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Posts: 779
Reply with quote  #1 
Doing my recent wrapper/card designs has made me think about what type of a collector I am. With each new project I tackle I do a lot of research into what cards actually look like from the year of the piece I want to do. I examine colors, card stock, logos, design elements, etc. I have never looked so closely at the non-sport cards I collect in such minute detail. This has made me realize that as a collector I was actually just an "accumulator" of cards. I would simply check an item off my want list and then it would disappear into my collection with barely a glance, maybe never to be seen again.

So what type of collector do you think you are?

Todd Riley

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Posts: 303
Reply with quote  #2 
I think most all “collectors” are accumulators... it is usually more about the “hunt” than the actual items. Back when I collected comic books, my best friend (also a collector) and I had a saying for when we acquired something, “OK, what’s next?”. Personally, and just my two cents, I feel collectors have two basic “emotions” about collecting... the thrill of hunting for items and the pride in showing off those items, especially rare and obscure ones.

It’s interesting, these days I still collect, but mostly do research and “collect” images, and yet I’m still thrilled when just finding an image of something rare or unique! And I guess if I’m being honest, I still like to “show off” my “finds” by writing articles or posting here! Of course, apparently no one else finds them interesting... or so I’ve been told.

Lonnie Cummins

Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #3 
Todd's description matched me perfectly, at least until recently. Being forced to stay near home these last few months gave me an opportunity to launch a project.

Over time, quite a few items turned up missing. That is, they weren't where I thought I filed them. I decided to go through my collection, page by page, searching for them. As I started pulling binders, I realized how many of these sets I hadn't looked at in years. I guess most of us tend to focus on those things we're actively working on. It's been fascinating to discover how many interesting sets I'd forgotten about. Maybe I can become a different kind of collector.

Jim Miller

Posts: 30
Reply with quote  #4 
I enjoy the chase, as well as the research, compiling Master checklists for previously uncatalogued sets etc.  But I do also enjoy the cards themselves and frequently take them out to look over, just for fun and always looking for a new variation while I do it.  I actually read the backs, and most of them are stored raw without even a penny sleeve.  Don't care about condition, don't like that money becomes an increasingly important factor every year.  

If I'm not having fun with it, then something isn't right.  It's all about that aspect to me, a casual hobby to indulge my interests in pedantic differences, history, research, and sports.  

I generally have not shared what I have until fairly recently for some sets; and usually only when it is something that I am sharing to share a discovery or new variant, not to show off I have something.

We are all compilers, I think, unless we have just started.  I have been collecting cards since I was about 4 years old it appears (Batman and Toy Story first, then football, then baseball, then vintage sports around the time I was 12-13, Boxing and non-sport T cards around age 13-14) and never stopped.  Stuff adds up, no matter how picky one tries to be.

I detest grading, both in theory and in what I see as the highly corrupt and inconsistent actual practice.  I don't own a single graded card, crack them all as they come in.  

Have been very lucky in gaining good hobby friends to share cards and information with across the country, which just makes the whole thing more fun to me.  It's as fun to aid or see a hobby buddy finish a set or find a difficult variant they have been chasing as it is to score one myself. I've still never sold a single card, dupes go in a big box and are saved until I find a hobby friend who needs them.  May have to sell some of them to clear space at some point, but the inherent financial aspects of the hobby do unduly annoy me.

I guess this makes me a young curmudgeon 'real-collector-not-investor' and low-grade snob researcher

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Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #5 

My definitions of collector personality types:

Hoarder: "I just randomly buy whatever catches my eye and stuff it in whichever binder is laying open at the time. I don't know or care if I have 3 or 6 of the same card and couldn't find any of them even if I did. Having 28 of the same subject is better than having 27. My collecting topics include everything."

Accumulator/organizer: "I actually have specific collecting topics that I pursue, such as planes, actresses, or presidents, or I collect certain categories such as early candy & gum, R-cards, tobacco cards, etc. This gives me certain goals (and limits) to what I collect, though those may change over time. I have some type of organizational system (binders, boxes) where I keep my collection in some reasonably good order and I have want lists for the cards I need. One of each subject is usually sufficient & I trade or sell the duplicates."

Researcher: "I enjoy studying the cards themselves and researching about the topics portrayed. I like figuring out when a series was issued and how many cards are in a very scarce issue. I collect peripheral items that relate to the card topic such as wrappers, cigarette boxes, advertisements, coupons, etc. I'm not collecting to complete any specific goal as much as I am interested in gaining knowledge."

There are certainly more variations of the above, but I would bet that most of us on this site fall into the second or third group though I'll also bet there are a few hoarders lurking here that are holding onto all the cards I'm searching for!

Personally, I am an obsessive accumulator/organizer, which the emphasis on organizer. All my cards, silks, etc. are in binders in official checklist order for each series and the series are in ACC number order (I can find just about any specific card within seconds....). I have extensive checklists, wantlists, statistics, etc. for each category. I do enjoy researching, but more toward figuring things out about the card issues than the topics portrayed.



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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #6 
Good question and I like Bob's breakdown above.
I collect the cards that I bought new in packs, or wished I had, when I was a kid. 
So I guess that qualifies me as a re-collector.
The portion of my collection outside that definition (obviously I didn't buy tobacco in the 19th century) would be in appreciation of the art and the history of the cards - so maybe an historian?

Mark Hellman

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Posts: 226
Reply with quote  #7 
I probably have a few categories I'd almost fit in but I am definitely an "historian" in my collecting as I research, collect and write all the time.  
Dave Hornish

Visit my vintage Topps blog at: Free Download of The Modern Hobby Guide to Topps Chewing Gum or softcover ordering details are here:

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Posts: 175
Reply with quote  #8 
I started collecting stamps in 1951 and baseball cards in 1952.

