By Showtime Sports Cards & Collectibles, Sep 28 2018 09:23PM
What should I collect? If we had a penny for every time we heard that at Showtime, we wouldn't have to sell many cards. New collectors and ones who are returning to the hobby after a decade-plus hiatus typically ask us what are the best cards to collect. It's fascinating because kids never pose the question. They always know their favorite sport and which players they're looking to add to their personal collection. Essentially children are the easiest to find cards for when you know 'oh okay, let's find Julio Jones over here.'
For the new collectors and those just returning, I say they fall into two categories of what products, players, teams and sets you love and then you are looking to gamble on star players who are big money or have Hall of Fame potential. The first grouping is simple when it comes to your team and players that fascinate you. But the product - even for the long-time hobbyists - can cause headaches and anxiety due to the variety of card looks, patches, inserts and price points. For example, when I returned to collecting about 16 months ago after a 20-year break, I went back and collected Jacksonville Jaguars players I loved seeing from 2000-11. From there, I added Orlando Magic stars, autograph cards of athletes I had seen play in person and specific autographed baseballs of my heroes. It's only as hard as you want to make it. Plus, the uniqueness of the collecting community is the willingness of local card shops and fellow shoppers present to help you along the journey.
Now the second type boils down to your gambling spirit, urge to spend on new products and skill at pinpointing the stars of tomorrow. Were you someone who thought Tom Brady would be a legend in his first three seasons? Did you think Patrick Mahomes or Giannis Antetokounmpo would make impacts before they hit 25 years old? Well then, I may need to borrow your crystal ball before my fantasy football draft.
I come back to words of wisdom shared with me when I entered the work force. Love what you do; ask questions; and, don't be afraid to make mistakes. I collect cards and memorabilia I know I will love and can place into a certain three-row box of players or teams I'm chasing. Have conversations with folks immersed in the hobby especially shop owners, vendors and other collectors at monthly shows.
And the mistakes will come but you will bounce back to land a big hit - maybe that Ronald Acuna auto card landed in your lap. Because you know most of us have loads of Barry Bonds and Denard Robinson cards. Have fun with the hobby like you would if you train for a marathon. You may go through a lull next week or after football season ends. However, we'll be running right beside you, and plan to welcome you into this tight-knit community where we all share a passion for sports.
- Richard Miller