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State of the Hobby 2016
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Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
posted
So it's year end again. I guess this is the time for a little reflection on non-sport cards in 2015 and maybe a few predictions for collecting in 2016. There have been at least a couple of notable shifts and trends this past year and lots to talk about. As always I have attached three general questions to get the ball rolling, but please expand on your thoughts based on what you have experienced in 2015 and what you may see ahead for our hobby looking into 2016.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Question:
Do you expect to spend more or less money on non-sport cards in 2016 than you did in 2015?

Choices:
I expect to spend more money.
I expect to spend less money.
I expect to spend about the same amount.

Question:
What type of non-sport cards are you most likely to buy in 2016?

Choices:
Base cards only.
Sets, including the base, parallals and chase cards.
Autograph cards.
Relics, material, press plates and patch cards.
Sketch cards.
Promo cards.
Combination of the above.

Question:
Do you expect that the demand for non-sport cards will grow in 2016?

Choices:
Yes.
No.
Not sure.

 
 
Posts: 7772 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Contest Czar
Picture of barobehere
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For me, I am going to focus on finishing up the sets my family and I are working on. That means that unless I got a box for a great price or a product I must have to have a box of (which at the moment is only Dr. Who Timeless and my son-Dexter 7/8)I will be picking up singles only for the right price.

My collect everything days are long gone. I have not made a master set in a long time.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: barobehere,
 
Posts: 5626 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: November 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of monkeyafterdark
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I've long been waiting for American Horror Story Asylum. And some more waiting seems to be ahead of me, still. If only I could finish completing the three unnumbered parallel sets of the previous AHS release.
And the rest of my money is probably going to be spent on Doctor Who Timeless. I kept on doubting about Topps' current release, but in the end the card designs really weren't anything I liked. Too close to the Attax cards, as far as I can tell. DW Timeless seems to be a decent improvement.

Perhaps some additional people might enter non-sports with all of the Star Wars hysteria. I doubt, however, that those people will stay for anything else. A short bump in numbers, but then...?
It's an old discussion, but the days that kids would walk into a store to buy a pack or two are long gone. Only leaving us adults and our boxes and cases. Let's be honest, hardly the biotope to attract random new collectors.

That being said, I'm here to stay for now and look forward to what the bigger and smaller publishers come up with this year!

(I really wouldn't mind seeing an actual Valiant Comics release)
 
Posts: 154 | Location: Belgium | Registered: September 21, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of X
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I was going to put "spend about the same" but then I plan to buy a few Trek cards this year and have a few sketch card commissions I would like to get done as well so put "spend more". That said, what I spend comes down to whether or not I like what is produced and if I can afford it at the time. There is no set budget or amount. I don't chase master sets so it is hard to know what you might be chasing/spending from one year to the next when you only go after odds and sods. Thankfully it is a lot less some years to make up for the busier years!

Likely to buy...
- Base sets: still an important part of a release to me and they seem to be of even better quality these days (but will only buy if I like the topic and are not repetitious to what I already have).
- Inserts: I collect parallels of favourite cards (never full parallel sets) and chase cards/sets I like the look of.
- Autographs: my main focus, always on-card signatures apart from the VERY rare exception, I try not to duplicate signatures I already have unless I really like the actor.
- Other 'Hits': will go for what I consider 'cool' relics if not silly money and the odd costume card from favourite characters/scenes again only if cheap. Not that bothered about plates or those weird 'patch'/'medal' cards.
- Sketch cards: not a big focus but pick up the odd one here and there, don't see much I like and what I do see is often too expensive.
- Promos: I have always loved collecting promos, I go after all promos for Bond sets and really enjoy plugging away at the numerous gaps in my older sets for other titles. The last couple of years I have really enjoyed picking up more obscure promos and 'premiums' to get signed at conventions. I like this custom aspect to my collection on official cards with real signatures that would otherwise cost a fortune if they were pack inserted.

Will demand grow? I have no idea. I hope so but message boards always seem to paint a doom and gloom picture. I have noticed more kids orientated cards at kiosks/counters in supermarkets and the like which can only be a good thing.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: X,
 
Posts: 3003 | Location: England | Registered: June 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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For the questions . . .

I expect to spend about the same in 2016 as I did in 2015, only because I had already significantly cut back in 2015.

I am most likely to buy targeted certified autograph cards, with the occasional sealed box of a favorite title or a sealed box of an ultra limited product that is not likely to make the secondary market.

