I will number them, but the numbering is more just to see how many there are, not a ranking of importance.
#1. Get every NBA, NHL, NASCAR, Olympic card ever made. Yeah, I know it's not possible, not even if I had LeBron James and Bill Gates' money resources combined. But, by collecting everything, it allows me to be happy with any new card I get, no matter who it is of. I'm documenting the history of my sports on cardboard, so that requires I get cards even of people I don't even like. I can still be happy getting cards of those people. No matter what card I get, I'm happy to get it. That's the overall view I take of my whole collection. It MOSTLY holds true for non-sports cards, but I do not want some of the stuff they've made- for example, don't give me garbage pail kids. I loathe those and do not want them, and do not count them as part of my collection.
OK, so that's really not much of a project. That's basically a description of the hobby. HERE are the projects:
#2. Get at least one card of every person who had one in NBA, NASCAR, NHL. This has become my main project, and it's evolved over time. It's a project I would not have been able to do until very recently, I was not able to determine who had cards in my sports until I went through the alphabetical listings on the Trading Card Database and determined who had cards I was missing. I couldn't just use the name listings- there are a LOT of people who got college cards, which don't count. And for NASCAR it's all together under racing so I had to parse out everyone else who has cards from other forms of motorsports (although I will gladly collect them as well, they aren't part of this project) I have yet to make a list for the NHL, and don't plan to do that for a while yet. I only began collecting the sport in 2017, so there are still a LOT more people I don't have than do. Most packs yield at least one new person for my collection, and I've barely scratched the surface for pre-90s players. I've done well on the NBA, getting it down below 400 people (with over 2800 in my collection) and NASCAR I had down to below 25 missing people, before Panini got the license and starting issuing a lot of autograph-only people.
This part of the collection has truly given me the most enjoyment, and it makes me feel more like a true historian, rather than "just" a collector.
#3. Get at least one card from every major set issued for my sports. This was a project that began to take shape in the 1990s, and was a driving force for a while. I've mostly completed this for the NBA, and NASCAR is missing only one set. The current state of the hobby has made this project less fun. The current trend from Panini is to issue a $400 box where you get 4 or 5 cards, and the cards are just a cutout photo of the player over a white background. That's not a good card, and they only use a small group of players each time, the same group. I recently added the Panini stickers to my collection proper, which I didn't consider part of my collection or collect until 2016. You never see these in repacks and rarely come across them at all. They have produced them on and off for the NBA since 1989 but I only have one year represented before 2014-15. But mostly this project is maintaining new sets, which I have to admit I don't really do very much of. I do plan to do this for the NHL, but I have not typed up a list yet. I've begun to take notes on paper which will eventually get written up on the list. The early sets are going to be tough with my limited amount of money to spend on the hobby.
Both of the above 2 are documented with tabs at the top of Cardboard History.
#3. Serially numbered cards. I am seriously, seriously addicted to SN cards. It doesn't matter who, it doesn't matter what number they are numbered to, if they are numbered, I like them. In fact, my usual buying habits whenever I get some money on COMC, are to sort by SN-lowest priced first and pick off as many as I need until I run out of money. This brings me so much joy. According to my Excel chart, I have 4,386 SN cards in my collection, but I have more that I have not typed in yet. I enter them when I finish a scanning wave and my latest COMC box got here after the last wave. I've added 52 new numbered cards to my collection in 2018 at the time of this writing, which is March 12th. That's averaging more than one every other day, as we are on day #71 of the year. Most, if not all of those, are not represented on this chart.
Here's the complete documentation process for my collection, something I've never actually detailed before:
- List card in paper listing
- Enter card into Excel chart tracking order of getting card, and copy and paste that to chart breaking it down by subject
- Enter into collection on Trading Card Database
- Scan, which includes correcting the flaws in each scan. (and there are ALWAYS flaws) and if needed, posting scan to Trading Card Database. All scans get posted to my own website on the first of each month, uploading what I've accomplished in the month before. I also keep an excel chart of what I scan each day, which I began doing after my remote hard drive crashed and I lost scans. It crashed on the 28th of June, 2016, so I lost almost a month's worth of work, and I'm still trying to figure out what was lost.
