in the 1988 World Series, the A’s had lost the first two games & were headed into Oakland for Game 3.
    I figured the A’s needed some extra mojo, so I took a 1988 Topps Dodgers team set & crunched each player in my hand individually, taking extra time mutilating Hatcher & Hershiser. Finally, the entire set was burned in my fireplace…
    The A’s won game 3 but lost the next two, & I had to sit there, in person, & watch the Dodgers celebrate on the field. Glad I got to see baseball history, but very painful to watch.

  6. chrisolds 19 December, 2011 at 12:59

    Sandman, have you actually *read* a Beckett magazine lately?

    (Nothing says this is going in a mag … oh, and we DO have content that runs online-only, you know … )

  7. XstreamINsanity 19 December, 2011 at 13:04

    @Sandman, the price guides on Beckett are already digital, it’s called the OPG. However, you have to be a paying member for it.

    @tolentinotown, I don’t think this is where Sandman was going, but I’ll put in some info I think he/she meant and some other things I know others have wanted to see. One thing I miss about buying the Beckett magazine (I won’t use the OPG and the magazine, kind of redundant) is the articles with the box breakdown and collation, the crazy pulls, etc.. I used to look at the Box info the most, trying to decide what box to get because I wanted to get most of the set rather than need to buy 2, 3, or 4 boxes. I wish they had that same information on here. However, I know Beckett Magazine and Beckett.com are mere cousins that share the items database. But it would be nice to go to a product page, see what the box collation was, what the names of the inserts are in the product (that’s in the OPG, but on the product page it’d be nice too), what the odds are of pulling each insert (almost like the back of some of the packs), etc. I know a lot of people have been wanting to see the same content that is in the magazine on here as well. Now, we do get box breaks on here, but even there, we don’t see what the collation was. It’d also be nice if we could download in PDF form the product flier (like here: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/dcscards_2184_20733770 ), stuff like that. Those used to be in the magazine too I believe.

  8. tolentinotown 19 December, 2011 at 16:42

    Thanks for your thorough feedback, Xstream. We’re doing our damnedest to bring a decent mix of material to the table. I always welcome constructive criticism, and I can guarantee that we’ll be taking your suggestions into account when prepping our titles and developing online efforts.

    From what I can gather, it seems like the first step is to post more basic information about box breaks.

  9. chrisolds 19 December, 2011 at 17:04

    Xstream: Typically, if you read our online previews and stuff in our magazines, between them you will find what you are looking for in many instances. (However, we’re not just going to be a repository for sellsheets, either … not yet.)

  10. Greg 19 December, 2011 at 17:05

    Who are the nine people who have never tossed a card out? I can imagine we will see you on hoarders soon.

  11. XstreamINsanity 19 December, 2011 at 23:03

    @tolentinotown – Thanks, hope to see it. Maybe one day in the future there will be a digital magazine, so we can “flip” through the pages (I can provide links to sites that do something like that if you need it). :)

    @chris – I agree the site shouldn’t be used as a repository for sell sheets, but even links would help (say to Panini’s website for their official product overview or something of the sort). By providing as much information as possible (in multiple ways if possible) is one way to help ensure Beckett stays (or gets back to in some people’s opinion) back to being the hobby’s backbone of information. I don’t know if Beckett has a twitter account, but I wouldn’t doubt that some time in the future there being tweets to update us when pricing is available online for a particular product (I used to see tkaplan update the forums when pricing becomes available, but I haven’t seen that since he’s left, at least not in basketball). Believe me, I talk to Bill as much as I can trying to give him any idea to help make Beckett as good as it can be and I offer my services whenever possible.

  12. XstreamINsanity 19 December, 2011 at 23:05

    And I’m sorry for taking this so far off topic. But while I’m at it, one more question (and you both may not have an answer for it, that’s fine). Is there a reason why the manufacturers do not provide digital images of the cards seeing as how I’m sure their images are stored somewhere for printing purposes? I would think that would be the easiest possible way of updating the images on the site for reference. Hope all is well and hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

    • tolentinotown 20 December, 2011 at 08:29

      @Xstream (re: manufacturers and card images) This has been and unfortunately continues to be a point of frustration for us at Beckett and our loyal readership. I would love nothing more than to see the database filled with manufacturer images, just from a reference standpoint. But you’re right, I don’t have a real answer as to why card companies can’t provide us with the scans/digital files for each card. The only thing I can speculate is that the encoding process would be a massive undertaking even if they did send them to us.

