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So I think I am done collecting for now.
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Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of btlfannz
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As someone once remarked after I started a thread a year or so ago - "Here we go again, another debate about the death of our hobby has started" The topic never goes away and each year we hear the same old same old.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, card collecting was only ever a hula-hoop market. It flourished like crazy in the late 80's and early 90's and then just went on to the "next big thing"

Get used to it guys, it ain't ever coming back!, and eventually we will all turn into those very very old guys that still hang onto and trade cigarette cards. There numbers diminish each year as they die off.

We all need to buy into some home truths:
1. Fings ain't wot they usta be.
2. Your collection will NEVER be worth a fraction of what you paid for it.
3. Enjoy your card collection for what you originally started it for, the sheer love of collecting!

Once you you've accepted this you can go back to loving what you've got. Something pleasurable to pass the time away.

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My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
 
Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
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Non sports cards are going the way of comic books. When comic books went to the direct market, within 10 years the only place to find comic books was a comic book store or bookstore (most of which have closed now thanks to Amazon). Kids stopped entering the hobby. Things you wont find at convenience stores are non sports cards and comic books. I can go down to the local circle K and still pick up football or baseball cards though. What's left is an aging collector base that is shrinking every year. Really the whole concept of "trading cards" is pretty antiquated. Now you just buy a box and complain you only got an auto of a D list celebrity. In fact most people ONLY seem interested in auto cards now.

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Studio-Hades
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Posts: 545 | Location: AZ | Registered: December 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of fuchaldream
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I am with you on that, and I have to own that autographs are a BIG draw for me. I've always liked autographs, and I don't feel like that is bad. However, I do think that it has become bigger than the cards themselves.

I enjoy building a set of base cards. Heck, I like to build a few. I enjoy opening a box and seeing each base card for the first time. I even like going back through them periodically and reading the text on the back of the card. (Had my Roswell TV series set out recently just to look at those cards.)

The thing is, I feel like my wife and I are alone in it most of the time. It does not help that we only have one card shop in my town, and they literally only stock gaming cards OR what I specifically ask for when it comes to non-sport. They are overrun with football and basketball for those who enjoy that.

The fortunate thing for me is that it is a family thing. Something we can enjoy together when there are sets out related to shows / movies we enjoy.
 
Posts: 275 | Location: Indiana | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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There are very few comic stores left, as it is, and I haven't seen a comic store carry non sports on the counter since the late 1990s, maybe earlier

There was a time in the mid-90s when my local stores would have a half dozen different new boxes of the latest non sports on the counter, every single month

But he never carried Star Trek, most Inkworks or Rittenhouse, as they would literally sit there, not 1 pack sold
 
Posts: 2402 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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I still have a LHS, but it is not the same. I have to tell them if I am interested in a new release and maybe they can get it and maybe they don't. The store used to bring in 5 or 6 boxes of popular titles like Star Trek, Star Wars and Bond. Now they don't even do that because I'm almost the only customer who buys non-sport and the boxes are too expensive to open and try to sell packs.

More over, you have to realize that in the current environment that the card manufacturers have set up themselves, a lot of product can't get to a hobby store even if they wanted it. UD and CZE have authorized dealers and time windows for other outlets to even get the stuff. Many hobby products are so limited they are being sold direct or at certain events. The supply is sold out before it releases.

Other hobby products are so expensive that store owners won't touch them without an order and if their distributor, often Diamond, doesn't carry it, forget it. There is not enough profit left over for them to try to bring it in themselves.

So this is like that old joke about which came first, the chicken or the egg. Are non-sport cards not getting to potential new collectors because there are no stores to sell them in or are there no stores to sell them in because of the way they are being manufactured and distributed, making it almost a closed and aging community?
 
Posts: 7163 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
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The direct market temporarily saved comics and non sport cards in the 1980's and early 1990s. Now they both are facing inevitable death which should have happened 25 years ago. Speaking as a publisher and manufacturer my non sport sales went from 80% of my sales in 2006 to 3% of my sales in 2016 as more collectors drop out or die.

Dime novels were going for as much as $50 a piece in the 1940's (and that's in 1940's dollars) but as the kids that collected them in the late 1800s and early 1900's grew old
and died throughout the 1970s prices dropped to the point where you can get most dime novels for about $10 on ebay for something over 100 years old. Dime novels morphed into pulps and comics, TV and paperbacks killed the pulps, distribution killed comics and cards.

Some of the larger card manufacturers have been short sighted in their sales / marketing / product development, but they are all looking for profitable quarters or simply staying solvent. It's a business, after all.