I think that demand for non-sport cards will grow and more youngsters will start non-sport card collections, but it will not be hobby wide. I think the demand will be driven by Star Wars, which will dominate the market for several years to come, and to a lesser degree anything associated with Marvel, DC and the comic characters. I see the smaller titles and niche products being greatly reduced, not because they don't sellout, but because the profits garnered from such low print runs aren't enough to support the manufacturer's effort.

For the trends . . .

Star Wars and more Star Wars. Nothing from new retail will ever be worth anything, but a couple of the high end releases might hold value. There may be some backwards demand for the older sets from new SW collectors, but there is a lot of overproduced supply left, so inventory may move without much price increase. I think prices on old autograph cards of the SW stars will go softer because of the increasing supply in new products and because the new SW stars will be of greater demand. There should be some bargains on the mid level star autographs in previous sets.

I think that sketch based products are going to have a hard time selling unless the sketches are truly outstanding on the average card level. The market is oversaturated and even nice work is collecting dust or being dumped. Certain artists will remain in demand and be bankable, but only the top tier ones.

I think the day of the custom card product is here, but I don't know how long it will stay. We have had a few products with extremely low print runs of less than 150 cases and at least another few trying to be created with Kickstarter. I can't see much of these making their way to the secondary market when its collectors that are buying pre-release just to get a hold of them. I don't know if there are enough profits for the manufacturers to make such short printed products even worthwhile. The cards and the premium hits are generally above average, but I have a problem with products that I can't find or have to be ordered in bulk early. For that reason I don't like the custom or ultra limited card sets.

I think almost every card manufacturer still standing has upped their game in 2015 and looks to make even better cards in 2016. Non-sport cards have never had so much variety, looked as good or been of higher quality.

I think older non-sport card collectors have never before been forced to make so many decisions about long standing titles or had to try to spread their money so thin among different products they wanted. It has made long time collectors re-think their view of the hobby and alter their habits. I think it realistically requires a tighter focus and more restraint to get what you want, but I disagree with the negative viewpoint that some have expressed. You can not have it all, you never could, but you can still have a card collection you enjoy and are proud to own.

Just MHO and there is a lot more left to say. There is a fair number of collectors voting, so I really hope you will each take the time to drop a few words in this thread regarding your thoughts. It is interesting reading and opinions all depend on your place in the hobby. I would love to read comments from dealers and publishers, as well as collectors. We are all looking forward to this year's non-sport cards together. Smile
 
Posts: 7772 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
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I'll probably spend about the same as last year. Similar to what X wrote, I don't have a set budget and my spending habits come down to what I like and do I have the expendable cash on hand when it's released.

Looking forward to AHS Asylum this year; will likely build my version of a mini-master set of it, meaning base, all chase, no parallels, at least one autograph of all signers, props and probably at least one sketch. I'd also like to finish the missing autographs from Grimm season's 1 & 2. I'll be collecting more Batman-related sketch cards (always Smile ) from Cryptozoic's Batman and Super Villains release. And, of course, any new releases from Perna Studios are on my must-have list! Thumb Up

____________________
Debi

Reliving my childhood one piece of painted plastic and slab of cardboard at a time.
 
Posts: 967 | Location: San Diego | Registered: July 21, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Will
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quote:
Originally posted by X:
I was going to put "spend about the same" but then I plan to buy a few Trek cards this year and have a few sketch card commissions I would like to get done as well so put "spend more". That said, what I spend comes down to whether or not I like what is produced and if I can afford it at the time. There is no set budget or amount. I don't chase master sets so it is hard to know what you might be chasing/spending from one year to the next when you only go after odds and sods. Thankfully it is a lot less some years to make up for the busier years!

Likely to buy...
- Base sets: still an important part of a release to me and they seem to be of even better quality these days (but will only buy if I like the topic and are not repetitious to what I already have).
- Inserts: I collect parallels of favourite cards (never full parallel sets) and chase cards/sets I like the look of.
- Autographs: my main focus, always on-card signatures apart from the VERY rare exception, I try not to duplicate signatures I already have unless I really like the actor.
- Other 'Hits': will go for what I consider 'cool' relics if not silly money and the odd costume card from favourite characters/scenes again only if cheap. Not that bothered about plates or those weird 'patch'/'medal' cards.
- Sketch cards: not a big focus but pick up the odd one here and there, don't see much I like and what I do see is often too expensive.
- Promos: I have always loved collecting promos, I go after all promos for Bond sets and really enjoy plugging away at the numerous gaps in my older sets for other titles. The last couple of years I have really enjoyed picking up more obscure promos and 'premiums' to get signed at conventions. I like this custom aspect to my collection on official cards with real signatures that would otherwise cost a fortune if they were pack inserted.