- Typing into Excel chart by card subject (by whoever is on the card)
- Typing into Overall Excel chart for topic (by sport or non-sport)
- Copy & Pasting the updates in each wave into Excel chart showing team
- Copy & Pasting the information into Excel chart showing year
- Manually update the counts of each card style (Base, parallel, insert, etc) into chart for sport
- Manually update that same info into overall chart of entire collection, something new and which is publicly visible by clicking "Complete List of People in My Collection" tab on top of Cardboard History. This is probably my favorite chart.
- Manually enter info into new charts tracking how many I have for each team and season per sport (only created for NHL so far, will create for NBA and NASCAR as soon as I finish compiling the information). Screencap in recent NHL Repack post.
Here's a picture of the cases half-full from August 2017.
#5. Errors! I love errors. It doesn't matter if they are a simple off-center with part of another card or part of the card missing, or a major error, I love them all.
Here are some:
Error Gallery on my website.
#6: Get as many Elton Brand, Henrik Lundqvist, Dale Earnhardt Jr. cards as humanly possible. Elton is well known as my favorite NBA player. I got him past the 500 unique card mark in 2017. Henrik Lundqvist has taken the lead as my favorite NHL player. I have less than 40 cards of him, but I only started collecting the sport in January 2017, and only realized my favorite player/team around this time last year, so that's not too bad when you consider how little money I actually spend on cards. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is my long-time favorite NASCAR driver, but ALL of his cards from 2000-07 were censored, which kind of stinks. And keeps me from chasing them too hard. I will, though, but I already have more than 700 of him, so finding new cards to add isn't all that easy...I have a lot of the reasonably priced ones already. (he should cross the 800 card threshold in 2019 based on my current rate of adding cards of him, although now that he's retired he will probably not get as many new cards)
#7: Work on all-time roster collection for the Nets and Golden Knights. The Nets are still my favorite team. Even if I am annoyed with them and have watched less than 10 games this season. I planned a grand series of these on my secondary blog "Nothing but Nets" but they had to go and get rid of my two favorite players on the team, and generally run it into the ground (again) and I've not written a post on that blog since June of last year. I do want to get back to that. I am also doing it for the Vegas Golden Knights. I would not have gotten into the NHL if not for them, and I especially want to get their base cards from the 2017-18 season releases. I actually spend more time with the NHL than I do with the NBA this season, but I usually watch both every night. For the Nets, I think I actually have most if not all of them already. I just need to pull it together and write posts about them, and pick up a few new cards for the new guys they added this year. Some it won't be possible, for instance Rashad Vaughn played exactly 4 minutes during one game with them. I doubt Panini will bother to give him a Nets card.
#8: Complete sets. Surprised to see this come in down here, almost as an afterthought, isn't it? There's a good reason for that. Panini is doing a terrible job with the NBA. There are at least 525 players in the league at any given time...and Panini can't be bothered to give cards to more than 290 of them. There are players who have been in the league for years now that still don't have a single card. It's disgraceful. And what's worse, they are barely doing any real sets. Most of their sets are those $400 for 4 card memorabilia delivery systems, not a real card set. They do better with NASCAR but not much. Donruss is the flagship there but a third of the set is short prints. Upper Deck's hockey flagship is one I'd like to complete but with the stupidly short printed Young Guns it's impossible. O-Pee-Chee would be a better option but is very hard to find for me- I was able to get a grand total of one blaster this season. I actually like it a little better, as it's a larger set and has team cards, which I love (see below) but I can't afford to buy three hobby boxes trying to complete a 600 card set, then another 50 cards in UD series 2 which fall two per box. It actually seems to me like the card companies are actively conspiring against set collectors. I just can't afford to complete sets anymore...not that I don't want to. I will if I can, but it's not going to be my main focus like it used to be. It just can't be. Completing the base sets of 1995-96 NBA cards is something I really want to do, as it was the season I discovered the sport. I have completed a couple already but have have more than half left to complete.
