What do you do? Money vs. love?

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4.90 star(s)
Jul 20, 2007
St. Louis, MO
I'm here in Saint Louis, MO. I have been a basketball fan since I was 6-7 years old. I even bought a box of 86-7 Fleer for $5 at a card show in 1988 (wish I still had it.....long story).

Anyway, I'm sitting here in 2009. I've spent the last 15 years collecting cards of NBA players (or NBA draftee's that didn't make the team) who played high school basketball in the St. Louis Metro area. Steve Stipanovich, LaPhonso Ellis, Chris Carrawell, Loren Woods, Jahidi White, Larry Hughes, Darius Miles, Ryan Robertson, David Lee, Robert Archibald..........

I have this massive group of cards, and I've spent money acquiring them. My son realy isn't interseted in the hobby (but he's five. Give him 3-4 years, and he'll catch the bug). I'm just wondering if I'm doing the right thing. Other than Lee, Hughes, and Miles, the other guys are in common bins all across the country. Half the guys at the local card shows couldn't even name half of these guys, and I don't fault them.

If I give up on it now, though, I won't get anything for 80% of this stuff. If I keep collecting this stuff, it's money spent on things that will not ever increase in value. I'm at a crossroads. I've got #ed/10, 25, etc. g/u and autos of guys that I actually played ball with. But I've also got to be fiscally responsible, which includes what I do with my disposable income. I should be sticking to my Century Legends Master set, or hell, even buying stocks instead of cardboard pictures.

So is it money or passion? I'm not so passionate about it that quitting will affect me. At the same time, though, I have fun collecting it. More and more, though, I feel like I am collecting the wrong thing. I have an obligation to try to collect something that may actually sell down the line for more than I paid for it. I could feel the same passion collecting NBA HOF rookie cards. The only thing I could think of doing with my NBA players from STL collection is donating it to the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame, or something like that.

Give me your opinion, if you don't mind. Heck, if you read this term paper I just wrote, you might have similar experiences, or may be able to gleam some insight that I have not thought of. Thanks for reading.
I'd say, if you can afford it and the money will bring you pleasure, go for it. There is always something BETTER to spend money on, but we only go around once.

Buying something that will have excellent resale potential will probably require more initial investment as well. So, you end up spending more perhaps, with a CHANCE the stuff you buy will appreciate and be easily sellable later on. You'd be better off with a more typically traded commodity/stock/etc rather than a speciality item like trading cards.

I am in the same boat to some extent. Many of my theme collections are catered to my interests without regard to value and popularity. Steve Garvey is a prime example. I drive the prices on most things Garvey. If I drop out of the bidding, the prices drop dramatically! What does that leave me when it's time to sell? A HUGE LOSS PROBABLY! I collect Dodger stuff, which is a popular team, but I also like to bargain hunt, so I don't always have the best stuff in the best condition. That will hurt my resale potential. I collect autographs, but have mostly non-certified vintage cards. I try to stick with known players, but have some odd stuff too. I have added certified cards too recently in more quantity, but again look for bargains for the most part.

Point being with me, I don't necessary plan to reap the benefits of my collection financially, myself. Maybe the family will down the road. Maybe not. As long as the money I spend doesn't put our lifestyle or even lives in jeopardy, I feel good about collecting for the fun of it.
very simple : stick with your locals collection.....regardless of its monetary value , if you do part with with it , one day you WILL regret it....

for me it's anyone with ANY ties to the university of south carolina or newberry (the town , the high school , or the college) plus MOST others with any ties to the entire state of south carolina....some have decent "value" while others will never be more than common-bin material but they all have meaning to me ...doesn't matter if it's a 1/1 rookie patch/auto of a future HOFer or a mass-produced classic 4-sport free-agent-signee-who-never-was ....

if one collects only for future monetary gains , i dare say (IMHO) that person is neither a true collector or a very wise person (one can be strictly an investor and look to profit on everything , but to me that person is not exactly what i call a collector)....collect what you like and enjoy - IF it rises in value , then consider that a bonus....

also , look at the bright side (possibly?) of the fact that many of the locals you collect are not exactly the highest priced items out there : you can afford to pick up some very nice and rare items for pennies ....who's to say a jordan/lebron dual logoman auto is any better than a jahidi white plate ? it's all subjective and if you LIKE what you collect then you're ahead of the game....

just my 2.5 cents....
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Collect what you enjoy. Keep it simple.