Will demand grow? I have no idea. I hope so but message boards always seem to paint a doom and gloom picture. I have noticed more kids orientated cards at kiosks/counters in supermarkets and the like which can only be a good thing.


I second all of this. I tend to do what I can afford and like, which doesn't usually include parallels or sketch cards. Autographs and cool relics or memorabilia are always favored, but not as a "must have" type of product. I am loving the micro sets that are being produced, especially the Sherlock Holmes sets put out by Cult Stuff. I, too, hope that the hobby will continue to grow and mature, but I don't know where it's going right now. While I would be thrilled to be able to buy the Premium pack products, I simply don't have the available funds to do so. Plus, given the very limited access to such a product, it takes away the trading aspect of the hobby. Without that, none of us would be on this forum now. So, the social aspects of trading, just on their own, is a huge plus for me.
 
Posts: 1384 | Location: Prairieville, LA | Registered: May 30, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Hedgehog Witch
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I'll probably spend a bit less this year. I won't perhaps buy so much Game of Thrones and just pick and mix what I like, especially if they repeat lots of signers again.

I have an interest in picking up bits and pieces of sets from Doctor Who and if the Outlander set ever gets released. And if there is a second Penny Dreadful release. There's a few shows that I don't watch but like actors in, so I'm going to be more selective and mainly concentrate on autograph cards of actors I like, but I won't be chasing down master sets at all. Too many parallels and very deep pockets needed for that, these days.
 
Posts: 282 | Location: UK | Registered: March 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of willgull
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I imagine if I spend any $, that I will focus primarily on Game of Thrones and possibly some auto cards of actors that I like. After getting burned by one company and their confusing ways of doing business, I think I am giving the hobby a rest for a while. I've been collecting for over twenty years and it is a shame that it has come to this.
 
Posts: 802 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: January 21, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I might scale back a bit this year-new Jeep payment has just started for one reason. What pulled me over from sportscards is the autograph cards from Star Wars Evolution (2001), and what keeps me here are the autographed cards from the superhero movies- specifically the headliner and the villains. I am not really interested in the peripheral people. I will be interested in what comes out from the Suicide Squad, Civil War, Batman/Superman, and things like that. If I can acquire another RDJ Iron Man autographed card as well, all the better. Raven, I enjoy reading your thoughts, as I do the rest of you. If you have a card I may be interested in, I am happy to talk to you. Perhaps I can work out my 1st trade on this site...
Most of my non-sport collection is able to be seen on the PSA Website. Click on my non-sport collection on this link, and then click on my screen name to get to the Star Wars stuff..
http://www.psacard.com/PSASetR...showcases.aspx?c=112
 
Posts: 31 | Location: Rochester, NY | Registered: September 09, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Komodo
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Nice survey! I don't see so many here as I used to. I'd like to do a post response in my own way here.

I've found a way to have a hobby fund lately, so I'm able to spend more than I've been able to spend in quite a while. It's very difficult getting by on a single income these days. This past year actually seen us spending a lot of money (and credit debt) on home repairs, a new car, even the first vacation we've had in 10 years. The latest turn in the economy has been a hit to my employer, so I have been very concerned about that.

So this hobby makes for a nice diversion for me, as it always has. I've been collecting since the late '70's, so there's a lot of product that's been released since then and now LOL. In that regard, I've been trying to acquire sets that I've missed out on, or wasn't so interested in at the time. I am surprised at how easy it is to find some older material, while newer titles are rather difficult. In my case, I mostly concentrate on base sets, with promo's if any, and the odd insert set if they appear interesting.

I am continually impressed at the diversity available for collectors of this hobby, whether it be older material, or even newer material. Even if such material is a limited supply, it means that there are those who have the desire to produce a unique product. I fully understand the need to create something- there's a real sense of accomplishment involved.

If there's anything negative I have to say, it's the attitudes of some collectors out there. I've learned that there is a wide variety of collectors; how and what they collect varies greatly. Their reasons for their methods also vary, however, I often get the impression that some see their form of collecting as superior over others. It's not what they say directly, rather it's the attention that is given to a small part of the overall production, but has been given most of the attention for a number of years.

Personally, I think that while the pursuit of autograph, art, and low ratio insert cards has greatly increased interest and spending in the hobby, it has taken much of the focus away from the rest of card production. Some tend to see low value cards as basically worthless. I find this trend disturbing, as it divides an already fractured community.

