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To Buy or Not to Buy - That Is the Question
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Kennywood

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Lucy Van Pelt: How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?
Posts: 7236 | Location: the wonderful state of Denial | Registered: January 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
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Deal breakers. . . hmm. . . not too many really. . . I certainly have preferences, but deal breakers. . .

#1. Cost. I'm collecting autographs and sketches, if the cost per 'hit' is too high I'll avoid a product.

#2. Time. If payment is required too far before release, or if there is a good chance a set will be delayed a long time . . . I won't say I won't buy it at all, but there is a good chance I won't order. It's getting crazy to have orders tied up for months that are planned, then additional months (sometimes more than the initial planned wait) of delays.
Posts: 4495 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
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For me, it's the number of chase and the expense of putting together a master set.

I bought all of the X-Files sets that Topps, Intrepid, and Inkworks did over the years. I have master sets of each, EXCEPT for the very last one they did for the second movie in 2008, as it was just too expensive for me

Same thing with Smallville. I have master runs on all of the Inkworks sets, but had to pass on the recent Cryptozoic set-- too many autos that were too expensive to obtain, sadly.
Posts: 4255 | Location: Bayonne, NJ, USA | Registered: May 06, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Card Dude
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For me it is simply the subject matter that determines what I collect. My interests are not as vast as they once were though.

I often don't focus on a master set though - I have lots of Harry Potter cards but no master sets. I also usually just buy one or two sealed boxes of a certain set, if I get a very hard to find card in one of those boxes, it makes me continue with the set more if that makes sense - because I know I wont have to fork out loads of money to buy that card to complete it.

LOTR/Harry Potter/The Prisoner/Thunderbirds & Captain Scarlet collector
Posts: 1117 | Location: UK | Registered: December 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of fuchaldream
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We have sets we would like to collect no matter what, but sometimes money gets in the way.

Having said that, we prefer wax boxes over the boxed set / premium pack model. We also like a reasonable number autographs / props / costumes per box. If a box is $75 - 80, it should really have 3 - 4 hits per box, but 2 usually makes it okay.

Sketch cards are nice, but for us it strongly depends on the subject of the set. Sketch cards for a show like Dexter, or some other live-action, non-comic related show, just seem stupid to me. I get that the artwork can stand on its own, and is sometimes phenomenal. I'd just rather there be more art available for sets that have a tie into artists already. Loved some of the stuff for Hellboy and The Spirit. Natural fit.
Posts: 275 | Location: Indiana | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of robomole
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Turn Offs:

1) Sticker Autographs
Sticker autos are an automatic turnoff. Nothing beats the knowledge that the talent has actually touched the card they signed! Also, I get annoyed when an autograph trails off the card, let alone when I see a smashed autograph trail off the sticker! Less signing room, less attractive, less personal, there is just nothing good to say about these stickers. At least there are less and less bright shiny foil holographic stickers these days. Those Topps and Inkworks stickers were just disgusting. The reason I've been minding stickers less lately is the fact that most companies are at least making them clear, and in the case of Upper Deck, make the design compliment the sticker in a way that you sometimes forget it's there.

2) Manufactured Patches or Used In the Making of
Why on earth would anyone want to collect swatches that were not screen-used? To pay a bunch of money for a box or case, and then receive essentially fake costume cards bugs the **** out of me. Especially when it replaces a legitimate insert, like an autograph. I was very excited for the Superman Returns set back in the day. Great auto line up and amazing costumes. But then I see that the autos were shiny stickers, and the costumes weren't even used in the film. Total waste.

3) Inserts I don't care about
Now this is just personal preference. But I don't care much for sketches. I can totally see and respect why people love them. And heck, I've bought my fair share myself. But all in all pulling a sketch card is underwhelming compared to pulling an autograph or costume. Printing plates are interesting, but again are underwhelming when they replace an auto or costume. And again, theres the manufactured patches, like in Captain America. To pay a bunch of money for a set, and then have half your hits be stuff you don't care for, it's kind of a bummer.

4) Not establishing odds early on, and poor collation.
Before I make a purchase, I need to know my odds of pulling certain inserts, especially if there are a bunch of inserts I don't care for. I need to know that my odds are good of pulling an insert I will enjoy. Also collation is key. Having 50% of my Smallville case be Callum Blue and Dean Cain is simply unacceptable.

When it comes to sets I decide to collect, first and foremost the license is most important. If I love the program I'm automatically interested. From that point it is up to the sets specs to make sure that I'll pull the trigger and make the purchase. If there are too many negative factors then I'm out, and I'll either collect on ebay, or avoid the set completely.

P.S. I mentioned that I hated manufactured patches, but with that said, what Cryptozoic is doing with Archer is absolutely brilliant! For a comedic animated show to have costumes and props is hilarious and perfect for Archer!
Posts: 209 | Location: El Cajon, California | Registered: October 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Contest Czar
Picture of barobehere
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I guess I am not as choosey as some.
There are no really deal breakers other then price for me.
Marvel Premiere 200 bucks 2 base cards per pack. Will I ever make a set? No. Pass.