I have not really talked about non-sports cards much in this post, and that's not really an indication of how much I truly enjoy them. But my problem with non-sports cards is that most of what I want to collect is very old, which means hard to hunt down. I have little interest in sets based on TV shows (at least until the Simpsons get another set) and only some interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sets. Disney's crap has killed my love of Star Wars and so I have absolutely zero desire to collect them. I stopped reading current DC Comics in 2011 when they threw away their entire history, and so I don't want to collect current DC sets either. That leaves old stuff. I want to collect that in set form, and in some cases it is- I've completed 1 Tobacco era set, from the 1920s, which still doesn't seem like it's real to me, because it's so amazing. For now, I'm slowly picking off examples of what I can get based on price- I'm casting a wide net in an attempt to get as many sets as possible represented in my collection rather than concentrating on one or two sets. But I'm slowly making inroads.
#9: Subthemes. This is especially for the NBA. When I'm choosing which cards to purchase, I will usually go for a couple of subthemes.
I will collect these in the NHL as well, but I'm still so new I don't really know the team uniform histories by heart yet, and I know this year they aren't doing any throwbacks and only doing alternates for the outdoor games. I will learn in time, and start chasing them.
Team cards. I love team cards. They are pretty rare these days but were a staple back in the day. I wish they still were. I prefer when they talk about the team's history or previous season, but current cards for the NHL are checklists...for the NBA it's just team logos as the only team cards are in the Panini sticker set. Even so, I still love them.
Of all of the above subthemes, it doesn't NEED to be any of these for me to want it or add it to my collection, it just helps. I don't even have a documentation of most of these- I've started a NBA Throwback Jerseys list on the Trading Card Database, but it is still very much in progress, but that's it.
#10: The Names Project.
I collect a wide variety of things, as you see from this post and my previous postings. One thing that I really enjoy is what I've dubbed the Names Project. It's where I'm tracking how many different people are in my collection. I like having a very wide variety of people...by my calculations I've got 12,685 people in my collection, from Abdelnaby to Zyuzin. Although I don't generally consider myself a baseball or football collector, or soccer, MMA, etc- I still am happy when people send them to me at random because it means I get to add a new name to my collection chart, and gives me a wider variety of representation in my collection. I may not watch some of the sports in my collection, but I'm still happy to have them represented in my collection...more on that below.
#11: Collection order.
This one is not really a project, but I do have an order of things- but it's very, very fluid.
- NBA. The vast majority of my collection is the NBA. I will hit 100,000 different NBA cards by the end of 2020. It might even happen this year, if things go well. There will be a celebration on the blog when that happens (with contest) When I get some money to spend, the first thing I look for is NBA cards.
- NHL. Only 14 months into collecting the sport, the NHL has already taken my #2 spot, and is very seriously challenging the NBA for the top spot. A part of that is the newness factor, a part of that is that it's so wide open my family can buy me cards and the vast majority are going to be new. For instance my brother brought me a 100 card NHL repack a few days ago, and I got 82 new cards. An average NBA 100 card repack gives me 5 new cards. They don't even sell NASCAR repacks here.
- NASCAR. My first sport love, 2018 marks my 25th anniversary of being a fan. But they have made so many changes just for the sake of making changes that it's sucked a lot of the fun out of it, (Basically, under the current rule system, the first 35 races of the season are just a qualifying event for the final race of the season and don't matter...you could win all 26 of the "regular season" races and not even be eligible to win the Championship if you crash or break down in just one race in the final 10) Add to that that the cards are subpar, and have been for a long time, and the fact that I had to give up my 1/64 diecast collection, which was always my driving force for my NASCAR collecting...well, it's no surprise to me that the NHL passed it for my #2 spot.
- Automotive. This is not a subject I talk about enough on Cardboard History, but I absolutely love car cards. My most fun times of my life are car shows. I've dreampt about owning a classic car my entire life, something that probably will never happen and knowing that is like a knife jabbing into my heart, but I digress. Car cards used to be a big deal, but are pretty rare to see these days. Even so, I am constantly chasing sets I never knew about when they were issued or were issued before I was even born. My one completed tobacco set is a car set, by the way. Everything from below here fluctuates in importance to me based on how I'm feeling at that time, were I to write this a month or year from now it would be vastly different for sure.
