Let’s face it. Change is difficult. That’s why most life-changing New Year’s resolutions fail within the first few weeks of being made. However, when it comes to your sports collection, there are certainly small, attainable steps you can take that will make a significant improvement in the overall quality and value of your items. That being said, here is an intentionally belated a list of some collecting resolutions you may consider making in the New Year that won’t leave you feeling like a failure.
Finish that Set
Finishing a set will increase its value. Start by picking your oldest partial set and commit to completing it, one card at a time.
When it comes to trading cards, it’s easy to become inundated and overwhelmed with the next new product, vintage project or insert chase. As a result, you can quickly find yourself with a collection of near or partially completed sets and whether they are modern or vintage, they won’t be worth what they could be, unless and until, they are completed.
So, start by picking your oldest partial set and commit to completing it, one card at a time. To stay on task and keep you interested in the project, narrow your initial search to the missing rookies and major stars. Adding theses cards to the set will instantaneously increase its value and organically instill in you a desire to complete the set.
Find a Niche or Theme
As is the case with any collection, it’s easy to become distracted and even consumed by the “have to have it now” mentality. As a consequence, eventually, what you’ll find is that your collection can best be described as being “all over the place.” Without a niche, theme or purpose what you end up doing is creating an accumulation of items as compared to a collection.
Decide once and for all what you are really passionate about and align your collection accordingly. If you are a team and/or player collector, take the easy first step of liquidating pieces of players and teams you don’t collect. If you collect modern cards, sell your vintage ones. If you are primarily a football collector, sell your baseball items. While not every decision will be easy, you’ll have a more organized and focused collection. You’ll also have the additional benefit of being able to use the extra money generated by the sale of non-essential pieces to reinvest into your remaining collection.
Focus on Curating
Are your best collectibles hiding in a closet? Get them out on display, like in this impressive man cave.
A prized collection should be shared with others and enjoyed. It is not to be something navigated around an office or living room and certainly not stored in a closet. Invest the time and money to acquire proper archival storage items and display cases. If space is an issue, pick your prized items and secure their condition by placing them in the proper display case. That prized trading card set you own? Get it out of its box and place it in an archival quality binder. These types of binders are typically accompanied by a sleeve so that the pages don’t sag which would leave the cards susceptible to bending.
Time to Grade
Consider permanently preserving the condition of your higher-value cards by submitting them to a reputable third-party grading company. Having your cards graded not only protects them but also makes them easier to sell if and when you decide to sell them.
Create a Custom Display Piece
Package a prized autograph, photos and other memorabilia into a custom-framed display piece.
Do you have a particularly prized autographed photo or trading card in your collection? Why not have it matted and framed with a custom inscribed nameplate? There are pre-cut mattes available to fit everything from 2-1/2- by 3-inch trading cards to 16- by 20-inch photographs and multiple combinations of everything in between that allow you to take on this project yourself.
Share Your Hobby
You collect for a reason. Hopefully, part of that reason is that it is fun, relaxing and creates a sense of accomplishment. Aren’t those attributes worth sharing with someone? If you have kids, that’s obviously a natural place to start and can have the potential of developing into a lifelong bonding experience. Maybe you are an uncle with nephews or nieces or perhaps you have cousins? Even if you don’t have family to share your hobby with, libraries, park districts, community centers and YMCA’s are often open to hosting programs that help children and teens learn about various hobbies. You don’t have to be the end-all-be-all expert to share your passion for sports collecting with others.
Attend an Event
Get out and about, whether it’s a small mall show, moderate sized regional event, or the annual National Sports Collector’s Convention to experience the big picture of the sports collectibles hobby by getting to know new dealers, vendors and even manufactures.
Whether it’s a small mall show, moderate sized regional event, or the annual National Sports Collector’s Convention, get out and experience the big picture of the sports collectibles hobby by getting to know new dealers, vendors and even manufactures. Additionally, the opportunity these events provide for you to engage with other collectors can’t be replicated behind the anonymity of a computer keyboard or in your local hobby shop. Those venues will always have their place for day-to-day involvement, but meeting collectors in other markets also provides you new trading and networking partners when searching for that one elusive, must-have item.
Whatever state your collection is currently in or your level of involvement with your hobby stands, make a positive change this year. In the end you’ll be happy that you did.
Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.
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