With the post title, I'm referring to a term I came up with recently to describe how I collect: I'm a collector of opportunity. I can no longer really be defined as a set collector. I've never been a player collector although there are certain players who I do focus on...they are hardly all I collect. Theme collecting? Not sure how that applies when I collect everything for my sports...and whatever anybody sends me for the other sports as well.
So when you collect as much as I do- 4 sports (NASCAR, NHL, NBA, Olympics, which I count as one sport)- as well as a large portion of non-sports...there's ALWAYS something pulling you in a thousand different directions on what to add to the collection. And that's just this one collection. I also collect models, diecast cars, comic books, coins, stamps, and more. And I have a very limited budget...I try, but not always succeed, at keeping to $100 a month for all the hobbies combined.
That's where the "collector of opportunity" arises. Since I like having a large quantity of things, I usually don't set out looking for anything in particular. I pick off the low-hanging fruit, as it were. And since I collect non-sports cards, occasionally they even ARE fruit.
Whether I'm at a card show, on COMC, Ebay, or wherever I'm going to spend some money, I generally tend to sort by lowest price and add as many as I can until I run out of money.
I know that I'll rarely ever complete any sets this way. While that at one time would have bothered me, it doesn't anymore. The joy of set building no longer exists for the most part, due to the sets being produced...but I still will if the opportunity arises.
I've been thinking of my collecting in these terms for several years now, but realized I never actually put "pen" to "paper" and made it official.
And you know what's a great byproduct of this? Variety and a lack of boredom (mostly). If I get tired of working on a bunch of cards that look basically the same, I can easily switch over and work on scanning an entirely different sport with minimal to no effort. I tend to get bored after scanning 6 pages of one set, but the variety of things combats that.
I know there's not much to this post that you probably haven't figured out from reading my posts in the past, but you'll have to forgive me...this is the first card-related post I've written in almost 3 months.