- Olympics. I'm a big fan of the Olympics. I even gave up the NBA and NHL to watch the Olympics this year. The card sets for them kind of stink, being in that they don't document the Olympics and only include athletes from one country, but it's better than nothing, which is what was the norm before 2012.
- History. I'm a big history fan. My favorite subject (aside from automotive history) is ancient Rome. A rarity to see on cards, but I will collect pretty much anything history related, which is why I named 1954 Topps Scoop as my all-time favorite non-sport set a few weeks back. I didn't name this thing Cardboard History for no reason! History includes Military, such as the Desert Storm sets, the WWII sets, etc.
- Other forms of racing. Indy, Sprint cars, drag racing, F1, whatever is out there, I like it, and want it. although I tend to favor Indy over the other forms of racing. The fact that they rarely get cardboard coverage is why they have such a small presence on Cardboard History- it's been more than a decade since there was a set issued for any of them.
- Multi-Sport sets. I have to be honest, I used to loathe multi-sport sets. I couldn't count them with my sports collections, and most of them that I grew up with in the 90s were college cards, yuck. I've since changed my mind, which happened because of the higher degree of knowledge I've gained over the years, and I now think that the second Sports Illustrated for Kids set, which was 963 cards issued between 1992 and 2000, may be the best sports card set ever (more on that in some future post). I've come around on multi-sports sets, and now actively collect them. Even the unlicensed ones like Goodwin Champions. And I have maintained a subscription to SI for Kids since mid-2015 pretty much just to get the cards again...and now wish I had never stopped. What I've learned is that back in the early days, multi-sport sets were much more common and are in many cases the only way to get cards of the early athletes, especially from the non-baseball section. Also, a lot of the Olympic sports don't have sets of their own, but do appear in multi-sport sets. Already in 2018 I've bumped my multi-sport collection back to 1933. The previous oldest was 1951. Eventually I hope to get it back to the 1800s.
- Other vehicles. Airplanes, trains, boats, etc. Shouldn't be much of a surprise as several of them made my Top 30 Non-Sports sets countdown. While I've never been into them like I have been with cars my whole life, I AM a fan and will collect them if the opportunity presents itself.
- Star Wars pre-Disney. I was a huge fan of Star Wars. My earliest memory of anything is of watching Empire Strikes back. There's literally not a time in my life Star Wars has not been a part of. But then Disney bought it...and is doing terrible things with it. They threw away all the established continuity. They are ignoring their own in-movie continuity. They've dumbed it down with none of the complexity and depth of what was done before. I have absolutely no interest in what Disney is doing, or collecting their cards. Give me a million Jar-Jar Binks cards before anything of the Disney era. I don't even plan to ever watch The Last Jedi. I read the spoilers on line, that's enough for me. I will still collect the real Star Wars cards, but I don't have the great desire to collect them as I once did. I'm so down on what they have done, I have not watched the original trilogy or the Prequals since 2015. I know I will again some day, but I don't know when. There was a time in my life when I would watch them every month...I've even watched them more than once in a single day in the past.
- DC Comics pre-New52. DC Comics did just like Star Wars did, but without any rat influence. They threw away their entire history in 2011, and what's worse- my favorite characters had never existed and would not ever exist in the new continuity. I went through three continuities with various changes, some I really didn't like, but dealt with. This one...ugh. Nothing was an improvement.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have never been a Marvel comics fan. But I love the Avengers movie and the whole tie in series. The first Captain America movie is one of my all-time favorites in particular. They all have card sets, which I do collect somewhat haphazardly. I also have a ton of Marvel cards but will only actively chase a few certain sets, 1994 Marvel Universe being the key one.
- Attractive women on cards. I don't post about this subject too often, but yes, I collect them. (With or without clothes, real or drawings)
- Animals. Animals were a really popular topic in the Tobacco era. I've gone on about the Useful Birds of America series many times in the past. They aren't as popular anymore. But the old ones are cheap, if not always easy to find.
