Let's be realistic here. I am never going to finish 1952 Topps. That Mantle card is not in my budget. Even if I won the lottery, I still wouldn't drop that kind of coin on a baseball card.
But, I do believe I can finish a large number of these sets. In fact, here is my progress after about 7 years collecting.
I stop at 1979 because that was the last set I was exposed to in my youth and the Topps sets after 1980 don't really appeal to me aesthetically (1983 is okay, but that is really about it.)
The chart above is slightly misleading. I have completed 1974. Sort of. I am one card short of the master set. I have all the checklists and traded series, as well as all the Washington Nat'l League variants. The one card I don't have is the San Diego large print variation of card 599. I have never got it because it usually sells for over $30 and I have a hard time paying that much for what is essentially a nondescript common. But, I probably should get over that.
Anyways, my main focus at this time is 1970 and 1972. I hope to finish at least one, but ideally both, in 2018.
2. 1960 to 1963 Fleer Baseball Autographed Sets
This didn't start as an autograph project. I always liked 1963 Fleer and decided to build it. That led to building 1960 and 1961, even though I am not enamored with their design. On a lark, I sent a couple '63s out to a signing and off we went with trying to rebuild that set in autographed form. As that project slowed, I decided to extend the project to the earlier Fleer sets.
Here is my progress to date. Note that many card subjects in 1960 and 1961 died prior to the set being issued, so I measure progress against the number of cards of players who were living when the sets were issued:
3. Player Collections (Paul Blair and Johnny Antonelli)
I am up to 124 unique Paul Blair cards and 62 Johnny Antonelli. There isn't much left to add to these. There are a couple O-Pee-Chee Blairs I need and I still need a Jello Antonelli. I am sure there are some regional issues out there yet unknown to me. There are number of unlicensed issues that basically consist of cut autos in card form. They are generally issued in small numbers (I hate artificial scarcity and will not reward it) and they generally don't ever feature actual photographs of the actual person. So, I don't collect those.
4. Various Modern Sets that catch my fancy
I pretty much avoid modern sets. As I have said, all the variations and short print artificial scarcity just ticks me off and I'd rather focus my limited funds on vintage. Occasionally though, a modern set will cut though the noise and interest me. Here are the ones I am (sorta) working:
- 2009-2011 Tristar Obak.
- 2000-2004 Fleer Greats of the Game. I don't include 2006, because it was the first GOTG set after Upper Deck bought out Fleer and, frankly, it had absolutely none of the charm of it's predecessors. In fact, it has no charm whatsoever
- 1991-1994 Conlon. The first three years are complete.
- 1993-1994 Ted Williams
5. Various Vintage Oddballs
I actually have more of these than I expected. My approach to collecting has been to maintain focus on a small number of priorities. That is what I thought anways. It is true, in a sense, since I still place much of my collecting effort on only one or two Topps vintage sets at any given time and the Fleer autograph project. But, dang, I've got a lot of things open.
- 1959 Fleer Ted Williams
- 1961 Golden Press
- 1968 Topps Game
- 1970 Kelloggs
- 1978 TCMA The 1960s
- 1972 Sunoco Football Stickers
- 1974-75 Loblaws Hockey Stickers
What I am listening to: The Perilous Night by Drive-By Truckers