StarGate Universe. Love the show. Series 2 is premium pack. I am slowly getting there. A pack a month at 35to 38 dollars is do-able. Would I love to finish it soon, Yes but cashwise I can't.

Art sets. I don't want a bunch of duplicates hanging around. Love the Breygent minibox on these. Would not buy them any other way now.

I haven't finished a master set since Inkworks left us, so I just slowly work on sets I enjoy!
Posts: 5609 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: November 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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I don't judge a product from a master set point of view and that takes off a lot of the self imposed pressure that many collectors seem to feel. If you like a title, you can still enjoy a set without having it all, honest. Wink

As an autograph card collector I most definitely prefer the on-card signatures over the stickers. Given the choice, I choose any product with on-card autographs, but if I want a celebrity that only appears in a sticker product I will take it.

I don't normally buy products that have sketches as their main hit. There have been exceptions like LOTR Masterpieces and Vampirella, but sketches are more an extra hit for me rather than the reason I'm buying. The problem I have with sketches comes when they don't look like they were drawn by an artist. I have some awful efforts that should never have been put into products, but if the sketch is a secondary hit I usually don't care too much.

I don't like products where a prized autograph is a multi-case incentive. I can accept short printed cards as long as they are pack seeded. That's a matter of luck, but incentives are designed to be kept from you unless you pay up. Big Grin I love GOT, but I'm still unhappy that the Bean and Dinklage autos were 3 and 6 case incentives, especially the Dinklage.

Costume cards are no longer a novelty and those solid color swatches that are in everything are no draw for me now. Relic cards can still be nice, depending on the relic used. Manufactured patches are a cheat, I don't even regard them as a hit.

The only real deal breaker I have is value. That's not the same thing as price in my book. I don't mind paying more for something if the value is there, but I resent paying more for the same stuff I can get at half the price. Value is a big reason why I happen to like the premium packs and premium box sets. They cost much less than popular wax box products and you are getting a comparable number of hits, which gives more value to each hit. Afterwards we all know when we got our monies worth and when we didn't, that's value, and some very popular titles don't have enough of it, which is a shame.
Posts: 7657 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Jason00
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The only real deal breaker for me would be sketch cards -- I don't like them, and I avoid any set where the primary high end pull is sketch cards. It's the main reason why I only bought one of the Breygent packs at Comic Con last year. I bought 3 of them in 2011 and only pulled sketch cards that I could literally not even give away.

I like premium packs -- they cut back on the number of left over base cards I have to throw away (yes, I make my set and the other cards get tossed), but I do like opening packs as well. However, the fact that I can get a premium pack shipped for $40 means that I will try out a set more readily than if I was paying $60+ for a box. I have basically decided to cut my collecting to just Game of Thrones and Fringe for this year, but since it was only $38, I also preordered a pack of the new Spartacus set.

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"For a universe that's supposed to be half Chinese, Firefly sure doesn't have any Asians." -- The Uncomfortable Truths Well
Posts: 1556 | Location: Milwaukee, WI | Registered: November 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of fuchaldream
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I gotta say that I don't mind the sticker autos as much as a lot of people. They can be terrible, but they can also be cool.

Topps and Upper Deck have done some sports autos with stickers in the past that were nice. The sticker was essentially embedded in the card. Kind of like a swatch of costume is, or like a cut signature. I liked those actually a little more than on card autos.

Admittedly, I am a bit weird Wave, but I am for anything that allows legitimate autographs to be inserted. Sometimes getting schedules synched is ridiculously hard, and I'd rather have a sticker auto than no auto.
Posts: 275 | Location: Indiana | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
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I don't mind sticker autos all that much either. . . actually in my mind the problem with sticker autos is that they are too small for the people to sign on. . .

The new Leaf Limited Inscriptions cards are super cool -- no pics, but the entire card makes for some really cool, huge signatures. . .
Posts: 4495 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of WarriorBabe
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The upcoming Game Of Thrones release is pretty much what I look for.

The subject is something I enjoy (i've not seen S2 yet, dvd on order, but I loved, loved, loved S1).

Traditional box release which means an affordable base set- I have issues with the Premium Pack in that regard- although I fully accept that leads to less dumping of sets/flooding the market which is a good thing for the hobby.

Some good top signers with a decent lower level ensemble.

Lots of chase sets (if they follow S1).

The chance at relic/sketch cards so that possibility of something extra.

I love opening packs too. Last box I bought was The Tudors, seeing all the cards neatly in the box- base, chase, then costume card, auto and sketch- just wasn't the same.

