Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Problem with Completing a Set

Or, “Why I’m only trying to build one set at the moment.”

I’m trying to complete the 1975 Topps set. Many people will think it’s an obvious choice. And, it probably is. Personally, there were many things that drew me to this set. It was old. No, it’s not 1956 old. But, old enough to be cool. It looks great. Those colorful borders just scream “build me!” It has a great mix of players. It has some cards of all-stars left over from the 60’s. It has cards of Hall-of-Famers from the 80’s. It has current managers as players. It has a card for a pinch runner. It has rookies of all-stars and Hall-of-Famers. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive. These days, I’m not spending $100 on any of the cards. Especially since I’m pretty lax with my condition requirements. It’s just perfect.

My problem? I’m not done with the set, and I’ve already used up the coolness factors. I don’t know how close I am to actually completing it. I haven’t run the numbers. But, let’s say it’s 75% just to have numeric fun. That means I still have 100 or so cards to get. But, that means I already have lots of them. So, I have several hundred cards that are “old.” I have several hundred cards that are “colorful.” I have a stack of stars left over from the 60’s like Yaz and Aaron. I have some cards of future stars like Nolan Ryan. I have rookies of Hall-of-Famers like Jim Rice. I have future managers. I even have a pinch runner. So, the only things I have left are to get more cards of stuff I already have.

How do other people deal with this?

I hear people say they want to complete a set because they like the design. But, after you get 500 of them, don’t you have a pretty good collection of a great design? I even purposely haven’t gotten the Robin Yount card yet. I wanted to make that my last card. That way I wasn’t hunting around for some middle reliever from the Angels just to finish the set. I wanted my last card to be something I’d have the desire to actually chase down.

But, that doesn’t seem to be helping.

Sure, I’m still “building” the set. I just don’t have the oomph to do something about that goal. If the choice comes down to getting another old colorful card of some Tiger, or a Red Sox card from a set that I don’t have any of…I’m taking the latter.

Which might by why I haven’t completed a set since the junk wax era. For those sets, it was almost impossible not to complete it just by the amount of packs I was opening. Most of the time, it was done before the season even started. That set-less span is weird, because I’m a “set completer” in other areas of my life. I have every book written by Michael Crichton, because I needed to have them all. But, I suppose, each of those books were distinctly different. So, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not actually a set collector.

Or, maybe I just need a new strategy.

How do you find the motivation to complete a set?


  1. I've been dealing with some similar issues over the past couple of years, and if I were you I'd put 1975 on the back-burner for now and work on something else. If a complete 1975 set is something that's meant to be, then you'll come back to it.

    ...But since you're looking for motivation to finish something that's supposed to be enjoyable, then I wonder if that will happen.

    We're all doing this because it's fun, and completing sets can be part of that fun... but it's not necessary. If you're having fun completing the set and if you think you'll get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction out of completing it, then go for it.

    But if you're doing it out of sense of obligation,well... the only person you're really obligated to is yourself, and if you don't want to do it, don't do it.

    Maybe someone else will give you another perspective, but my own thoughts on it is if "close enough" works for you, then don't fight it.

  2. I've gotta admit... I'm not a huge fan of building sets. I just don't have the patience or the money. I'm one of those guys who would rather just buy a complete set on eBay... in other words pays someone else to do the work.

    Does it take the fun out of it? Yeah. Do I lose the cardboard experience? Yup. But it saves me two things that are very valuable to me: time & money.

    Now if I were in your situation, there's no way I could leave it unfinished. As much as I love money... I can't live with loose ends.

    But that's what makes our hobby great... so many types of collectors, so many different options for us too.

    Okay... I'm off to finish building the 15 to 20 different sets that I should have just purchased off of eBay ;-) Happy Holidays!

  3. I can Definetly help you out with the '75 set. Also can help with some of your 70's Sox want lists. Send me your address. I've also sent you an email.


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