- Baseball. I know it's the king of the hobby. I know it's what most bloggers are really into. I just could never get into it. I don't know why...I just never could. With that said, I do have over 2000 baseball cards and have purchased some in the past. I'm making a quiet attempt to build the 1990 Topps set, the one everybody hates. I love the border design and some people have taken to sending me cards from the set. I'm not complaining. Of course, I never figured I'd get into hockey, but look where I am with that now!
- Movie and TV cards. I'm very selective with what I collect. There are some things I don't want at all. (IE- walking dead stuff) yet there are some things I really want and wish there was more of- The Simpsons in particular. It's due to the movie and TV cards and garbage pail kids that I can't say that I collect everything non-sports where I can say that for sports.
- WNBA. I never really became a fan of the WNBA, or collected their cards. It always irked the heck out of me that the just copied the NBA team names. To me that took away all the legitimacy of the sport. My entire WNBA collection fits in a 100 card snaplock with room to spare, and every single one of them came out of repacks. I enjoyed watching them play in the Olympics and I've been thinking about taking up watching them in the summer (when my two main sports are on break, the WNBA plays) but I have not yet. Their cards are hard to get now. They are made by Rittenhouse and only sold as a factory set. I can't afford to drop $150 on a box for a sport that I have been actively chasing for decades, so I don't think I'd be able to collect them even if I wanted to.
- Football. I don't like football. I've never liked football. I've even attended a football game when I was in school and it didn't do anything for me. (I mostly went to watch the cheerleaders, to be honest...it was so loud it gave me a headache and the seats were right at the edge of the woods and I spent more time fighting off mosquitoes than watching anything related to sports) Their cards seem to have a very high preponderance of cards which just have the player image superimposed over some computer generated background, which I have little use for. But, they have a long history, and a lot of cards. You can tell the history of the sport via cardboard, and THAT speaks to me. I've taken in over 2000 football cards, all but one of which I got as gifts or blind trades. and I will accept them and collect and document them, but I can't see ever collecting them like I do the NBA or NHL or NASCAR. I DO have excel files tracking my collection and the teams, and I do have some cards I've posted about with some cool images. I mean, if you give them to me I won't be mad, but I don't ever see me buying boxes or even repacks of them. For me, the allure of the cards I do have is that it allows me to add new names to my Names Project and gives me something else to scan and document. The one football card I specifically purchased was this one, because of his son being a big NBA star in the 1990s.
- Music cards. I'm a big fan of music, but the kind of music I listen to is not really on a lot of cards. For current music I listen to country, but most of my musical enjoyment comes from the period of 1956-72. My favorites include the Beach Boys, The Grass Roots, Jan & Dean, and so many more. There are certain songs that I will stop typing and just listen to when they come on- Blue Moon, Duke of Earl, Dead Man's Curve, etc. There were some sets in the 1990s and Panini made a very half-hearted effort in 2013-14 to do music cards but there's simply not much out there to choose from, and that means they don't get much of my attention. Many of my favorites don't appear on a single card. (On that note, I really need to hunt down some Spins and Needles!) Most of the blogosphere is into heavy metal it seems like, which doesn't interest me in the least.
- Everything Else: This is sort of my catch-all, and should probably be higher. This is where I put stuff that just doesn't fit anywhere else, like the Craftsman Tool cards, the Hershey's Chocolate set, all the oddball stuff that basically disappeared after the 1990s. This is also where I classify non-DC or Marvel comic sets, like the Archie Comics set or the 1992 Famous Comic Book Creators set
- Other sports. There are a LOT of sports I really like but don't get card sets of their own. Most of them appear in the Olympics, but some do not. There are some sports that I don't like or dislike, they are just kind of there, that DO get cards. In my collection, that includes: Boxing, cricket, golf, horse racing, MMA, soccer, tennis and wrestling. Most of them are very spotty in production, you cannot tell the history of the sport via cards. I've taken Golf and Wrestling in via gift/trade but the others I actually added to my collection just so I could upload something from those sports to the Trading Card Database. With boxing, soccer and tennis, the only thing I could upload was a scan of the pack itself! While I can't see myself collecting them regularly, I will still gladly add them to my collection to beef up the Names Project, and to give me a little more variety, which is something I really enjoy.
