Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Choosing Wisely. Starring Fernando Martinez

Have you ever started collecting a set and then suddenly regained your sensibility?  As in a "There ain't no way I'm ever gonna finish this #$%*ing set!" moment?  Lucidity may come in the form of facts, such as lack of monetary resources or inability to hunt down the necessary cards after exhaustive efforts.  Or both.  

The reason I ask is related to the card you see above.  Not the particular card or player, but the particular set.  

2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary parallel.  


At my local card shop, The Collector's Box in Newark, Del., I routinely go through their 5,000-count boxes in which each card is 50 cents a pop.  Sometimes you find a really good deal in these boxes -- last month I found a 2011 Finest green refractor of David Wright numbered to 199, which I deemed very, very worthy of purchase.  

More often than not, it's usually an assortment of high-end base cards, parallels or inserts of star players from cases of recent product that the owners busted.  I've plucked plenty of nice cards from these boxes over the past few years, mostly to aid my player collections.  Hey, I'd rather fork over 2 bucks for four great cards which I have hand-picked rather than, say, a pack of 2012 Topps that will mostly net me doubles or triples.

So, one fine day earlier this year I was flipping through the penny-sleeved cards and came across a pretty significant run of these cognac beauties.  I'm talking, a whole row-and-a-half.  I excitedly starting pulling cards of my favorite players and other stars and rookies.  David Wright, check.  Josh Hamilton, check.  Joe Mauer, check.  Frank Thomas SP (Oakland uniform), check.  Jose Bautista, check.  Harmon Killebrew SP, check.  Aw hell...former Mets can't-miss-prospect Fernando Martinez, check!  And on, and on.     

Simply, I was seduced.  Specifically, I was seduced into thinking about how amazing would these cards look in nice, clean binder pages...some a complete set.  [Ed. Note: Idiot!]

C'mon, though, can you blame me?!  How amazing are these cards to look at?  Shiny, bright, with a touch of elegance that their silver-parallel cousins didn't inherit.  And, I'm already a big fan of the 2011 Topps design, so what's not to like?

Well, since that initial discovery on that day, I've plucked between 30-40 of these cards which -- I know -- is just about a drop in the ocean towards completing a set.  Especially when you stop to consider that there is a cognac parallel for every 2011 Topps base card (including Update), plus the legends SPs.

Sigh.  Here comes that moment of clarity.

No, I can safely say I will never, ever complete a set of 2011 Topps cognac parallels.  Firstly, it'll be so damn ridiculously expensive.  Fifty cents a card is decent in the scope of buying a few cards of your favorite players, but not so much when you do the math for 900-some cards.  Additionally, even if I were daft enough to shun the math, obviously my local card shop doesn't have every card I would need.  And the prices on eBay for these cards are even worse than 50-cents per card.  Much worse, actually.  COMC is a decent option, I guess, with many of the non-star cards checking in between 18-50 cents.  But, then you have to factor in shipping, etc.

In a word: Doomed!

From here, I guess I have a couple options.  I can just stick with what I have and be happy with that, never entertaining the illusion of set completion.  Or, I can hunker down for the long haul and just chip away at this behemoth over the long haul.  I mean, there is that corner of psychology that speaks to the journey being more satisfying than the destination, right? [Ed. Note: I think that qualifies as psychology.  It's well above our pay grade here.]

Not quite sure of which direction I'll choose, but I sure do like these cards.

[Belated Ed. Note: Wow, I guess I should consult the illustrious Nachos Grande blog on such matters, eh?  How did I miss this??  Anyhow, that's a pretty outstanding job of collecting/marketing!]

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