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Is beginning to realize that collecting cards is like an itch that never goes away......
Posts: 1959 | Location: UK | Registered: December 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of rwn410
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Similar things as everyone else, if I like the franchise a lot then i'll try to collect them, simple as that! Smile I do get a kick out of the mild risk involved buying a box too, I don't mind premium packs, they're far more economical after all, but it is definitely fun. Affordability definitely a factor though! Can't afford to buy by the case and the record for the most i've ever spent on a single card is £58 which is a huge sum in my eyes! So most higher end cards are almost certainly out of reach unless I can pull one from a box! Which has surprisingly worked out quite often Big Grin

My main turn off is the quality of design on a card. Sketches are the most obvious one for that. I mostly collect autographs as far as premium cards go, and there are some pretty horrendous images on some of those - I usually chalk that one down to approvals. I think the Neil Flynn auto from Smallville is the worst I own, it's just so dark that I can barely recognise him!

Or sometimes the choice of image is unusual. Eg: Eureka - Colin Ferguson spent 95% of his time in the same sheriff costume on the show. And there're plenty of promotional images of him. But for his full bleed autograph Rittenhouse use a shot from an episode instead where he's not wearing his iconic appearance. Would put that down to approvals but his expansion auto casts doubt on that. I love Rittenhouse personally, so please nobody take that as any form of bashing!

And again regarding autograph design, it's not just the image but the overall graphic. Simplicity is nice with the Full Bleed autos but sometimes the design - graphics, colour scheme etc - can add something for me. Got to love the warm look (and clearer images) on the Firefly cards.

Quality of pen affects if I like it too, Famke Janssen's X-Men card is unfortunate and some of the Dexter autographs look worse for wear (but at least that seems to be fixed in later sets!)

And lastly just image cropping. Again I don't mean to be too harsh but looking at some of the landscape oriented 258 West Authentic cards is off putting, some are badly cropped at the shoulder then move straight onto the signing area with no form of bridge or mild fade out. It's a shame because I quite like their earlier Heroes mini-portraits!

This really went on longer than I expected! Dubious graphics are a turn off sometimes but not as much as I think this makes out - I still have the Famke autograph and still looking for the Ferguson full bleed! Smile

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Posts: 397 | Location: UK | Registered: January 01, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with most of what's been said. I think there are too many Art releases comming out now, just not interested. I like a set that has value, no sense in paying $60+ for a box and ending up with $30 worth of cards.

I found out long ago that some (not all) manufactures intentionally limit the number of autos included for better known actors to drive up value. If an actor is willing to sign 2,000 auto's by all means put them in the release.
Posts: 457 | Location: Raleigh | Registered: April 21, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
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Honestly I'm digging the bigger sets that are being released by Rittenhouse (GoT), Upper Deck (Avengers Assemble), and CZE (Vampire Diaries Season 2, Walking Dead Season 2 and BBT Seasons 3 and 4). It makes the set more challenging to put together (especially with a set like Avengers Assemble where I'm still missing inserts), and they seem to maintain most of their value (especially the CZE sets). It also makes collation mostly a non issue.
Posts: 860 | Location: Alaska | Registered: May 28, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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All of the above. Wink

For a very few series I'll break a case for myself and go after a near master set before I look for fillers. When I was trading heavily (3-4 card trades a week) I used to open a couple of regular hobby boxes of sets I wanted to pursue. Now with sets that have 1:24 etc. subsets, that takes forever or I spend too much in the market - so I tend to let the people who open multiple cases looking for lots of sketches or rare autos do the pack-pulling, and I wait and buy a mini-master. This means I don't get my fix of pack-opening often enough these days.

I avoid a lot of sketch cards because it's impossible to approach a master (and I prefer larger format for my art). If sketch cards are the main chase for a series, I might look around for the sale of a case-load of boxes where the dealer opened packs until they found the sketch in a box, and lets me open all of the rest of the packs for the enjoyment and other chase cards.

I guess I am proven to favor quantity over quality, and stay away from most "premium pack" series or wait for base sets to show up cheaper a few months down the line. I might take a different approach if I was in it for the investment value, but for me cards are usually a one-way (in) proposition. I don't (usually) do $2-a-card base sets, and consider those sets complete if I have a list and nothing in my hands.

I favor sets that have a lot of information and/or variety, and yawn at series that are movie images on both sides of the card. But if there's a lot of text or quotes on a card, I appreciate it more if somebody did some proofreading. Especially for comic art related sets, the artists' names ought to be spelled right.

I used to chase after autograph sets fairly frequently but didn't usually go after XLs at the $200 range.

I don't have a huge philosophical problem with sticker autographs or non-show-worn costumes but I consider them less valuable than the alternative. Sometimes the cardmaker doesn't have good choices.

I like promo cards but I don't spend a lot of time chasing after them. If I wanted to specialize instead of collect in bulk, I might become one of the promo fanatics. In the meantime I consider them optional.

My principles are malleable. Next month, or if I get more free time, my preferences might change!
Posts: 2327 | Location: North Augusta, SC, USA | Registered: November 28, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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