Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Competitive Personalities Affect Our Collections

I have always tried to find out what makes casual collectors into hardcore collectors, and I am probably not the only one to try to figure it out. Its a lot about the way that some people like me only collect the cards we like, where others need to have every one of a certain type of card or player. I think it comes down to a lot of things why some people form the habits they do, but one of them should come down to their competitive nature.

Personally, Im hugely competitive. I want to be the best at anything and everything I can possibly be. When I started this blog, I wanted it to be the most visited, when I started my Peterson collection, I wanted it to be the craziest, when I took my job, I wanted to become CEO. Its always about being at the top of the mountain. In most of my endeavors, I have become pretty close to where I want to be. My blog and collections are doing great, my position at the company is rising, and most importantly, im still looking for my next fix of competition.

Im sure most of you are feeling the same way about your collection, otherwise, why would you have 12.523 Twins cards stashed away in your closet? Right? Its so that when someone asks you about the level of your commitment, you can say with pride that you have amassed a ridiculous collection. You get that level of envy from that person, and you also can appease your own inhibitions to become the best at collecting those cards.

Of course, I believe that this is only one of many things that would cause a person to start collecting the way they do. However, with so many of us competing to be the best at what we collect, pasting on message boards, starting blogs, doing everything we can to show other people, it comes through as competitive nature.

Im also not advocating that having a competitive streak is a bad thing, as long as its not impeding on your life. Yet, I would say that without it, collecting is probably going to be pretty fruitless if you dont have someone to share in your appreciation - online or not.

If I were a betting man, I would expect that in the future, companies will try to capitalize on this phenomenon more than they have in the past. Yes, the serial numbers on cards can post a starting point for sparking collectors' competitive natures, but I have a feeling they will start catering to it even more. Topps has already started assigning points on football cards by rarity, and though they havent led to anything, they are there. How long before there is a national data base of people who have the most Ken Griffey Jr cards, or the best Joe Mauer collection? Im going to say it wont be long, even if its in the form of a site like If someone really wanted to be a trailblazer, they would start a new site like that, and I would guess someone will. Im not talking about the Beckett graded registry or anything like that, im talking rated collections by collectors for collectors. I mean, wouldnt it be amazing to see how your collection stacks up against the rest of the world? I think it would be quite cool.


  1. I really couldn't care less about anyone on the internet thinks of my collection, and I don't know many in person who care, either! And to be honest, I'm not impressed with random 'strangers' much, either. I think people get too carried away with their collecting sometimes, as there is definitely a fine line between 'serious' and just straight up weird. I just collect what I like, and I think I've crossed into "serious" collecting because the hobby can be addicting and I definitely have an addictive personality.

  2. If we didn't care about what other people think, we wouldn't post on blogs and forums.

  3. There are many, many collections that impress the hell out of me. Most of them are set collectors who have huge libraries or they have hunted down every last A&G variation/insert/etc they could (good friend of mine is like that). I also enjoy collections that are unique and eclectic. However, I've never been envious of a card. Not once. I've liked a lot of cards, sure, but I never felt envy. I'm a random collector with a mild case of ADD. Growing up in the antique/collectible business has made me that way. I never hold on to anything for long, and I often change my focus when I get bored. I build little collections, share them/sell them/give them away. What I'm serious about is the hobby ITSELF. I think we have one of the best communities of collectors on the planet and I want to see it stay that way. I blog because it's fun. I'm not going to impress anyone with on-card autos of whozits, oddball sets from Kahn's hot dogs, or a box of old crappy comics, you know? However, Gellman, I totally understand and respect where you come from. There is a lot of prestige to be had in this hobby (as in all hobbies). I understand the competitive urge. Me? I'm just a lazy collector. :)

  4. I agree with Priceless Pursuit. The Joy is in the collecting. There are several aspects I like about collecting cards.

    I like seeing the new cards each year. Collecting vintage cards has helped me pick up a lot of history of the game. discussing baseball and cards with other folks is very enjoyable.

    Really, When you get down to it how many people other than other collectors are going to be impressed with a trading card collection.

  5. I think a lot of people collect cards (and other things) because they have addictive personalities. That is why they have previously collected (or still do) other things, such as stamps or comics. In many ways it is like having an addiction to gambling, though it tends to be less destructive (though in some cases it is as destructive).

    I definately have an addictive personality, and over the years this has manifested itself in many different ways - when I was younger I collected stamps, then cards, then books (which I complusively read), DVDs (which I compulsively watched), then did weights (2 hours every night - those were the days, when my body could handle it), then chatting in chat rooms all night, then back to DVDs and now back to cards.

    Do I spend too much money on cards? Without a doubt. However the positive thing is that is that these addictions have not negatively impacted on my life. I was always a high academic achiever, and in the last 10 years of my working life I have got to where few people my age get, with most being a good 10 to 20 years older than me. It also hasn't been a hindrance in having relationships (though work and study have at times).

  6. I was going to say the same thing Alex! I think the addiction part is a hug aspect of the hobby! We are always on the lookout for the next best thing! I am also a big Olympic Pin collector, which is another addiction of mine!!

  7. I enjoy viewing the impressive collections of people, usually via Sports Card Forum. There are a number of passionate player collectors there, and seeing what they have accomplished, the sheer number or recent high-end acquisitions, helps inspire me to improve my player collections too. I know my collection pales in comparison to those of some other individuals, but I also believe mine is something to be proud of. Having some kind of resouce like what you're describing would be good, but I already have some of that knowledge and have seen some impressive player collections over at Sports Card Forum.