Happy New Year! 2022 Shifting to 2023

I am pleased to report 2022 has been more than good for me. My workplace is expanding, providing me with a new role that can only be described as the dream job I have chased for the last 20 years. I landscaped the house by hand, a project that was brewing for a couple years.

My health is still intact at 40, an odd age where one can run the range of being mistaken for Tom Brady or asked by shocked acquaintances, “What happened to you?” I am pleased to still find myself more in the former camp, sans the haircut. I dodged Covid for the third year in a row, though it caught up with the rest of the household with only minor effects.

My book reading finally took an upturn after several years of relative decline. I got back to 40 titles this year and hope to return to the pre-2020 pace of one per week if time permits. Within the sports/hobby world I wrapped up reading the copy of Operation Bullpen described in my last update. I’ll have to check out the bookcases in the background of some card collecting videos for future reading list inspiration in this area.

Christmas came and went, complete with one of the largest family gatherings I have seen in years. I normally do not get terribly involved in these events, but they do offer opportunities for fun. There is something immensely entertaining about sipping hot cocoa while watching a young family member try to lie to a homicide detective cousin about how school is going.

Above: This year’s Christmas sweater alongside the wallet cards

Collection Additions & Subtractions

The last three months have been a busy time for my collection. Cards flew in both directions, but as always there was a net inflow of cardboard to my mailbox.

1993 Finest: The last three months subtracted a net 7 refractors from the collection. I continued to sell off previously upgraded duplicates and am now left with only one extraneous card. These sales brought some interesting connections. One card went to a television/film actor, another to an enthusiastic and well-connected hobby presence, and a third to a name that is instantly recognizable as the head of one of the major hobby businesses. All are building the same set and it is interesting company to be in. I did manage to get one card closer to completing my own goal, purchasing the Eric Karros card from yet another set that was being broken up (the fourth in recent months by my count). Eight cards are left to go.

1952 Topps: Most of my recent collecting activity has been centered around the ’52 Topps set. I added 38 cards, consisting of 32 new cards and 6 large step-ups in condition. All but one are commons, though it should be noted several are in excellent condition. Among the half dozen upgrades is the highlight of the last few months: An SGC 2.5 Hoyt Wilhelm rookie. This card looks fantastic with the typical centering issues present and a half-inch crease tucked away in a bottom corner accounting for the grade. It is a sharp improvement over my previous card, one that was literally held together by tape. Upon adding this card I moved the lower-grade duplicate to another collector building the set.

1991 Elite: Someone broke up a nearly complete set of Elite inserts on eBay last month. Another collector kept outbidding my offers, so I decided to focus my resources on just one card. This ended up being the one portraying Cecil Fielder and it was in the best condition of the group. Fielder has a small but apparently very dedicated following that tend to get aggressive in pursuing this card, sending a previous example north of $700. This one changed hands at more than a 90% discount to that insanity and I am pleased to have been the high bidder.

New Set Project: With the Refractor set approaching completion and the pace of potential new additions slowing, I began toying with the idea of working on another set building goal. The 1993 Finest set remains my primary goal and 1952 Topps a close second. There is another set whose cards always arrest my attention when passing. I find them peaceful to look at and they have always stood out. A decision was made to begin building this new set and I picked up 7 commons as a start in October and November. I don’t want to identify the project just yet, but will state that the target is a mid-grade vintage set of about 100 cards. 2023 will see the cards added to this site.

Other Cards: On Christmas Eve I impulse purchased the 2018 Topps Archives Sandlot Autographs of “Yeah-Yeah” McClennan, bringing the set completion percentage closer to 50%. I also added the 1994 and 1995 Finest Refractors of Jose Canseco, as well as a 1948 Leaf boxing card of John L. Sullivan.

The growing number of cards finally tested the limits of my storage case. To that end, I built some wooden storage boxes like the one shown below. More details about this project will be written in another post in early 2023.

CardBoredom Site Changes

This site is always in a state of constant revision and improvement. I am trying to publish new profiles or update existing ones in the order in which cards were acquired, a process that still needs several months to fully catch up with the current state of the collection. A “previous card” and “next card” button is being installed for each page as they are completed so those interested in following the step-by-step completion of various sets can continue the story uninterrupted. The buttons look like this:

Each profile is getting a dashboard showing how a card’s addition changes the completion level of a set. Factors include the nominal completion rate (i.e. X of 199 cards), team representation, as well as figures weighted for relative importance in checklists.

Above: The dashboard for 1952 Topps #12, Monty Basgall

I am also brainstorming ways to make the set progress/checklist pages more engaging, useful, and attractive. This is still a work in progress and I am leaning towards leaving things as they are until I am more caught up on other areas.

2023 Collecting Goals

So what would constitute success in collecting in 2023? Here are the goals I am setting for the new year:

  • Refinish or replace an aging deck at my house, then celebrate by inviting some newly discovered card collecting neighbors for drinks and the opening of a 1990s box of junk wax.
  • Visit at least two card shows
  • Reach 90% completion of the 1952 Topps low-number set, fully completing at least one series in the process. Perhaps get to 75% overall completion.
  • Add four cards to my newest set completion project
  • Add at least one of the missing ’93 Finest Refractors. Stretch goal: Cut down the number of needed cards to just 4
  • Add at least one card each to the 1991 Donruss Elite and 2018 Sandlot Autograph sets
  • Set a new annual record for miles traveled by my wallet cards

These should all be fairly attainable. I have a non-hobby related goal for 2023 and may need to limit expenditures to make it happen, but we will see how the year plays out. Visiting a couple card shows and plunking myself down in front of vintage common bins will be very helpful here. The final goal, miles traveled with a wallet card, will be something I plan to track on an ongoing basis in the future. 2023 will certainly see more travel after the reductions of the last three years. More to come on this when 2023’s wallet cards are revealed in February.