Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

The conclusion of 2014 is upon us, and it's time to look back at the year, and think about all the cards I added to my collection over the past 365 days.

Card wise, it was a very good year. Everything else, not so much, but as always, cards provide a much needed respite from the bad things happening in "real life". I had set a goal that 2014 was going to be better than 2013 for my hobby, and it was. I was able to bring in a lot of new cards- 4,937 total, my best year since 2004, when I got over 10,000 new cards. December ended up being the month that saw me get the most cards - 812 - led by 243 on Christmas, and several trades that saw me get over 300 cards combined happen during the month. (Having an actual tradelist really does help!) The month of August was the worst, I got only 81 cards the entire month- no coincidence that it was the worst month of the year in "real life" as well.

In 2014 my main goal- I don't do new year's resolutions, I set goals- was to fully document my additions to my collection through the year, and I met that goal with only a few missteps along the way. Since 1998, I've kept a total of how many new cards I got on each day (usually, as I've noted before, I didn't always keep it up, and that's why I set my goal for 2014). I bought a spiral notebook and listed each and every card I got, in the order I got them. I also color coded the lists- blue ink for parallels, red for inserts, purple for relics, pink for autographs, green for promos, etc. Sometimes being OCD helps! Then, in December, I typed the entire listing into Excel. At nearly 5000 cards, it took me quite some time to do this! My goal for 2015, one of them anyway, is to type up the new additions each month, not wait until the end of the year to try and play catch up. Had I done that in 2014, I would have noticed the multiple errors I made in my official count, most of which due to not being able to read my own handwriting. I ended up having my collection be off by more than 50 cards for my NBA listing. I made the mistake in May and discovered it in December. I also color coded my Excel chart, and I used it to get these stats:

  • 55 autographs
  • 62 relics
  • 10 autographed relics
  • 153 serially numbered cards
  • 370 parallels
  • 483 inserts
  • 35 parallels of inserts
  • 222 promos
  • 21 errors
  • 3677 base cards
I also was able to use Excel to break down and figure out how many I got of each topic-
  • 2421 NBA
  • 907 NASCAR
  • 621 Non-Sport
  • 292 Football
  • 241 Baseball
  • 150 Olympics
  • 142 college basketball
  • 82 diecast cards (cards that come with diecast replicas of cars)
  • 31 other/unclassified- this is where I put unlicensed bootlegs, (Broders) oddballs like the Foot Locker Slam Fest set, and the European multi-lingual NBA cards)
  • 23 Hockey
  • 19 multi-sport
  • 5 drag racing
  • 2 Indy racing
  • 1 monster truck racing
Among those cards, I got
  • 118 new people
  • 97 new sets
  • 20 completed sets
The new people does not include all the baseball, football and hockey players, only NBA and NASCAR. The new sets total DOES, however, count the baseball, football and hockey sets.