Nobody KNOWS what the future will bring in the hobby or anywhere else. There were a lot of books, magazines, articles, newsletters, etc aimed at sports card collectors and how to help them collect for maximum return. These were written by people directly involved with the hobby and people who made their living covering the hobby. Most of that advice wasn't worth the price. I have in front of me a book from 1993 called '101 Sports Card Investments' it lists 55 baseball, 15 basketball, football, and hockey cards plus 'a secret sleeper card which may some day have you singing in the rain when it's time to cash it in.' It was pretty much telling you to collect Rookie/early cards of HOF'ers, future HOF'ers, and the big stars to maximize your profit. If you took their advice, you'd have a nice pile of cards that you could sell today for a fraction of what you paid then. The #1 baseball card tip? 1975 Topps Gary Carter. They thought it had big upside at the $50 it was selling for back then, which had gone up from $35 two summers earlier. Football was 1978 Tony Dorsett $30 then, down from $50 in 1991, basketball was 1981-82 Topps Kevin McHale $15, down from $17.50 in 1991, hockey was the 1985-86 OPC Lemieux $375 in 1993, up from $125 in 1991. The 'sleeper'? 1986 Donruss 'the Rookies' Wally Joyner at $3. It also suggested buying 1974 Winfield at $200, 72 Fisk at $135, 1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett at $50 among others. Seemed like pretty sound advice at the time, but nobody counted on the internet/ebay, the GU/auto market, and the hobby shrinking to a fraction of its size.

I've got monster boxes full of stuff I'd be lucky to get $3 for and that includes the monster box that I PAID $3 for , copy paper boxes bulging out with 1988 Topps commons. Looking at all the money spent can get you a little queasy at times, but it's the fun that we need to focus on.
I learned a long time ago to collect for love. There is no promise of any "value". They are just pictures.

Well the main thing you want to do is really decide if you want to continue to collect the "non-profitting" cards because you want too or not. See that's the thing right there, if it's a passion, or a collection to call your own, then it's yours and the thought of resale should never come across your mind, if it is then just give it up, because the passion just isn't there. Obviously you always want to be fiscally responsible, because after all this IS just a hobby.
I recently went through the closet, partly because the wifey insisted, and partly because I wanted to. I cleaned out everything I didn't care to collect. Now what's in my signature is what I focus my attentions to. Baldelli, Zobrist will probably continue on for a VERY long time, the Chrome set could find some daylight sooner rather than later, and so on....
In sumary if you are concerned you won't rcv what you put back in when/ if you resale then that's not a passion but an investment, and honestly 9 times out of 10 sports card collecting is a terrible investment, strictly speaking from an investment stand point... might as well blow your $ on a car... or 88 Fleer baseball packs ;)
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Collect what you enjoy. Keep it simple.

I would expand on that just a bit..."Collect what you like and collect within your means" ... do anything else and you will not enjoy the HOBBY or you'll spend yourself into trouble.
This is the time where I would take a break from collecting those cards. It usually takes me some time to figure out the right answer to a question like that.
I can not answer the question for you, but I can tell you what I do. I collect for love. I am nearing on 10,000 different A's cards and wouldn't consider trading any of them. Ask mrmopar on my resolve to not trade a card he came after me strong with a great offer.
Many of these cards are not worth much, but I have placed them in binders (currently 28 3" D-rings) according to Year/Brand/#

I will never make the money back on these especially when one considers the time put in them. But I will continue to track them down and spend more money and time.

My wife and I are outlining our will / living trust and one thing I want to make sure is in there is my collection. I want to put something in there that states it can not be broken apart, kind of my own legacy that will go forward, and my hope is that my child and grandchildren have the same love for the game they continue to add to it, filling in the gaps that I couldn't.

anyway, just my thoughts - Chris
When I was younger.....use to do as an investment....I have over 100 Frank Thomas Leaf RC before the card got to expensive and finally stopped collecting them in 1995....Now days...I just collect what I like or love. Best regards, David
As far as the St. Louis collection, you might as well keep it. Your not going to get anything for it anyway. Should you keep on collecting? Only if you have money to burn. I don't think anyone is making any money to speak of, except for the T206 Honus Wagner.
it's kind of like me collecting randy wolf and andy rautins. also i collect cards of players name jeff since its my name and also a card of the father and the son if they played pro sports...none of that will be worth much money, but it's fun and i enjoy it...my advice is to take time off and then pick it back up...thats what i do and it makes it more fun but im not breaking the bank...i also collect phillies topps cards...thats going to be worth more in time, so you should also try and collect 1 thing worth something in the future...just my opinion though
I am in the same boat my friend. I collect JJ Redick and I know since he is currently playing in the NBA and a lot of people out there cheer on Duke and collect Duke cards, his stuff will be hot for a few more years.

When he stops playing I think his stuff will drop siginficantly. when I started collecting him, I did it because I had the passion to collect his cards. I know his cards will not be worth that much in the future and I am ok with that.

By the way, Chris Carrawell, super nice guy!!! If you are looking to move his stuff, I possibly would be interested in any autos you have of his.
Wise advice from all the above posters! Do what you enjoy....can the rest! Life's too short, but enjoy what you are doing while you are doing it! If its worth the $$ and time to you, then go for it!

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