I have been a Topps collector for many years, decades in fact. Collecting in the 70's was based on how many packs the parents would bring home on their occasional trip to a local store. That got me through and I'm thankful that I still have every one of those cards even if they were abused, or loved depending on your viewpoint. Dependency at its finest. I dropped off the radar all together in 1980 until I went back to it in 1982. Not much of a span but to collect 1980 and 1981 Topps cards wasn't always easy at that time. Collecting in the 80's through the mid 90's seemed to be too easy as you could find cards every store you walked into. It was fun as a teenager moving into adulthood. Prices were within reason and you could complete a set if you worked on it. You weren't really thinking of how much money you were throwing away to get those last 7 cards needed to complete that 1986 Topps set.
Once more and more companies joined the fray and the insert craze began, the completionist (if there is such a word?) that I am started to unravel. How could one possibly keep up? Topps begat Fleer and Donruss who begat Score who begat Upper Deck and Bowman who begat Leaf who begat Stadium Club, Ultra and Studio......the Genesis of the downward spiral that was the 90's of card collecting. Early on I thought I could manage them all. Who was I fooling? College had ended and kids started entering my life. Who has time for all of that?
So again the collection had it's time (very little in reality) on the side. Over time I found a way to dedicate time to collecting without putting too much strain on the rest of life. "Back in the day", there seemed to be a card show every weekend and to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon wasn't obtrusive. The quotes in that last sentence speak of my experience. I refuse to use the term age there as it is difficult to accept the number of years in which I have existed. It just can't be reality can it? I managed to grow the collection one card show at a time.
The millennium hit and so did the $20 box of cards at your local big box store. For $20, you get your fix and live to tell about it. Sometimes that hit was a dud and sometimes life altering packs make there way into your hands. I was fortunate (or maybe not depending on who's viewpoint your looking at) enough to get a big hit in a box of 1999 Upper Deck Ionix.
After that, the completionist in me set in again. Ebay became my biggest friend in collecting. There was no way I could complete the POH 500 HR Set by opening packs. I had to purchase each one until the set was complete. I don't believe it is complete today as I may be missing a couple...Man Ram and the Big Hurt come to mind, but at the time prior to the "alternative substance" group became part of this once elite subset, they were all mine. Complete and accounted for. But then...3000 Hit Club, Yankees Signature single, double and triple signature cards, Master Collection........Ahhh!!!! More Ebay, more buying. Upped Deck was killing the bank account.
After that settled down, it was time to go back to collecting sets. I didn't abandon it altogether it just wasn't the focal point for a few years. So there are some lean years in my collection that I wish I would have given more attention to at the time, circa 2000-2003.
I may have stated this before, maybe not, but I now try to focus on the Topps product line and not even all of it. I love the Topps Heritage line but pay no attention to the Archives line. Go figure, right? I have zero interest and I mean zero even in the relic/autos of the Panini brand of unlicensed cards. It just doesn't do anything for me. I don't over indulge in packs and or boxes that exceed the $100 threshold. I am interested in collecting cards, not necessarily in getting the big hit by spending $50 on a pack of cards that will have 3 cards numbered less than 50 in hopes that I get that 1 of 1 that will hit Ebay to pay for the last 35 purchases that have yielded nothing more than a Hall of Fame autograph card numbered to 49. There may be only 49 of that card, but there are 49 different auto cards numbered to 49 for that same player in the same year. How do you put 9 cards of those three packs into an 800 count box to fit the organizational structure that is - my collection. Not going to happen.
So I am now not an Ebay daily, hourly, minute by minute watcher. I'll wander over once in a blue moon to see what's grabbing my attention on those saved searches that haven't changed in five to ten years. I'll make a purchase from the new LCS in my town every now and again too. The camaraderie and friendships gained doing this blog and trading to fill my, and others, want lists far outweigh the hours spent staring at the monitor watching the seconds tick by on that "I need it now" auction purchase. So thanks to those that read my blog and especially those that continue to help a brotha out with filling the gaps of the ever growing want list on this blog. That want list is still lacking in many lists but if you get a chance to view it and think we could swing a trade, let me know. I'm always open to helping you out too.