and I also figured out, I think, the 10 sets I got the most cards of during 2014.
  1. 2014-15 Hoops, 343 cards. I did a hobby box, which is rare for me these days. Most of my new cards come to me from retail.
  2. 1991 Ultra, 249 cards. A football set. Each and every one of them arrived to me as a gift. (More below)
  3. 2013-14 Hoops, 238 cards. I'm a big fan of the Hoops sets. I didn't do a box but I did lots of retail. I'm still missing the Elton Brand card though, looking like the last one Panini will produce of him.
  4. 2013-14 Panini, 236 cards. My family gave me a hobby box of this one to celebrate 1 year of my not dying. (I have mentioned 2013 was not a good year!). I came up 4 cards short of the 200 card set, but I got them later, and some inserts. This one also appears on the completed sets chart.
  5. 1989 Donruss, 235 cards. A baseball set. With bright orange card backs. These also came to me as a gift.
  6. 2014-15 Prestige, 174 cards. I was actually surprised to see this set ranked so high. This does not include the Prestige Premium cards I got at Christmas, either. The Prestige set is only 200 cards, but there are quite a few inserts, so I'm not at 75% completion just yet.
  7. 2014 Topps US Olympic Team & Hopefuls, 148 cards. I did a hobby box of them, and completed the set. It was, in fact, the first set I completed in 2014 and my first Olympic set completed. Each pack gave two parallels or one parallel and one insert, thus how I was able to get 148 cards.
  8. 2012-13 Panini Brilliance, 122 cards. I was going online to look for a price on the Olympic box, and saw these were on sale for less than half price, so I had to get a hobby box. More on this set later.
  9. 2014 Press Pass, 91 cards. It's hard for any NASCAR sets to make the top 10 because they refuse to make decent sized sets. The set is only 100 cards, and inserts and parallels were down for the set. I did complete the set, but I also got some of them in 2013, as the next year's set is released around Thanksgiving time. I've already got more than 60 of the 2015 cards.
  10. 1995 Traks 5th Anniversary, 89 cards. I had only one card from the set, and was able to score a hobby box on Ebay for $10. It's only an 80 card set but there was one insert set.
Figuring out which people I got the most of was a little harder. There are a lot more options for people, but with Excel it was not hard to figure out at all. In 27 years in the hobby, this is the first year I know any of these records that I'm posting right now, because I never fully documented before. Interestingly, while the NBA sets dominate the set leaders, NASCAR dominates the person leaders. This is mostly due to the fact that Press Pass issues very short sets and about half of each set is composed of 2 or 4 redundant subsets. I have included the few cards of cars in the listings. Totals do Not include cards shared with other people.
  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 45 cards. Not a surprise that Dale Jr. leads the way. He has the third most cards available of any NASCAR driver, and will likely pass Mark Martin in that soon.
  2. Jeff Gordon, 32 cards. Jeff has the most cards available of anyone in NASCAR history.
  3. TIE- Kobe Bryant and Kyle Busch, 28 cards. Kobe is the highest ranking NBA player, and only ranks this high because of the Kobe Anthology set Panini did in 2012-13- 200 cards, all Kobe. Worth noting that it is 100 more cards than all of NASCAR gets in any set since 2007.
  4. Tony Stewart, 26 cards. Tony's off track issues did not adversely affect his card totals.
  5. Kevin Harvick, 23 cards. I suspect he will get included in all of Press Pass's subsets and inserts, being the Champion will do that for you.
  6. 3-way tie. Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne. 22 cards each. I am actually surprised Jimmie is so low (relatively speaking). Since 2004 or so he has ranked third in cards issued.
  7. Mark Martin, 19 cards. Mark, surprisingly, ranks second all time in cards issued. It looks like he may have actually truly retired, so his card issues will likely go down.
  8. Tie, Danica Patrick and Joey Logano, 17 cards. Logano won 5 races and finished 4th in points. Danica didn't crack the top 5 in even a single race, and finished in the low 20s in points. Yet she gets more cards issued than Joey does on a regular basis, as Joey rarely gets included in insert sets and subsets.
  9. 3-way tie: Austin Dillon, Paul Pierce, Chris Paul, 15 cards each. It takes this long to get more NBA players. I was surprised to see Austin Dillon this high, but I do have a knack for pulling inserts of him. (One of my favorite cards of the year is a piece of tire off his Eldora winning truck I pulled from a pack of Total Memorabilia). Paul Pierce is ageless. He also is helped by the fact that I have pulled multiple parallels of his cards this year.
  10. Tie: Jeff Burton and Richard Petty, 14 cards each. Burton is also mostly done driving, and Richard Petty retired at the conclusion of 1992. It's good to be the King. He is helped by the fact that during the month of December I was able to trade for 6 cards from the 1992 Food Lion Richard Petty set, almost half the amount of cards of his I've added in 2014.
My favorite NBA player, Elton Brand, only saw 11 new cards added to my collection this year (in a tie with Bobby Labonte, Brad Keselowski and Carmelo Anthony). 5 were relics, 2 were Set 1sts, and one of them was a patch serially numbered 01/25. So while there may not have been a lot of new additions, they were good ones.

