Sunday, January 2, 2011

How close is "close enough to build the set"?

Just a quickie, text-only post here, because I'm tired and don't feel like running downstairs to scan cards, and it's really a one-question post. Assuming you're not committed to collecting a set as soon as it gets released, at what point do you say "ahhh, the hell with it" and build a set? Is there a certain percentage of completion that you hit? Do you wait until you've locked up the key cards, and then go for it? Or, are you among the more sensible people who stand your ground and refuse to hunt down every card in a set that you're not absolutely in love with?

I got started on this train of thought today because of my Topps Update haul from the weekend. I'm at 80/330 after 2 rack packs and some random grabs from the singles piles at card shops. Last year, I built update because I impulse-bought a cheap hobby box of it, and got within about 20 cards of finishing the set from that. This year, I'm not as close and not quite as motivated, but I am warming up to the '10 design more than I thought I would. Is just under 25% enough for you to step up and build, on a set of 330 cards?

Another partial I'm dealing with: I've got a lot of this year's Score football set too, but while I'm definitely interested in finishing that, I'm kinda tired of opening packs of it, I didn't land Bradford or Tebow in the packs I did open and there's not a lot in the way of Score singles laying around in my area. (Anyone who went nuts opening Score football this year, get ahold of me!) How long do you sit with something like that, where you've got a bunch, but either don't feel like buying a bunch of product (which could lead to a bunch of doubles) or don't have access to any more product without jumping through hoops for it?

Final example: I was also just looking through my '08 and '09 Goudeys. Now, I loved the '07 set (and completed red and green base on it; still working on those high numbers...), but the subsequent years, not as much. Somehow, maybe out of habit, maybe out of hoping that I'd warm up to the set design eventually (I still haven't, even if the checklist is pretty good), I ended up with 87 cards from the '08 set and about 50 from the '09 set, which I'm totally flat on. I'm probably not going to in either of these cases, but have any of you ever built a set that you were totally lukewarm on, just for completism's sake?

Definitely curious as to where y'all stand on this one. Let's hear about it in the comments!


  1. How close?

    A. If I really like it.
    B. If I can find a cheapo box or a couple of cheap blasters.
    C. If I somehow get over 100 cards of it - or over 33% of it.
    D. If it's something like Fleer 95, then B or C doesn't count.

  2. I only collect if I really like the set. The number of cards I have in the set doesn't really matter unless I'm super, super close to finishing it off, like say under 75.

    But if it's something like 1987 Topps, I could be 4 cards short and have no desire to see it to completion.

  3. Somehow, despite having probably about 4000 '87s, when I built a set earlier this year, I was 3 cards short. Damn you, Tom O'Malley, Greg Swindell and Dave Magadan.

    It's OK. I have them now.

    Anyone want about 2800 '87 Topps commons?

    Back to sets in general, there are a number of buildable sets I have no desire to complete ('79 Topps might be the most glaring one I can think of; I do have the Ozzie rookie, though), so I'm not collecting everything. When I start to see a bunch of a particular set laying around, though, I do get the itch to see how close I can get to finishing it.

    I actually haven't built (not bought, but built) very many sets at all in my lifetime, considering how long I've been at this on-and-off and especially considering how much crap I bought between '86-'88.

    Sets I've actually built:

    '85-'87 Topps
    '86 Topps mini
    '81 Topps stickers (sadly lost to the ages, but replaced recently)
    '09 Topps Update base
    '07 Goudey green and red base
    '10 Heritage base
    '84 and '86 Topps football
    '86 Topps football 1000 Yard Club
    '86 Fleer basketball (which I eventually sold; I flip-flop between regretting that and not)
    '86 Garbage Pail Kids Series 2b
    '91 WCW
    '90 Marvel Super-Heroes

    Barring any complications, I'll be sorta-adding another built set tomorrow, as the last Gridiron Giveaway Rookie Redemption card hits my local then. Now, for Topps to actually send me all 17 cards...


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