  13. chrisolds 20 December, 2011 at 10:15

    Xstream: You’re talking to the two people whose No. 1 responsibilities are to generate content — i.e. stories — for the website, not manage the database or add images to it. I think we’re crossing the streams a bit here. It’s also a balance between “wants” and realities of economics.

    Beckett has explored doing an iPad magazine in the past. Beckett has access to infinitely more cards and images than those that are on the site. However, both have to be business models that make sense to pursue them. You can’t pay someone to scan cards all day long without there being a tangible return on that investment. (There’s no proof that having scans of every 19XX Topps card means more traffic and, in turn, revenue to justify the labor.)

    There are representative images (collected by our database guys) for each set’s inclusions that we have cards for. I am not sure whether they are all being uploaded on Beckett.com just yet or not. Those are the images that appear in the price guides as needed. The card companies probably don’t keep extensive digital libraries — or at least not beyond the last few years — of cards. Why do I say that? They often come to us asking about images. Once a product is done, they have already turned their attention to the several others needing attention to get out the door. I doubt they have a full-time archivist on staff, which was probably more common in the past. (Card companies also don’t necessarily design and print at the same site as home offices — some do, some don’t.)

    As for sellsheets, an additional reason you don’t see them on here is that they’re inevitably ALWAYS incorrect and often change between their release and the product release months later. The most important info will be in preview stories. The final info — the odds and info on the Beckett.com checklists — are NOT taken from prelim checklists and sellsheets. That info is verified with the actual product by our analysts.

    Beckett has an automated Twitter account that could be used for announcing new pricing — good idea — however, both of us aren’t responsible for that information as part of our No. 1 priority or even know when it is placed on the site. (Different staffs.) I, personally, am regularly offering info (and more) on Twitter daily with what I do — my address is on every story I post.

  14. XstreamINsanity 20 December, 2011 at 13:18

    @Chris – Yeah, I just followed you on twitter (@XstreamINsanity). And I know that there was a chance many of these questions weren’t within your duties, but that you might either be able to pass along the information to whomever could use it or give me their contact information. The reason I asked about the images was because I know that when Upper Deck was doing NBA, you could go to their checklist and they had almost every base card in the system (with an Upper Deck watermark) as well as some of the inserts, but nothing with GU, AU or numbered. And I know that more pictures doesn’t necessarily mean more traffic, but it’s that part of the business model where you say “Well, let’s take a jump and hope it works,” but in today’s economy I wouldn’t blame any company for not taking many jumps. I’ve just always looked at Beckett as the go to reference for everything and want to help get it there anyway I can. Thank you guys for taking the time out and answering my questions, and again, sorry for going so far off track.

  15. joseph g 28 December, 2011 at 14:30

    There are three types of individuals in the trading card realm. You have the collector, the investor and the hoarder. There are also buyers, sellers and traders, but lets leave that for another topic shall we. The collector usually collects his/her favorite team or player and will trade if need be. The investor is on the hunt for whats hot, the next trend and what will be of value in the future. Now the “card hoarder” is someone who buys boxes and boxes and packs and packs and will not give anything up..not even the wrapper. The market has changed in the last 20 years or so, but the essence of collecting remains the same (depending on who you’re talking to). Lets be honest, who really need 1,000 copies of Blaine Beatty’s 90′ Fleer RC?? Or any other common player of any year, in any sport for that matter?? People get way too nostalgic. I’ve thrown away hundreds of thousands of cards from no-name, common players over my 30 years of collecting, especially between the 70’s to the mid 90’s. Why would I want to hold on to a player’s card, who never produced on the field..never played a single major league game..only played one or two mediocre seasons and retires. That’s not the art of collecting…that’s hoarding.

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