These are the sets I completed in 2014, in order of completing them: (Click the name of the set to see it on the Database)
  1. 2014 Topps Olympic Team & Hopefuls 2/23/14
  2. 1996-97 Metal 4/8/14
  3. 1992-93 Upper Deck 5/21/14
  4. 1991 Topps Desert Storm 6/5/14
  5. 2013-14 Panini 6/16/14
  6. 2002-03 MVP 6/30/14
  7. 1993-94 Fleer 6/30/14
  8. 2001 Inkworks American Pride 7/4/14 (not a coincidence, I was given a box in December 2013 and saved half the packs so I could finish it on July 4th)
  9. 1995 Traks 5th Anniversary 8/3/14
  10. 2003-04 Topps 8/13/14
  11. 2003-04 Topps 1st Edition 8/13/14 Despite the Database listing this as an insert to 2003-04 Topps, it was actually a standalone set.
  12. 2012 Ignite 8/28/14
  13. 1922 Lambert & Butler's Motor Cars 9/28/14. My oldest completed set by 49 years, my first completed Tobacco card era set. In fact, my 3rd through 27th tobacco card in total.
  14. 2007 Press Pass 12/8/14. Of the last 6 sets I completed during 2014, 4 of them were completed through trades and 2 saw the last card I needed arrive to me as a Random Act of Kindness.
  15. 2010 Eclipse 12/8/14
  16. 2012 Press Pass 12/8/14
  17. 1992 Pro Set 12/12/14
  18. 1991-92 Upper Deck 12/18/14
  19. 2014 Press Pass 12/20/14
  20. 1995 Traks 12/20/14
8 NBA sets, 8 NASCAR sets, 3 non-sports sets and one Olympic set...not too bad at all! It's my second-best year for set completion, trailing only 2004, when I completed 23 sets, although there are 30 sets in my collection that I've completed, and did not record a date for. (I just got out my paper listings and made an excel chart to figure this out) If I didn't miss any, it brings my completed set total up to 144. I completed 17 in 2013, so if I can stay on that pace, I should hit 150 in 2015. The years before 2013 were not so good, and in fact I did not complete a single set in 2011, or 2008. Only 6 each in 2010 and 2012. I hope it stays more like 2013 and 2014 than earlier. I have a few sets I'm close on, so maybe I will be able to knock them off in 2015, and with sets getting smaller and smaller (NOT a good thing) in theory it should make them easier to complete.

There were some highlights on the year, as well. I did a handful of boxes- 2014 Topps US Olympic Team, 2012-13 Panini Brilliance, 2012-13 Past & Present, 2013-14 Panini, 2014-15 Hoops, 1995 Traks 5th Anniversary, 2013 Showcase (which was the subject of one of my first posts on this blog) and 2014-15 Prestige Premium, which I got for Christmas from my Mom, a huge surprise for me. I also secured a box of 1992 Pacific World War II but am moving through it slowly, to prolong the fun.

I hit two major milestones in 2014- on February 14th, I hit 75,000 different NBA cards, which came, totally coincidentally, 18 years to the day after my mom gave me the pack of 1995-96 Fleer Series II that got me started with the NBA side of the hobby. On May 24th, my NASCAR collection hit 25,000 different cards, from my very first pack of 2014 American Thunder. Kyle Larson, who would be 2014 Rookie of the Year, ended up being my 25,000th card. Both cards are mirror foil and therefor do not scan well at all.

I later hit 76,000 NBA cards, and am currently 40 away from 77,000- which I will hit tomorrow, on January 1st, using some of my unopened stash that I save for when I just need some new cards.

