There’s one thing that really intrigues me. Human behavior. I can spend all day observing how we as humans communicate verbally and non-verbally. So it made me ask myself, and I pose the same question to you, what type of collector are you?
If you get a chance talk to a baby-boomer (someone born between 1946-1965) about baseball card collecting.
I’m sure you’ll hear plenty of stories of how they were purchased for pennies, how they traded them, played with them, and put them on their bike spokes so that it would make that cool clicking noise.
An entire generation that enjoyed the infant stages of collecting baseball cards. Proudly storing them in shoe boxes or cigar boxes only to have that enjoyment thrown in the trash by mom. Oh, the agony! I’m sure we’ve all felt the sting. “If only I still had those cards!”
Well, a lot has changed in 60 years, the hobby has evolved from penny packs with a piece of gum to on-card auto super-fractors.
From the way we make them to the way we purchase them has changed. From the way we store them and protect them from how we handle them.
Collectors have changed too. In fact, today’s collector has evolved in such a way that one can identify certain behaviors and or mannerisms.
I recently read an article by Aaron Albert, Investing In Comic Books, in this article he explains 10 types of comic book collectors, and some of them apply to collecting sports cards.
So it has influenced me to convert that concept to 10 types of sports card collectors. Ready! Here we go!
10 Types of Sports Card Collectors
This person lacks the knowledge or information about sports cards needed to even be considered a collector. They’re uninformed and unaware of hobby etiquette.
They’ll tell on themselves when they speak and may even try to sell you a huge collection of late 80’s early 90’s commons which you’ve noticed barely has minor stars in it. This collector is either ignorant or they think you are.
The Cardboard Heir
This collector has inherited their collection, they may or may not consider becoming a collector themselves but before they decide they want to know how much its worth and how quickly it can be sold?
If they decide to sell there are two extremes, one is a dump and run or they’ll want more than top dollar for the collection.
This type of collector may find it difficult to trust what you’re trying to explain to them or they may be wrestling with some type of sentimental value.
The Artist views sports cards and memorabilia as museum pieces. They are the administrator of their own art collection. They enjoy and have a trained eye in card design.
They’ll take extra steps in protecting and storing their collections. They also take pride in displaying their collections with custom frames hung with the utmost thought and care.
The Part-Timer starts collecting something then stops. After a short layoff, they’ll come back and collect something completely different.
They have a short attention span and quickly loses interest. Eventually, they’ll accumulate a little bit of a lot of different cards but overall their collection has no rhyme or reason.
This collector has to be aware because contentment can become an issue. When we are discontent nothing we collect will satisfy us. The best thing to do is to write down everything that interests you, is it autographs, rookie cards, a certain player, a team?
Make a list and choose the one that means most to you. In other words, collect what you really like.
The Average Joe
Joe really enjoys their collection. They understand the importance of taking care of their cards but eventually, they end up in closets, basements, attics, or garages inside of some type of plastic bin.
This collector has many stories of nostalgia and because of that they may be emotionally invested in their collection and struggles with the thought of selling them. Often times, unfortunately, their collections do not have the value they think it does.
Investing deals in the purchasing, selling, and/or trading of high-end, high-grade, high-priced items. They do not get emotionally vested in their collections because they know that when the price is right they will sell oftentimes for great profit.
These deep pocket collectors are trendsetters in the hobby because there buying and selling influences market values.
Cardboard fanatics can be sometimes viewed as obsessive. They hunt until they get every card for whatever niche they’ve got their sights on and have detailed spreadsheets or handwritten checklist to keep track of progress.
Fanatics are over the top when it comes to protecting and storing their collections and love to talk cards for hours at a time if you’re willing to listen. They are active in many social media platforms and often share their viewpoints. A player or team collecting may be their forte.
This collector wants to buy low so they can sell high. It’s all about fast money so they try to stay a step ahead of the “Hype Machine” so they can predict who is going to be the next big thing or predict that next product that everyone is wanting.
This collector often offends card dealers and shop owners because they will typically give extreme low ball offers so they can flip for profit. Their specialty is in prospecting and current rookie classes.
The ebayer loves the thrill of the auction. If selling they follow their auctions closely and love to see the price increase.
If buying they send sellers low ball offers but what they enjoy most is seeing a good thing go for low dollar amounts, this is when they get their biggest thrill as they stalk auctions and in the last few seconds, they pounce with a bid.
Sometimes they lose and at times they win, and this brings around the clock thrills, as eBay is an endless resource for sports card ebayers.
The Wise Guy or Gal
The wise guy/gal can see themselves in most if not all of the above characteristics at some point but now they are the seasoned veteran collector, the ones who have taken their lumps on the head and have learned a thing or two about sports card collecting.
They are patient and don’t buy into “The Hype Machine.” They understand that collecting is a marathon and not a 40-yard dash.
They have a balanced realistic view between collecting and life responsibilities, and are financially stable but still only make wise purchases. You can read more about this topic here: Being a Wise Collector
So, I pose the question again. What type of collector are you? You may find that your a combination of at least a couple and that’s okay. The goal of this post is to stimulate thought and have a little fun. Hopefully, that’s what we achieved.
Happy Collecting Collectors,
Learn. Collect. Enjoy.