Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Review

Today is the last day of 2023 and I suppose it is time for reflection on the year and to make some promises to myself for 2024. Logically, there is nothing magical about January 1 with regards to self-assessment and new resolutions.  But, I live a fairly busy life and having a lot of down time at the end of December does give the opportunity to look back...and then forward.  I won't bother you with the personal, though it was generally a better year for me after two lousy years in '21 and '22.  I will stick to the hobby stuff that you are here for:

Overall, 2023 was a good year hobby wise if a bit scattered. I managed to complete two sets during the year:

  • 1955 - I started building this set in earnest in 2013, so this was 10 years in the making.  As I reported earlier, the last card I needed was a common, Gale Wade. The second to last card was Jackie Robinson. 

  • 1969 - I wasn't planning to finish this set in 2023, but I discovered that my bank has rewards program for debit card use and I was able to convert over a years worth of points into a nice pre-paid VISA card.  The last card was Al Downing.

So, the other highlights of 2023 were:

  • Fleer Autograph project - I started the year with 15 signed cards from 1960 and 62 from 1961. I will close out the year with 16 and 70.
  • Started both 1966 and 1967 Topps baseball - I haven't mentioned it here, but I bought a large stack of 1966 and 1967 baseball commons in low to mid-grade for about $0.02 a card. I am planning on working on 1966, but after I sorted through the stack and separated out the cards in G condition or better, I found that I had about 20% of the 1966 set and 35% of 1967. know I said I would probably never build 1967 as the design doesn't interest me, but 35% is pretty far along. So, I may need to hold my nose and build the set. Hopefully, the high numbers are affordable in G to VG condition.
  • Added a few cards to my Paul Blair and Johnny Antonelli collections.  The only one I was actually excited about was a 1960 Topps Venezuelan card of Antonelli that I got dirt cheap.

What does 2024 portend? I have 5 sets I would like to complete:

  • 1958 Baseball - with only 25 cards to go, I am going to prioritize getting this one done.  Having started in 2012 when I bought the Mantle, 12 years is long enough.

  • 1972-73 Basketball - I started this set in 2018 and have 33 cards to completion.

  • 1973 Football - I started this set in January of 2020 and have 24 to go towards completion.

  • 1974 Topps Baseball - Wait, what?  I've said that I've completed the entire Topps run between 1968 and 1979, so what gives?  What gives is that I need one card (599 - San Diego Small Print) to finish the master set.  I rarely see that card for less than $30-$40, which seems excessive for what is essentially a common.  But, I am close enough to completing the master set that I just need to hold my nose and get one.

  • 2009 Tristar Obak - I started the three Obak sets in 2011.  I finished 2010 and 2011 long ago and only need 7 short prints short of finishing 2009.  They don't come available all that often and when they do, the prices are generally unreasonable.  So, I probably should just be happy to make progress.

Beyond that, I will just let the hobby tide carry me and look back in a year to see what else happened.  Though, I would like to post more of my signed 1961 Fleer cards.  The last I posted was 39 and I have 70, so 31 to go.  I won't get through all of them, but one a month seems doable.

Happy New Year to you.  May your 2024 be your best year yet.

What I am listening to:  Auld Lang Syne by The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin


  1. Congratulations on completing the 1955 and 1969 Topps baseball sets. That's fantastic! The progress on those signed Fleer sets is impressive too. Have a safe and happy New Year!

  2. I'm jealous but happy for you. Congrats on finishing your 1969 Topps set. I have three left before mine is completed and they're big ones (Mantle, Bench and Ryan). Plus I've got five white-letter versions to acquire to have all the white-letter variations. Happy New Year to you!

    1. The master set of 1969 doesn't seem bad with only 34 recognized variations, but with one of those variations being Mantle, I would never undertake it. Good luck to you!