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Posts: 545 | Location: AZ | Registered: December 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wonder if sometime in the next 10-20 years if comic books will cease to exist in printed form, and it will all be digital. You will have to read the latest issue on line for a subscription fee.
 
Posts: 2402 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Jason00
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quote:
Originally posted by Studio-Hades:
Some of the larger card manufacturers have been short sighted in their sales / marketing / product development, but they are all looking for profitable quarters or simply staying solvent. It's a business, after all.


How many times have companies tried something new just for the market to reject it? And that rejection is led by the middle age guys who have been collecting forever (and I am one of them, so no criticism intended there). I can name at least five people from this board who had thousands of posts and took their balls and went home once companies started doing things that couldn't be master sets out of a boxed product. If it doesn't have 24-36 pack boxes and everything is included in the boxes, they are out. And God bless them if that's how they feel, but the market has stagnated.

Rittenhouse has done standard packed products, but they did both premium packs and their special limited sets like the Ed Norton Hulk movie and Star Trek Into Darkness, not to mention the amazing Legends of Star Trek (literally my favorite card product ever). When was their last product that wasn't regular boxes? The market rejected those other products.

Topps is doing Topps Now (which I love - I just bought the WWE Becky Lynch card a couple of weeks ago and it looks great, and I like knowing the print runs on them) and their card trader apps, Upper Deck is doing e-packs, Breygent is doing premium boxes... these things are doing well for sports, but non-sports is resistant to change. I don't want to ever buy another $80 box in my life just so I can pull a $10 autograph and get stuck with extra base cards I throw away. Those days are done for me, and now I just buy autographs and inserts on eBay and call it a day. But how nice would it be to buy a couple of premium packs of something that wouldn't sell 10,000 boxes like The 100 or Red Dwarf?

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Posts: 1556 | Location: Milwaukee, WI | Registered: November 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of mykdude
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quote:
Originally posted by catskilleagle:
I had to cut back on box-buying years ago. The last one I got was Topps 75th Anniversary which I still think is the most fun set in years.


I think my last new product was SoA Seasons 1-3. I agree the Topps 75th Anniversary was a fun release. I actually bought a case of that. Pulled a Stallone buy back. Cool

Although not as quickly, I think in many ways non-sport card collecting has gone the way of the FOTONOVEL for the same reasons. I don't need cards as a connection to a film or TV show anymore. Within a few hours to 3 months I can have complete, high quality access and I can freeze, zoom or re-watch any scene I want at any time. What do I need a card for? With the right software I could create my own card set. Add to the fact that the "trading" aspect of trading cards is all but dead it really is amazing things are still in production.

Maybe in a lot of ways, those gimmicks we like to complain about are what has kept the hobby alive for as long as it has. Do you really think it would still be here if all we got was a few cards, a sticker and a piece of gum?
 
Posts: 3035 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of chesspieceface
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The FOTONOVEL has never really left us. It is only sleeping and will someday awaken with a vengeance.

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Posts: 2874 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of mykdude
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quote:
Originally posted by chesspieceface:
The FOTONOVEL has never really left us. It is only sleeping and will someday awaken with a vengeance.


Haha! I actually have a couple still around the house. Loved the Alien one!
 
Posts: 3035 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by mykdude:
quote:
Originally posted by chesspieceface:
The FOTONOVEL has never really left us. It is only sleeping and will someday awaken with a vengeance.


Haha! I actually have a couple still around the house. Loved the Alien one!


Too funny, I have that Alien one too. What the heck is wrong with us? Big Grin
 
Posts: 7163 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of chesspieceface
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The "Saturday Night Fever" one is a hoot.
I'll bet the one on "Lord of the Rings" (1970's Ralph Bakshi animated version) is probably somewhat valuable.
I remember the one for the movie version of the musical "Hair" was available at Pic N Save and other dollars stores for over 10 years. Turns out that one was a little over produced, haha.

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 2874 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of X
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I don't know what to make of the hobby these days.

I look at eBay and prices for lots of new cards are limper than I would thought they would be even though cards are better than they ever have been.
I come on this board and it is often depressingly quiet. Scoundrel Art Forum is near enough dead, and whilst not a place I visit very often at all, it seems sketch card collectors couldn't keep that afloat. Blowout can be very busy, especially for certain products, but all the product detail you get in threads there comes from ripper-flippers who only seem to care about making money from a set, making the conversation shallow and the interest fleeting.

