Sports Cards Uncensored is hosting another Blog Bat Around and I figured I ought to give it a whirl.
The topic is: What item is the centerpiece of your collection?
Obviously this is a difficult question. Centerpiece can be interpreted in a number of ways. For instance, what's my most valuable card (no idea), most valuable set (no idea), or even most valuable insert (again, no idea). Centerpiece can mean what item do I show off the most or display most prominently (none really). Centerpiece can mean what item did I build my entire collection around, whether that is a certain team or player (again, none). In all the strict definitions of what a centerpiece can mean, I pretty much struck out swinging as they say.
So what is my centerpiece? I think that question doesn't have a good answer. But if you rephrase it to what does my collection center on I probably have a more satisfactory answer, and that is sets.
I began collecting cards when my dad used to buy me a pack or two from the grocery store in the late 80s. By the early 90s, the card companies were producing more cards than they could ever sell - but that was ok by me since I used to get 1991 Score packs 4 or 5 for a dollar at the supermarket - and as a kid, that's awesome.
I will mention that this 1987 Topps Reds Leaders card (dinged corners and all) is (and will always be) one of my all-time favorite cards. This is the first card I specifically recall my father giving me, and I treasured it from that day forward.
By the mid '90s I was older and cards weren't on the top of my list. In fact, they really weren't anywhere on my list (girls and sports, now those were things that were on my list at that time!). I might have bought a pack or two, but nothing like I do now.
My college years saw me slowly creep back into card collecting. Although I didn't buy a lot of wax, I was able to purchase a few boxes off of eBay (sell any valuable "pulls") and then keep the rest at a relatively low to free net cost. As such, I have a lot of early 2000s cards, but almost nothing of value!
After a few years of paying back college loans, I bought my first pack of 2007 Topps Heritage. From then on, it's been nothing but set chasing for me. Last year, I managed to buy enough cards to complete the 2007 Topps Heritage, Topps Heritage Chrome, and 2007 Allen & Ginter sets. Those were the first sets that I ever completed by hand, and so I believe they are the trio of centerpieces in my collection.
This year, I decided that three sets wasn't enough to try to complete, so I'm working on a ton, including Stadium Club, Heritage (and all of its inserts), Allen & Ginter (and all of it's insert sets), Allen & Ginter mini set, Baseball Heroes, Goudey (and it's insert set), and Masterpieces. While I'm not optimistic that I'll ever finish all of those sets, it has been fun to try and work out trades for the various missing pieces - and that's where this blog originated from.
You see, I for the past three years, I was a regular blogger over at Sporting News. However, a series of unfortunate events, coupled with nonstop petty squabbling over stupid things, forced me to vacate my Sporting News blog. From there, I moved to Blogger and I haven't looked back. Many of my good "blog friends" from Sporting News also found new homes at roughly same time, so we were pretty much the only visitors on each others blogs for awhile. However, one day I posted about baseball cards and "Woah" there was an entire blogosphere full of people interested in baseball cards and (better yet) trading baseball cards...
My blog has slowly transformed from a place to post about the Cincinnati Reds to a place to post about my Reds, baseball cards, cooking, and whatever else I feel like talking about for the day. While my blog certainly isn't among the most popular out there, nor does it look like I'll ever retire off of my AdSense income (all $7.87 of it), I've enjoyed my time spent writing my blog and reading others (and all the resulting trades and comments).
I'm sure that if I continue buying cards that someday I'll pull a card that I will be able to claim as my "centerpiece". In fact, I had a card in my possession once that would fit that bill (an autographed Hank Aaron card that I got from a hobby shop pack on vacation), but I was young and the $300 off of eBay seemed like more fun than having an autograph sit around while I was in college (before you judge, realize those textbooks are expensive!). Perhaps some day I'll pull another Hall of Fame auto or relic, but until then, my centerpiece will be my sets that I've collected - and hopefully my centerpiece will continue to grow and, at the same time, provide years of exitement and fun for myself and others.