8 Card Collecting Tips to Make the Hobby More Fun

Card collectors sometimes get caught trying to become “card investors”, which is a nice thing that our spouses would certainly appreciate. But why did we first become card collectors? Because it was fun! (Unless you’re only interested in it as an investor, which means your pleasure is measured in dollars, which… I get it.) But for pleasure-seekers, if we can increase the pleasure without increasing the costs, so we’re all for it. !

I spoke to industry experts and card enthusiasts to help compile this list of the top 8 ways to make the hobby more fun – from getting involved in online communities to embracing your love of the Topps Holiday line!

1. Get involved in an online community

Be it Twitter, Reddit, Facebook groups, Discord or any other social media chat platform, card collecting groups are everywhere. Start reading, commenting, and sharing your collection, and you’ll find that your happiness will increase in two ways: you’ll be happy with your friends’ discoveries, and you’ll be happy when they’re excited about your discoveries. The card community is like your grandfather’s handkerchief – it’s mostly clean, with just a few boogers. But the ratio between the good and the bad definitely favors the friendly.

Nando Di Fino and I are in a text group with Michael “Big Hurc” Hurcomb and Dave Richard, two guys we used to work with at CBS Sports, and we often share good finds, things we discovered, ask questions , etc. On Monday, for example, Hurc sent us a tweet from CardPurchaser about the delivery of the Blaster Prizm football box. Another cool benefit is that your friends learn what you like/collect, and when they find something, they immediately share it with you. Nando, for example, loves holiday-themed versions! (Note from Nando: How could you not?). Find some friends who collect and create your own text group!

Jeremy Fullerton, brand manager at The Topps Company, mentioned the Clubhouse app as a great gathering place for card collectors. “Lots of knowledge about hobbies and tons of different personalities,” he suggested.

Random note on Facebook groups: Don’t just join a “card collecting” Facebook group. Join a few of them to see which one resonates with you and join some that are specific. For example, there are Facebook groups for SGC Rated Cards, HGA tiles and even one for Topps Heritage Short Prints & Autos.

2. Rainy Day Tears

I think I first saw this on Reddit, where the user explained how he’ll take a pack from every box he opens, including blasters, etc., and set it aside for a future tear. I loved the idea! One commenter mentioned that you just have to be careful with redeem cards that might expire, which would be heartbreaking. But maybe if you rip these packs within six months of buying the box, you should be fine.

3. Join the PSA Set Registry

This free card collecting app is a must have if you have PSA rated cards. As you build your collection, you can join the community trying to collect different subsets, like “Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback Rookies (1980s Topps)”, “Legends of the NBA: 25 Best Players of the 1990s”, “MLB Top 50 Home Hitters of All Time”, etc. As you enter your cards (your phone just scans them) you will be competing against all the other collectors for the best rating and the highest rating on this subset. It’s great fun!… And addicting!

Jeremy Fullerton, Brand Manager at The Topps Company: “After 15 years of working at Topps and more than 35 years of collecting, sometimes you have to find a new project to reinvigorate yourself. I decided to start collecting the first Topps sports trading cards, 1951 Topps Ringside, which focuses on boxers and wrestlers. I’ve set up a PSA set registry and want to complete the set with level 3 or higher cards. I am currently just under 20% complete. I regularly scour eBay and other trading card auctions for new cards to add to my deck and hope to find a few at the National in Atlantic City in late July.

4. Collect cards that make you happy

It sounds stupid and self-explanatory, but – I’ll explain what I mean. Just because a card is more valuable than other cards, if you’re not into it, don’t get it. For example, I like Rookie Donruss Optic Rated cards much more than Prizm Rookie cards, which are mostly more valuable. RR cards touch my nostalgia for the 80s and 90s, so they bring me more joy. When I can afford the Donruss Optic versions I buy them, but otherwise I only settle for the Donruss versions.

