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Collecting Like a House Cat

October 1, 2012

Collector's Chronicles, Features

I’ve been collecting, mostly hockey with a little football splashed in, for the better part of 20 years.  Which is pretty damn incredible considering I’m only 26 years old (OH GOD, SO OLD).  I’ve been in the hobby through a ton of changes and innovations, from the rise of serial numbering to the jersey/autograph-per-pack days.  I’ve shifted my collecting habits more times than I can count, from set to set and a few different player collections in between.  But for the better part of the last year or two, I’ve found my niche.

I love me some shinies.

Like house cats around the world, I am fascinated by things that shine.  Refractors, cards that change color depending upon the lighting, usually turn me catatonic. I have so many projects currently ongoing, there is no earthly way I will finish them anytime soon barring a lottery win or a Walter White-like career change. And I have many more projects lined up the second I lose interest, which is always a threat because I have the attention span of a hummingbird.

My sweet spot, if it could even be called that, is the area between 1994 and 2001.  Some of the best looking insert sets ever came out during that time period — Hart Hopefuls, Totally CertifiedSelect Mirror Gold — and I literally can’t stop finding sets I hope to add to my collection.

Part of the allure, as I stated earlier, is that I am essentially akin to a house cat.  I’m drawn by the shine of these cards; the sharp design and bright colors turn me into a drooling mess. I roll on my back and bat at the air, frustrated that I cannot capture the shinies.  No, seriously, I love the designs back before the days of the jersey card.  Take a look at the designs for Flair Blue Ice, Topps Gold Label, and Zenith Z-Teams.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Another big thing for me is player selection.  There are 10,000 products out now of the same players.  I can get a Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin card now anytime I want.  But I love going through old nineties sets and seeing players of yester-year.  “Holy crap, Pavel Brendl?! That guy was TERRIBLE. Ivan Novoseltsev really lived up to the hype, huh?”  It’s so much fun for me to see some of these names and laugh at how relevant/popular they once were.  People used to go apeshit over Steve Kariya cards.  Who? Exactly.

As a player collector, it provides variety. I’ve been an on-and-off collector of Peter Forsberg and a fairly hardcore follower of Derek Roy for a long time now. Sometimes, you just get sick of seeing your player.  Set collecting breaks that monotony.  You get different designs and tons of player variation.  Not to mention it’s nice to not have to deal with the maddening parallel variations that come with the player collector territory.

Lastly, it holds sentimental value for me.  I got my start collecting with my dad and have many great memories thanks to that. In addition, my absolute best friend on earth and I became friends through a mutual fascination with cards.  Lots of great memories of riding bikes up to the card shop to buy cheap packs and rifle through binders in hopes of finding our favorite players.  I know those days are gone but I cherish them and collecting always reminds me of that.  /sap

Collecting holds so many possibilities that there is no right or wrong. Being able to go back in time and grab cards that I loved as a kid but couldn’t afford brings me a ton of joy and keeps me occupied.

And like any good house cat: my attention isn’t easily earned.

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