This all makes me scratch my head because I LOVE collecting trading cards. This was true when I was a completest, and remains true now I only pick up bits and pieces. I feel sorry for those types who, if they cannot have every single card in a set, walk away. I understand that not having everything goes against the default collector mentality but I disagree with it. Why? It's not healthy. Very few people can have everything in life. Get your pleasure where you can I say. If a collector can't enjoy their binder full of great cards because they are missing that one item, maybe time to bin off your pleasant husband/wife because of a large mole, or sell that nice car because it has a small dent, maybe live in a shed because what's the point of having a house that may be a bit drafty?
If the cards themselves literally no longer give you any pleasure, fair enough, get rid. Get some money back and spend future money on far wiser things. But if not, why cut off your nose to spite your face?

I know that will come across as dismissive of the way some collectors view this hobby and how it 'should' work, but maybe some of the collectors who get upset at being 'priced out/not being able to complete master sets anymore' should ask themselves two questions:
1. Do they really want everything?
2. If they do, why?

I'm a Big Bond fan (shocking I know). Brosnan is my favourite Bond by a mile. His auto was always my Holy Grail and hoped but never thought that card would happen, but finally it did!
But do I need all four of his £100+ auto cards?
No.
Do I even want them all?
No.
Will not having all four detract from the one that I do have?
Certainly not.

I used to spend a lot more than I do these days trying to chase everything. 10 years ago I bought so much stuff it is scary looking back, and even then there was tonnes of stuff in my collecting area I still needed to one day chase down and I glossed over the collecting fatigue I was feeling. But I distinctly remember when my mentality towards collecting cards changed:
I was putting some of my Bond 40th Anniversary autos in new soft sleeves and moving one hand too quickly near the other, I hit the card I was holding with my hand, bending the corner quite severely. I sighed to myself: **** I need to replace that. The very next thought was "I don't want a damaged card but I don't want to buy it again". We're talking about a £10-£15 card here that could easily be replaced. I came to the simple realisation I did not really want that card and owned it simply for the sake of completion.

This led me to cull the things from my collection that I did not really want and I am so glad I did. Prior to this I was thinking of giving it all up. The things I have left, and the things I buy now, I really enjoy because I just like them for what they are, not because a checklist says I should have them.
It also means I feel more free to branch out and pick up the odd bits here and there from different licences because I don't need everything else in that set (for example I have only 3 Batman Begins cards, 1 LOTR auto, 12 X-Men cards, 1 Walking Dead card, a grand total of 3 Star Wars autos and 3 Star Trek autos to name but a few random things in my collection).
Besides increased enjoyment, my hobby now costs me less. The money I do spend is spread less thinly and it easier to justify spending money on that bigger card every now and again.

I do sympathise with those who find themselves in a rut, I've been there. But there is still A LOT to enjoy if you can think back and remember why you bought cards in the first place.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: X,
 
Posts: 2950 | Location: England | Registered: June 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by X:
Blowout can be very busy, especially for certain products, but all the product detail you get in threads there comes from ripper-flippers who only seem to care about making money from a set, making the conversation shallow and the interest fleeting.


Many good points here by X and others. . .

I find the discussion interesting, and while I do understand that the market is evolving and the changes aren't for everyone I find the general mood that the industry is dying curious.

Blowout is a good contrast. . . The Jusko Masterpieces thread on Blowout has over 3000 posts. I don't think you'd get to a post count of 3000 if you added up all the posts from all the threads on the first page on threads in 'General Card Discussion' on Card Talk. The Jusko thread on Card Talk -- 60 posts.

I'm not sure why that is -- and to some extent it doesn't matter. . . The contrast though is curious. . .

P.S. The Jusko thread isn't the only example -- several non-sport threads on Blowout are over a thousand posts.
 
Posts: 4298 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of promoking
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Yes, there is a malady that is currently permeating the hobby....It's called taking a breath! Friends, our hobby is maturing. Modern non sports card collecting whose demise is being alluded to in these posts was basically born in the early 1990s. That makes it a late adolescent to a young adult in the collecting world and as with any growth spurt during that delicate period, our beloved hobby is experiencing nothing more than the expected chills and fevers inherent in the aging process, but grow it will.

Take the example of stamp collecting as an illustration of the throes that collectibles in general go through in their lifetime. Stamps have been collected since the first one was issued in 1840. have there been fluctuations in that hobby both in the number of collectors and the prices realized for specific stamps? Absolutely! I have been collecting them for 50 years and in the early 1980s, stamp collecting death chants echoed throughout the world. Today, the number of stamp collectors and the prices for certain pieces have never been higher.

If non sports card collecting was going by the wayside, it would have done so years ago with the likes of the ephemeral Beanie Babies, Pogs and its own close relative the Phone card. The resilience of our hobby for over a quarter of a century is a testament that it is here to stay albeit with some normal changes as it morphs from youth to adulthood.