- Last, and very much least- college cards. I loathe the NCAA. There's not a more corrupt, racist system in place in this country. I hate the fact that they are making money off trading cards, yet forcing athletes to go hungry because they refuse to acknowledge that competing in sports burns more calories than people who don't compete. I am just going to stop talking about them now because I don't need that kind of anger on my blog, I don't want them on here at all but this is supposed to cover everything. But you may have noticed that you almost never see college cards on here. And I have about 2000 of them, almost all coming from repacks or as gifts. I know a few of my regular readers are big college supporters. I hope you don't take it personally- I know you are supporting your alma mater, which is very different from supporting the system.
NONE of them will get sorted back together by set until I finish scanning everything, so I'm looking at 2021 at the earliest...but probably later, as I'm the world's worst estimator of time. I originally predicted I would finish scanning my NBA collection in 2016...instead that's when I hit halfway.
When they do get back together, I will be getting all my duplicates out- including the ones that have been in my storage unit since 2003- and figuring out which the best copy of each card is, and seeing if I can replace any that got damaged to that flood I had in 2015. It's a long way off but it is the end goal.
These next two are ones I have not really started yet...and not sure I will ever do the last one, even though it's actually the most important.
#13. Make custom cards. I constantly gripe about how badly they are handling the NBA right now, and how most of NASCAR's history before 1988 is not covered on cards. I know they will never do it right...so I want to do it myself. Problem is, I have no real idea how to go about it. I have the knowledge of what's missing and the photos to make it right (at least for NASCAR, working on collecting them for the NBA) but I don't have the knowledge to make the cards. And, that'd be a lot of work for cards just to fill out and fix my collection. Being totally unlicensed, I couldn't sell them, not that I'm big on selling things anyway. I'm not even sure I could give them to like minded collectors.
I do know I would be using my own original designs, not copying other card companies' work. But the images I would be using are not my own...since I would just be creating one for myself, there shouldn't be much of an issue, but again, it's a lot of work. I may tackle this when I finish scanning my entire collection, which is not going to be soon.
#14....I've never shared this before. I want to open a museum/Hall of Fame for trading cards. As far as I know nothing of the sort exists. I want to change that. This hobby has been around since at least the late 1860s yet there is not really any documentation of it's history, nor is there any place of honor for the people who made the hobby so great. The people who made the cards, nor the collectors who have contributed so much to the hobby, none of them are being documented or honored anywhere, in any way. That's part of the reason why I will gladly accept any cards from any sport...it's all working up towards that eventual museum. I have the vision. I have the time. What I don't have are the money and skills to build it. Honestly, if I had the money, I would probably collect the other sports, even the ones I don't actually watch on TV, EVERYTHING would be covered in the museum, not just one specific sport or brand and I would need those other sports to make the museum the best and most accurate it could be.
Ideally you'd be able to go to this not-yet-extant physical place, and be able to look through all the cards in the museum collection (which will be my collection to start, with donations accepted). I already know how they would be displayed- not in pages- but I'll keep that to myself for now because I might be able to patent it. The Hall of Fame would not feature plaques but would feature the inductees on trading cards, oversize for ease of reading. The gift shop would have standard size copies of the plaques for sale, as well as all the supplies you would need to properly care for your collection, any duplicates that come in via donation, and packs/boxes of the latest sets to purchase. It would be somewhere that any true collector would consider an important place to visit, no matter what sport or non-sport they collected. The Archive would have copies of all the card-related publications I could get my hands on, starting with my nearly complete collection of Beckett Basketball from issue #1-whenever I stopped reading in 2006. Researchers on the hobby would be able to use it to do research, of course.
This is what I dream about doing, this is my ultimate goal with my collection and my life.
The Trading Card Database lists over 9 million possible cards- I have 156,000. I have a long way to go. But I'm never going to stop collecting and trying.