Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Retrospective: Changing My Labels

You know, its weird, after talking with a few people yesterday, Im not sure I have the same view about my labels that I once did. I still consider myself to be a card collector, but only secondary to the true reason I love this hobby: autographs. I usually tell people that I am an autograph collector turned card collector, but I still believe that the autograph collector label still applies.

When I first started collecting back in the late 80s, early 90s, I chose specific players and tried to get every single card they had. Kirby Puckett, Tom Glavine, Shane Mack, all those guys. When my dad got to play golf with Wade Wilson ( a former Vikings QB) for a Diabetes fundraiser, I started to collect Wade Wilson cards. However, I didn’t really go after the autographs until my dad showed me his collection. My dad was a TTM freak when he was growing up, writing to every President and Congressman he could think of, athletes, music artists, everyone. He had Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Eisenhower, sometimes with personal letters to him. He had Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, too many to count. At that point collecting the cardboard was secondary. I wanted the autographs.

Within the next five years, due to many opportunities put on by the teams, I had met just about every Twin from the 1991 team, many of the current Vikings, and obtained many autographs the way my dad got them. We went to golf tournaments, signings, card shows, even my uncles in other cities would help us grow our collection. When Music became more important to me, so did getting music autographs. I wasn’t as successful, but I got some from my favorite bands at the time. In fact, even though both my brother and I are past college, our rooms at home are still plastered with framed pieces. My younger sister even has Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, and others. Its crazy.

Now, after entering my 6th year back in the actual card hobby, I still care about autographs more than anything. My shelf creaks with my displays of everything I have. In Minneapolis, I have much more, from Stone Cold Steve Austin all the way through to Kevin Garnett. To me, if you took away every single base card putout in the industry every year, leaving only the autographs, I wouldn’t change a thing about much of my collecting. I have accumulated some fun cards here and there, but 90% of my collection is full of signatures. Does that mean that I don’t love collecting cards of my favorite players that arent autos? No, not at all, its just not as much of a focus. For me, having a signed ball of each of the players on the Minnesota Twins retired numbers curtain is much more important to me than any team set or base set that I could spend years collecting.

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