Ryan Hickey, Deputy Brand Manager at The Topps Company: “I collect every Cubs card I come across, but more specifically, I like the Topps Flagship Independence Day Parallel #/76. The design, as well as the color of the team correspond to the Cubs. makes a great card. I am currently working on the team that has been in place since the launch of Independence Day in 2017.”

Kyle Maslan, Deputy Brand Manager at The Topps Company: While cards can often be used as an investment and increase in value over time – if you collect cards from players that make you happy, even if their monetary value decreases from where you bought them, you get another value from the card if it evokes good memories associated with a certain player or event. (Editor’s note: Great story on this topic by Questlove)

5. Collect your favorite player, even if they are not superstars

I’m a Bucs fan, and Mike Alstott is the greatest player in the history of the sport and I say he can beat your favorite player! (Maybe I’m biased.) But his cards aren’t that precious… except in my heart (Oh boy). Which players excited you when you were a kid? Bucky Dent and Mark Grace made me love baseball as a kid, and neither did big-money rookie cards. Again, collect the cards that make you smile!

6. Collect for someone else!

I don’t mean collecting for me, which could be really fun for you! I mean, start a collection for the kids in your family, whether it’s your own son/daughter/nephew/niece, or it’s a friend’s kid — help their collection! One particularly good thing to do is buy a full set of their birth year, or specific rookie cards from that year. Then you can give it to them as a gift later. The great thing about this is that even if you didn’t when they were born, you can still buy this set, or cards from this set now, and give it as a gift.

Ryan Hickey, Deputy Brand Manager at The Topps Company:My dad introduced me to sports card collecting at an early age. He’s a Minnesota Twins fan who collects Topps team sets from 1961 to present, so whenever I’m lucky enough to pick up Twins cards that match his set, I do. We both put together different players and teams, so it makes for a good duo of card shows looking through the bargains.

7. Try to complete a set of player base cards

If you collect all the base cards of a player from the 70s or 80s, you’re not looking at a huge number of cards. But if you collect a player in the last 20 years, you’ll probably have to cut back on what you plan to collect.

For example, if you decide to collect Mike Schmidt cards, you only plan to buy his Donruss, Fleer and Topps cards throughout his career. But if you’re trying to collect Steph Curry cards, you might need to focus that collection on one Panini brand, like Prizm or Donruss, and then move on to another brand once you’ve collected all the base cards and maybe some inserts and parallels.

You can also choose to chase the rainbow (get all colored parallels) on a player – hopefully not a superstar if you don’t have deep pockets. For example, even though Wander Franco is the Rays superstar, I can cheaply create a rainbow for his teammate, Brandon Lowe.

The thing is, you want to try and build a collection that’s hard to put together, but not impossible!

Kyle Maslan, Deputy Brand Manager at The Topps Company: “If you have a favorite player, who collects all of their base cards throughout a year, you’ll likely have a very cool collection of cards with images capturing them in all facets of their game. Especially if you expand that searching through the seasons, this can serve as a time capsule to see how a player grows and evolves from their first year, usually in their early twenties, to their final season – potentially in their late thirties or early twenties 40.”

8. Review parts of your collection once a month!

When collecting cards, sometimes you can’t stop thinking about the next card you plan to get. That’s probably the case with anything, for that matter – even money! But if you stop looking forward, take the time to look back – browse different parts of your collection each month. This could mean reviewing your cards from a sport, a set, a year – just rotate what you’ll be watching each month and you’ll enjoy your collection more than obsessing over what you don’t. don’t have.

Kyle Maslan, Deputy Brand Manager at The Topps Company:The sport is an ever-changing landscape – there are always players who come out of nowhere to become fan favourites, and sometimes MVP candidates. If you take the time and review parts of your collection from time to time, you’ll likely find RCs, or parallels of players who didn’t catch your eye a year ago, but are now contributors significant. They might now be worth breaking out of a box and into a top loader or fingerboard, and potentially worth moving to fund other cards you might get more enjoyment out of.

Do you have other ways to enjoy your collection that you can share with us? Let us know in the “Comments” section!

(Best Photo Images via Topps, Panini, Leaf)

Lance B. Holton