I think that in general, non-sport card collectors are very intelligent, friendly, and even generous people, which makes it easier to relate to each other as a community. I'm not out to stir the pot, as it were, rather to put into words something that I've felt for some time now. The range of topic discussions have narrowed over the years, and it seems to me that the core reasons for collecting are changing from a largely emotional appetite, to one of an investment nature. Some may call that evolution; maybe that's so, but in all honesty, I don't find that very attractive.

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Collecting since 1977!
 
Posts: 1189 | Location: St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada | Registered: June 07, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Komodo, I epitomize everything that you find "unattractive" to the hobby. What you and your ilk have not grasped is what sports collectors learned a long time ago; that the hobby has changed from a set-based hobby to a singles-based hobby. Yes, the old money is in 1940 Superman sets, or Mars Attacks sets, but the new card offerings' values are in the inserts, and most likely in the autographs, and definitely NOT IN THE BASE SETS. Why throw stones at collectors like me? Talk to your card companies, who did this. Funny, I don't see Breygent posting more pictures of the base sets, but I darn sure see a lot of pictures of the sketch cards and autograph cards. Hmmmm....I wonder why that is...IMO, it is not worth my time or money to collect and collate the base set and then not be able to sell it for more than 5 bucks. I wish you joy in putting together all the base sets you can. You can be mad at me for giving my opinion on base sets, and I am certainly "unattractive" for doing so, but I am only reporting the news, and -in sportscards, it's been like that for 20 yrs. (I am thinking the Refractors and the Shaq Beam Team cards are really where inserts blew past the regular cards- both around 1993) My focus is on putting something together that is cool, will be something my 2 boys will appreciate and respect, and I would be remiss in not considering the financial side of it. FYI, I too am a collector who also has collected since the late 1970's, and built more 1985-1988 Topps baseball sets as a teenager than I even want to consider. Been there, done that...You are right about 1 thing, it is evolution (ironic that 2001 Star Wars Evolution is the set that brought me into your part of the hobby). We might be in the same "community", but we are in very different neighborhoods...I don't need anyone else's approval. I hope you feel the same way. I know that my collection is pretty good right as it is, and getting better. Nuff said...

This message has been edited. Last edited by: boadster,
 
Posts: 31 | Location: Rochester, NY | Registered: September 09, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Komodo
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Sorry Boadster- like I said, I don't want to stir the pot. You collect the way you like, and I respect that. I can't tell you or anyone else what or what not to invest in- that's not my place to do so. I am merely giving my opinion from my own point of view upon current conditions, based upon my observations.

As for collecting, it's great that you wish to pass along your collection to your kids. I'm kinda jealous actually, because no one in my family takes much interest in my pursuits. When I expire, my collection will likely just end up in the trash, I'm sorry to say. Unless I find someone who wants it, to pass it on to beforehand Wink

So why do I collect what I do? Because I like it, plain and simple. I think that should be the starting point of any hobby. I'm guessing most of us could say the same thing. It's the same reason I like collecting old postcards, or even Elsie sticks. They are also practically worthless, but they mean a whole lot to me Smile

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Collecting since 1977!
 
Posts: 1189 | Location: St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada | Registered: June 07, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Komodo, I felt your email, and now feel for you. I am lucky that I have 1 kid who likes everything I like, and is a mini-me collector, and the other one likes what I am into now, but hates sports and sportscards, but thinks the Star Wars autograph sets are awesome. I have overhauled and reconfigured my collecting dramatically in order to draw in these 2, I have asked them what would impress them, and I own PSA slabbed Michael Jackson and Phil Collins autographed items now because of them. I have a bunch of 10 ounce silver bars because my non-card collector kid likes gold and silver. Perhaps you can find what these people are interested in, and maybe you can find enjoyment, as I have, in switching. In my case, I am mostly now an autograph collector who uses cards as the means to get the autographs. I think at this point, there are only a handful of non autographed cards I would buy; 86-87 Jordan rookie, 48 Leaf Jackie Robinson rookie, the 58 Jim Brown, the 79-80 Gretzky, and maybe someday, some of the Superman or Mars Attacks cards. Those are pretty cool..
 
Posts: 31 | Location: Rochester, NY | Registered: September 09, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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When the subject comes up in conversation, I sometimes tell people that I collect trading cards and occasionally hang out in a hobby store.

They all smile and say "Gee, I never would have thought you were interested in that." Or words to that effect.

