Thursday, January 21, 2016

Goal #2 of 2016 Complete! (The big one of the year)

As I recounted on January 1st, I have several goals for 2016...but #2 was the main one, the one I wanted to complete the most. It turned out to go much easier than I thought it would...I expected it to take me more than a month to accomplish, but instead it took a grand total of 8 days.

First, a little backstory. As I've mentioned a few times before, I keep track of my collection on looseleaf, and that is the "be-all, end all"...if it's listed there, I have it...if not, I don't. I began my paper listing in 1998, and it now takes up 8 binders...4 for NBA, one each for NASCAR, non-sports, WNBA/NCAA/Multisport sets and one new one for the record pages. I don't even consider a card part of my collection unless the paper listing is made (although I have gotten a little lax in that lately- something else I want to address in 2016, but there was not enough work involved to make it a goal). However, I only had records of how many cards I have of each person, and charts of my serially numbered, relic and autograph cards existed only on Excel. The original files date back to 2000, when we got our first home computer. The concept dates back to 1997, when we had a word processor, which was basically a computer that didn't access the internet. Note that I am speaking of the files in past tense. Around 2003 or 2004, I don't even remember, the floppy disk I was using crashed....all my information was gone. Years of hard work lost.

I realize now that it was actually part of why I walked away from the NBA in very late 2006. (sometime between September and Christmas, but I don't know when exactly.) It was such a crushing blow to lose everything, that it soured me on the whole thing. If I realized it at the time, perhaps I could have done things differently, because I now regret walking away immensely, but I didn't realize how much it affected me until I was recreating the chart last week.

Yes! That was goal #2. Recreate the chart listing my serially numbered, autographed and relic cards. And I didn't just recreate it...I made it better, stronger, faster. Ok, it's not bionic, but the computer I'm using now is probably faster than what I was using in 2003/04, right? :) It's certainly better, that's for sure. Stronger, too, as now I have it backed up in multiple places...I learned from my mistake, eventually, and now all my files are backed up in more than one place. (I say eventually because the floppy crashed once before, but my brother was able to recover my information, yet I didn't learn from that and had only one copy which is what I lost in 2003 or 04.)

Getting the information back was a long process in itself. The last time I sorted my collection was in 2004, it has been sorted mostly by first letter of last name since then. In the week between Christmas and New Year's 2013, I sorted my collection...not really a true sorting, but a going-through to pull out the complete sets, the relics, autographs and serially numbered and Refractors- cards I wanted to scan first. I know I missed a couple of them, but the majority of them got scanned in 2014...and then I put them in these large cases.
The autos, relics and SN filled three of these cases, and then some. They have been sitting waiting patiently in these cases now for over a year, waiting for me to type them back in. I thought it was going to take a long time to do, which is why I put it off for so long, but each of these cases only took me about 2 and a half days to do. It took another entire day to proofread- as it turns out, I had entered some cards in a couple of years ago in an early attempt to recreate the file, but not remembering that I did that, I ended up typing them in again and having to delete the redundancy.

But then, once I had all the information entered, it was a simple matter to figure out how many I had of each kind of relic and special card- information that I had never seen before. The original file just had all relics in the same column, this time I broke them out into their own separate columns, so it was easy to just see how many were in the column- that gave me the totals.
There are a lot more than I thought! I had guessed that I cleared 1000 relics but I wasn't sure...I have not gotten 500 since I started NBA full time again in 2012 so I must have been very close when the original file was lost. 

There is some duplication in the totals- cards that are numbered relics, or autographed numbered relics- they are counted in the totals for both/all aspects of the card.

One cool thing about the Serially numbered chart- I can sort it multiple ways- by player, year, set, or, my favorite way to sort it- by SN, both the number the card is AND the number of cards produced. By doing so, I discovered I have at least one card numbered 1 through 171 of something...NBA only...I didn't check my other collections to see if I can get even higher without missing a number.
Here is a screen shot of the SN chart. (Click to make it bigger)
 The other two charts really don't screencap as well. But I was pleased to find out that thanks to the cards my family got for me last year, it has moved my favorite player, Elton Brand, into a tie for most autographs in my collection and sole possession of first place in most relics and SN. He is tied with Shawn Marion for most autographs in my collection, 9. That in itself was a surprise to me as I always thought that I had more autographs of Kenyon Martin than anyone else, but that isn't the case. (Kenyon is 3rd in autographs with 7- all but one I pulled, I think...I don't really remember anymore)

This information, now that I have it back...and have all the cards scanned...will lead to a couple future blog posts, including  a possible series I am kicking around in my head, but that's off in the distance some....likely summer if this year...if I do it at all (the series).

I am truly pleased that I have this information back. It has been hanging over my head for at least 12 years that it had been lost...but now I have it back. I know it's not really a big thing in the grand scheme of things...most people probably won't see it other than the occasional screencap here on Cardboard History, but for personal satisfaction, it doesn't get much better than this.

I also know it's not complete yet- all the new additions I've gotten since before my birthday, and the cards my current scanner can't handle, plus whatever stragglers I missed when I sorted in 2013, they aren't on here yet. But that's fine, because I know they will be eventually...and there's no rush. I am not planning on leaving the NBA side of the hobby again, and this time I've got the file backed up in multiple places, so with the steps I've taken I shouldn't lose everything ever again.

The totals for each person...that's a work in progress. I am doing it differently now (again, better than I did before) but I am not figuring it out until I scan each card, so it's going to be several more years before I have that finished. My current projection in 2021. I am going to hit halfway on the scanning very soon...I am in the middle of a typing batch, and when I finish typing them in I'll know how many I have scanned....the next batch will put me at halfway for sure...there is a high probability I'll hit halfway scanning next month, although because of the way I do it I won't know for sure for a few months, and won't know which card is the exact halfway.


  1. I am so glad you were finally able to do this!

  2. Congrats. That was one hell of a project.

    1. Thanks! It sure was, but it was a lot of fun too

  3. You are a busy guy. Dedicated to the hobby. Great job