At various times through the years, I would have fit all of Bob's categories.

But in 1959, I became interested in cars, and the collections went in the closet.

Started collecting different things about cars: models, records, pennants, movies, original literature, etc.

Was at an automobile swap meet in 1966 and saw my first non-sport cards, a group of Wheels. Thought they were interesting, and bought them. Took them back to my space (I used to vend carburetors at the swap meets), and in slack time went through them. Remember one was card number 7: a "German" Norton motorcycle. I showed it to my Dad, and asked him what our British relatives might have thought about Germany producing the Norton [wink]

That got me back into cards.

Since then, I have specialized in cards pertaining to cars/trucks/racing/motorcycles, and a very few other categories (colleges, athletes, stamps, and indians).

For a time, I was the accumulator, as I was interested in finding errors. I have found several over the years; some corrected, and others not corrected, so they would be categorized as mistakes, rather than errors.

Was a dealer of racing cards from 1988 through 1995.

Now, I have realized I will not be granted sufficient time to look at ALL of the duplicates for errors, so am disposing of my duplicates. Those who know me probably guessed the Hassan/Mecca Auto Drivers in Tom's last auction were mine.

As to my personal collection, I have read the backs of each card; and researched many of the sets.

Condition is semi-important to me, but a card that was wadded up, used in a slingshot, and then smoothed is better than no card. Given a choice, I prefer centering over sharp corners.

Graded cards are (I guess) a necessary evil. Some enterprising individuals did a wonderful job of producing careers for themselves convincing others that grading was important. I will pay less for graded cards of the same grade as I would for raw; as I have to break them out, and dispose of the plastic. Extra work.

And while for a time I was a dealer of new cards, and did at least attempt to make a profit; my collection is for enjoyment, and has not been purchased as an investment.

Apologies if I wrote too much, but I enjoyed the posts of others who posted before me in this thread.


Jon Hardgrove

If you think "one size fits all" - try walking a mile in your spouse's shoes!

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #9 
Sadly, my enjoyment of this hobby came from opening packs and putting together
a completed set.   Nothing beats opening up a pack and seeing there was only one dupe!
Also enjoyed recollecting the sets of our youth (50's-60's).

So I really enjoyed buying a box, and just enjoying an afternoon breaking it down.

The resurgence in the mid 80's was a really fun time... sadly 10 yrs later the chase
cards, the autograph cards, the slick holograms quickly killed what was a nice $35-$40 per
box hobby to one that wasn't worth the $$$ they wanted for piece of cardboard w/ a picture
on it.

My enjoyment these days is happily visiting this forum and seeing what cards everyone recently


Senior Member
Posts: 149
Reply with quote  #10 
I've been thinking about this question since you posted it Todd. What kind of collector am I?

Definitely an accumulator. Happy when I can cross a card off my list, but once the card arrives, it's pretty quickly filed away in it's cardboard box. If I had my cards in binders I might look at them more, but I don't have the storage space for that. Sometimes I think that in a few years I will slow down "accumulating" and break out the cards and enjoy them more.

I would like to be able to share my collection with others more. I watch mostly You-Tube now having cut the cable cord years ago. I watch long distance hikers, farmers, tree workers, and some hot rod stuff mostly. People just sharing their work and passions. I have enough cards that I think sharing on you-tube would produce some interesting "content" but I don't think I have the personality for that lol.


Richard Hall

Posts: 41
Reply with quote  #11 

My habit covers a number of groups.

I am working on completing sets I started as a child.
I collect sets that fit with my current hobbies and interests.
I am my brother's wingman for his card collecting interests.

I use checklists as much a possible and supply corrections and additions.

I ama very small-time dealer in cards.

Rick Hall

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #12 
In the early 60's, I had a handful of Addams Family, Munsters, Batman and what I called 'Scary cards'.  In the early 2000's, I thought about completing those sets.  Since the 'Scary cards' only had T.C.G. on the backs, my first task was to figure out the set name. I think it took minutes on the internet to learn that they were 'Monster Greeting' cards.  I then learned that Batman cards had three different color bats.

After a couple of years, I was able to complete those sets using strictly eBay but I was already hooked and wanted to continue in this hobby. So, after 15 years, I view my non-sport card collecting hobby as putting together a puzzle, it is gratifying to find that last card in a set to make it complete. 

But after the set is complete, as the budget will allow, the next steps are to obtain a Pack and/or a Wrapper and/or an Uncut Sheet and/or a Sealed Box and/or Sell Sheet and/or PSA Graded card of favorite card in the set. For sets that are outside my budget, a virtual collection is sufficient.  A picture of a card is almost as good as having the actual card.

I then noticed similarities across sets, so that led to a separate duplicate collection, which contains similar card fronts...
The Mole People.jpg 

or similar captions. NoCavities.jpg

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Posts: 779
Reply with quote  #13 
How fun! I had no idea a nearly exact image could be used in so many sets - or the same joke.

Todd Riley

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Posts: 606
Reply with quote  #14 
"A picture of a card is almost as good as having the actual card." THIS is an issue I grapple with all the time when confronted by all my "stuff".
Mr. Moses

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Posts: 35
Reply with quote  #15 
I collect cards to which I have an emotional attachment. This includes most 1950s issues (the cards of my boyhood) and a few space-themed sets from outside the 1950s. I know there are many beautiful series outside this narrow dominion, but I leave the collecting of them to others.

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Posts: 169
Reply with quote  #16 
Steve, I love those card displays, very cool!

For me, I've been an accumulator most of the time I've collected, though lately I've become more of a researcher and a buy on a whim kind of acquirer of cards.
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