What they really mean to say is, "At your age, you got to be nuts!" I really don't care, it's a lot better than some of the **** I know they are into. Big Grin

But let's face it. The vast majority of people we know, family and friends alike, do think we are nuts. So doesn't that mean we have more in common with each other than our collecting philosophies should divide us? Smile
 
Posts: 7772 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of monkeyafterdark
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Wasn't it John Lennon who sang:
"Imagine all the people... breaking packs in peace, whoohoo-oo-oohoow"
 
Posts: 154 | Location: Belgium | Registered: September 21, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Komodo
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I have 3 kids, in their mid to late 20's, they're still trying to 'find' themselves. Seems to me they can only peek into any door of opportunity... The thing they mostly have in common is playing games. My wife puts up with my hobby, as long as everything's tidy, or doesn't get in the way of paying the bills or home improvement.

Other than this, I'm a music fanatic. I've never been to a concert, don't really care to, but I've been compiling since I started high school. I keep saying to myself that I'm almost done- that keeps me going lol.

At least more people can relate to that Smokin'

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Collecting since 1977!
 
Posts: 1189 | Location: St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada | Registered: June 07, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of chesspieceface
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I've been very happy with the autograph cards the various companies have been coming up with lately.

Here are my favorite pick ups from the ones issued in 2015. I got them all from boxes or else as singles for the same or less than the cost of one of the boxes they came from.







If they can collectively again come up with a batch as good as this for me in 2016, I'll stay very happy indeed.

____________________
Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 2940 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Jason00
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I voted for 'spend less' and I am cutting way back this year. We want to buy a new house and truthfully, now that I turned 40 I am starting to take my retirement savings a little more seriously than I did when I was in my mid-30's and buying 15 boxes of cards in a year.

My favorite set of the last few years was the Adventure Time set that Cryptozoic put out, and they don't seem interested in doing more of those, so right now the plan is to pick up a binder and two boxes of Game of Thrones season 5 (I have been up and down with this series - I did two boxes of season 1, six boxes of season 2, my first case for season 3, and four boxes of season 4) and a box of Star Wars Evolution and that's it for boxes. I really want to pick up some of Orphan Black and The Flash from Crypto, but I don't buy boxes from them usually so I will pick up a few singles online.

I don't collect base sets anymore (it took me months to get around to collate the single set I wanted from GoT 4 and Arrow last year), but I am looking forward to the base set for SW Evolution. I really loved the first two sets they did and still look through those sets from time to time. I used to collect a base set for every Trek set but I have retired from Trek collecting.

My focus will be autographs and inserts. I will still buy the boxes of GoT because there is a real thrill to breaking packs open and I like the chase for a big hit, but I only collect the bordered autographs and quotable cards. Last year I didn't pull a single bordered auto from the four boxes I bought and ended up needing eBay for everything. For Evolutions, I am buying a box because I do like the base there (although Topps, like Upper Deck, seems to no longer be doing sets you can complete from one box) and I know the autographs from The Force Awakens will be way out of my price range so I want to play the lottery (go to eBay and search for 'Force Awakens mystery redemption' - that's the Daisy Ridley card and that is selling for more than my current monthly mortgage payment + car payment COMBINED).

I still love collecting cards. Breaking packs is exciting, and the times when you pull autographs from Burly Cadet are forgotten when you finally pull that hard to get card you could never afford otherwise (although those three boxes of Fringe seasons 3/4 that yielded two Ryan McDonald and a Jarod Joseph still really sting). But it is getting harder for me to break an $80 box and see cards that I could have picked up for $15 total online, and that means I have to change the way I collect.

____________________
"For a universe that's supposed to be half Chinese, Firefly sure doesn't have any Asians." -- The Uncomfortable Truths Well
 
Posts: 1557 | Location: Milwaukee, WI | Registered: November 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of steve j
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I voted for spend less - The Star Wars thing has gone mad. Way too many sets - So I have said to myself - STOP.

I started with LOTR back in 2001, and I will probably finish with the last Hobbit set. Theres a case on order there.

I was looking forward to the DR Who set but I got a bad break, and that's kinda put me off. For every win, there seems to be 4 or 5 disappointments; the manufacturers need to manage collectors expectations better I feel.

I have loads of holes in my collections, and I may spend time trying to fill some of my gaps. My collection is large and is taking over the house but not as large as some of you guys out there.

I still love the hobby though!!
 
Posts: 1763 | Location: Wales, UK | Registered: June 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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