On June 21st, a friend who wishes to remain anonymous sent me a huge box of cards, and that is where just about all my baseball, football and hockey cards came from, as well as some NBA and non-sports. I added 610 new cards to my collection that day, and I still have hundreds of cards saved to look at when I need a "pick me up". He still sends me random cards he doesn't want anymore periodically, that's a true friend. Two of my top 10 set additions on the year came from that one box, and had I gone through all the cards that day, I have no doubt that there were over 1000 cards in the box.

Another highlight is already the topic of one of my blog posts, when I got 22 new sets for my collection in one day. I won't say much about it here, just look in the archive.

In the week between Christmas and New Year's 2013, I sorted my entire NBA collection that I could find; it was the first time I had seen the majority of the cards since 2004, the last time I sorted my collection. I separated out the 1995-96 season cards, and all the sets I had completed up to that time. I then worked on them mostly, and finally finished posting my completed sets to the Database in August. Getting my completed sets done was a highlight of the year for me.

I also scanned and processed all of my autographs, relics and serially numbered NBA cards, but I have not gotten them posted yet.

In January, I finally made up paper listings and got an accurate count of my college basketball cards. I had been putting it off for years, I've never been a big fan of college cards.

Later in the year, I don't remember when exactly, I finished making a paper listing and getting a count of my multi-sport sets.

Starting this very blog in November is also a highlight on the year. I had attempted to create one in the past, but the system didn't support photos, or at least, I couldn't figure out how to add them, so I didn't get very far.

I tried to attach the Excel file that so much of this post was based off of, but I couldn't figure out how. I was able to take a screencap of it so I can at least show it off somewhat.
Strangely, the screencap didn't capture the colors of the red or pink used. But by sorting the chart through the various columns, I was able to take the numbers it gave me and create this post.
I do have some goals for 2015. I want to finish my Tradelist. In late November and early December, I typed in most of my NASCAR tradelist to the tradelist feature on the Trading Card Database. My NASCAR tradelist to date. It is searchable by person or set. I finished less than a month ago and I've already used it to make multiple trades that brought over 300 cards to my collection. I have a few hundred NASCAR cards that I've gotten over the past three years or so that weren't sorted with the rest of my tradelist, and then I've got the NBA cards. My NBA duplicate stash once totaled over 10,000 cards in and of itself, although I have traded or given away several thousand of them. (I should note that I only trade duplicates- no exceptions. In 27 years in the hobby I've only ever traded away one card, in 1996, and it haunts me to this day) Right now it's probably about 5000 cards strong, although some are so deep in storage I may never see them again. (lol) You tend to accumulate a lot of duplicates when your favorite way to add cards is by the 600 count box for $20 a semi-local card shop offers. And when you only go to the shop when you've saved up enough money to get 5 or more of them. (In fact, it's one of those I'm going to be opening tomorrow to hit 77,000 that I've mentioned above!) Back in the day these boxes cost a lot less, and there were more sources of them, too. When you have a collection as large as mine is, you tend to get more duplicates than new cards. In fact, when I purchase the clamshell hanger of 100 cards at Target, I am happy if I get more than 5 new cards. Earlier in 2014 my brother got me one that had 26 new cards in it. I have not had that happen since the 1990s. The next one I bought myself had only 2 new cards. Go figure, right? But I digress.

Another goal for 2015 is to get my card backs to card fronts ratio on the Database a little closer together, or perhaps even. When I first joined the Database in 2012, I had already scanned the fronts of many of my cards, including my entire NASCAR collection. I started posting them then. Within a month or two I decided to do it right, and scan the backs as well. By then I had already posted over 1000 fronts only, and I've been slowly chipping away at the margin, where I've got it roughly 350 cards apart at the moment. I need to make this a priority, but it gets slowed down because back then I would accept close enough, instead of the perfection I demand from myself these days. Cards would be crooked, parts of the card missing front the scan, all kinds of scanner scuzz not removed with PhotoScape, and more. It's so bad I've even thought about chucking all the scans I made in 2009-2012 and starting over.

I had a third goal for 2015 and now I can't remember what it is. I am sure it will come to me at some point.

As always, thanks for reading, and onward to 2015!

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