I am a big Kevin White collector. I currently have no Kevin White cards, even though he has items from both Leaf and Sage out there. There’s a reason that while a collector, I have no cards yet.
Last week Panini posted a blog previewing the upcoming Panini Contenders Draft Picks football and then this morning posted about cards that will be available at tomorrow’s NFL Draft. There were a couple images of Kevin White cards. Being a WVU alum, I will be picking up quite a few. While I wish that Upper Deck still had the college license, it is what it is.
I am a hockey guy, for the most part. I do have what I consider a pretty solid collection of former Mountaineers in their WVU uniforms. It’s not anywhere close to updated, but you can see what I have uploaded here. I love my alma mater and college football in general. However, I couldn’t possibly be less interested in what happens in the NFL. Over the last few years, I have bought s few boxes of Upper Deck Football and SP Authentic from Baseball Card Exchange in Indianapolis. However, I’ve decided that I’m not busting football boxes anymore. I will get into that a little more later.
If you’re going to collect players in their college uniforms, there are some things you should ask yourself.
1) How many players are you actually looking to collect?
2) What are you collecting for? Fun? Resale value?
3) Do you trade (online or in person) a lot?
4) Who are the items for?
5) Are you trying to get EVERYTHING of a particular player or are you collecting more casually?
6) When should I buy singles?
To me, these are some of the questions that can help you determine the best way to go about things. Perhaps busting boxes isn’t in your best interest and you can put that money into singles and actually better your personal collection.
How many players are you looking to collect?
Is your alma mater or favorite school one that has just a guy or two in the product? If so, perhaps eBay, Collector Revolution, COMC, Sports Card Forum or even <GASP!> actual card shows are the best way to go for you. Why spend $80-100 on a box, if you can spend less than $20 bucks and get (most of) the cards you want? Think of what you can do with that extra money to actually better your collection. Don’t forget the added space benefit. There aren’t many collectors who just have an abundance of room to store cards they don’t want.
However, if you are an Alabama fan and there are ten Crimson Tide players in a particular product, the fun of busting boxes is much easier to justify. In my case, collecting WVU players only, it’s a good year if there are two guys in the product. Many years there is only one, or none.
The card companies are also working with individual players and/or reps. Sometimes, even high draft pics don’t make it into products. Sadly, there are no Bruce Irvin cards of him pictured in his WVU uniform. Upper Deck, SAGE and Press Pass all failed to make it happen. It’s not as though Irvin was a third round pick (and we know plenty of those guys make it into product). He was drafted 15th overall by the Seattle Seahawks.
What are you collecting for? Fun? Resale value?
Sorry if I insult any readers, but if you bust boxes thinking that you’re going to make money, you are dumb. This rarely happens and most collectors know this. It’s also the wrong reason to be in the hobby, but I will save that for another day.
If you’re going to bust with hopes of making money, college sets are NOT the way to go. With few exceptions, these cards level out and end up worth much less than their counterpart NFL sets. There are more people collecting players in NFL uniforms. It’s as simple as supply and demand.
Do you trade (online or in person) a lot?
Selling online isn’t really a good idea for most cards. If you get 50% of book value out of your cards, you are lucky. Most of the time you end up selling them at a lot less. The best thing to do is trade online. In my case, I mostly bust hockey. I don’t have a lot of traders and I have a very limited want list. Also, it IS very time consuming to trade online. I spend a lot of time on hockey and just don’t have more to spare to trade off football cards.
Another option you might have is local card shows. My experience is that for a one day show, tables are in the $35-50 range. There is a lot of time and money that goes into getting ready for a show if you’ve never done it. Then, there’s the question of even making your table money back. Unless you set up consistently or have a lot of high dollar, desirable items, this isn’t always the best option.
If you aren’t doing any of these things, what are your options for “dead” items that you have? I mentioned it earlier, but most of us don’t have an abundance of space.
Who are the items for?
Are the cards for you, or for junior? Most of us love the autographs, jerseys and low numbered items. If the cards are for your son or daughter, why not just buy them some base cards if they are new to collecting. Heck, buy a lot of cards and give them to the kids on junior’s baseball team.
I started collecting at eight and took very good care of my cards. As I’ve become an adult, I’ve been around enough kids that age to learn that I was likely the exception.
Are you trying to get EVERYTHING of a particular player or are you collecting more casually?
If you want it ALL, then obviously you have to be buying from the start. There’s no time that more product is opened at once than in the first few days. Odds dictate this being the most likely time for the rare cards to make it to online marketplaces. This also means you’ll shell out more money, but if you want an item, sometimes you pay more than you want to or know that you should.
If you’re collecting casually, there’s no need to jump in early. Let others overpay! A couple of weeks down the road, you will be able to pick items up at a much more discounted price. Your “competitors” have picked theirs up (likely at a higher price) and moved on.
When should I buy singles?
I will just go ahead and assume that every person reading this is like me and has just wondered “How does that guy have the money to pick up all of that stuff. I can’t compete.” Those of us that can’t dedicate endless amounts of money to our habit…errrr….I mean “hobby,” need to use an adage I adapted from an old job. “Work smarter, not harder” was something we heard weekly. I just started telling myself to “collect smarter.”
Don’t buy items over the next few days. NFL fans of the team that drafts White will be looking to pick up some pieces of their new receiver.
I tend to buy items that I know will be readily available later, once the price has come down. Many times, I can find WVU players at card shows in quarter or dollar boxes. Why spend three dollars to ship one, just to have it a week after release? If you’re looking for base cards and can wait, consider comc.com. While you might pay more for an individual card, a flat $3 shipping fee saves you money. You can buy, they will hold, and when you want to ship, you just add $3. Most times that’s the fee for one card on eBay. Multiply that buy buying 20 different cards and you’ve spent $60 on shipping alone. Meanwhile, you could spent that extra $57 on CARDS instead of shipping on COMC.
You may have other ideas that I didn’t address. Heck, maybe I didn’t even think of them. Feel free to let us know how YOU collect players from your favorite school.
Happy collecting and enjoy this weekend’s #NFLDraft.