I believe all collectors have two traits in common. The first is coveting. Not as in "thou shall not covet thy neighbor's property" but rather as in "I want that card. It's mine and I need it." It's more self gratification than envy. That is why we collect, We want to amass and compile and complete because it gives us a sense of accomplishment. The second trait, and some of you may take offense, is what I term the "treasure hunt syndrome". I sincerely believe that there is not a single one of us who is spending his or her hard earned cash on little pieces of cardboard, without at least wanting to get their money back when it's time to dispose of the collection and perhaps not so secretely aspiring to hopefully make a profit.

I took a look at which thread on this board had the most views of any topic. "MY BEST EBAY FIND" was by far the most popular almost 368,000!!. Why? Because people want to see what bargain they missed out on. Everyone agrees that it's human nature to want to buy low but some people refuse to acknowledge that there is an inner satisfaction to have bought low and to sell high when the time comes.

we love our cards and they make us happy but don't forget that one day you will have to dispose of them and unless someone in your family has inherited your collecting bug, the more likely scenario Is that you will sell them to a collector or dealer for cash. So don't ignore the profit angle.

You may ask "what is the relevance of these traits to the future of our hobby?", EVERYTHING! Once a hobby has withstood the test of time as ours has, then certain realities must set in. Older collectors will die, others will simply lose interest and move on, there may be a period where few new collectors enter the arena and other times when prices are depressed. These occurences are not only normal but are also expected. It is the long term trend that matters. My opinion, is that the scarcer and rarer cards will continue to be in demand and appreciate in value which will fuel the growth of non sport card collecting as has occurred with scarcer stamps, coins, comics, barbies etc.. Which cards or sets will be deemed to be included in those lofty categories will fluctuate based upon many factors which I will not discuss here. most cards will never rise to that dignified status and will in fact probably lose value while others will surprisingly gravitate, some slower than others, to that elite field while a few will always maintain their rarefied position.

As the hobby continues to mature, It is this fluctuation in the market created by hardcore collectors looking for that "difficult if not impossible to find card" they must have and their willingness to pay what the market commands that will ultimately maintain the growth of this wonderful hobby. That insatiable appetite within us to find the next holy grail is the lifeblood of collecting.

As we celebrate a quarter of a century of the modern non sports card, we should congratulate ourselves for the distinguished accomplishment to have made it as a hobby . So here's my unsolicited advice to the collective. Buyers: now is a good time to fill in those gaps. You will not have this opportunity forever. Sellers: If it's to pay the mortgage, college tuition or other life's necessities do what you must do and sell even at a loss, but if you can hang on to that scarce card or set until the market firms up, don't dump now and regret later. This hobby is not going anywhere but up!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: promoking,

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Posts: 656 | Location: fort lauderdale fl usa | Registered: May 22, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I saw something new in terms of comic book innovation. Has something similar been done with cards ?

There is a brand new Three Stooges comic book that has a gimmick in which you can put your phone to the cover, and it will play (on your phone, of course) the complete 1936 Stooges short "Disorder in the Court"

Very impressive, IMHO !
 
Posts: 4170 | Location: Bayonne, NJ, USA | Registered: May 06, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of chesspieceface
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The whole of my experience with cards, non-sports in particular, is basically this:

I first became aware of them as a small child in the 70's. Both non-sports and sports were plentiful and it seemed like they always existed pretty much exactly as they were, and always would. Why not? Baseball had been regularly issued in a yearly set since the early 1950's. Non-sports sets based on pop culture properties went back at least as far with Topps, with plenty of sets issued before then.
Base sets, stickers, gum, all cheaply produced, and affordable as a result, nothing too fancy and that continued through the 1980's, which were pretty much all of my teen years, during which I collected intermittently.
It all kind of changed around 1990 with better technology, photography, card stock, specialty sets, etc., but that also brought price increases beyond regular inflation. Justifying those price increases led to the early "hits" era of cards in the mid 1990's where autographs, costume pieces, sketches, sports uniform relics, etc. were on the way to becoming the norm, but where non-sports were concerned, it all happened a little too quickly. By the late 90's, most manufacturers were gone, and unlike the sports card industry which was able to continue on that uninterrupted path to where it is now, (extremely expensive and to most collector disqualifying pack prices on whistle and bells laden sets), I thought non-sports were done with around the year 2000.

For the cards to be made in the first place, a certain amount of money had to be made by the manufacturer which usually required print runs that, as constituted in the mid 90's were too large for the non-sports card market to bear. There didn't seem to be a way out of it, but to my astonishment, companies like Rittenhouse, Breygent, and even the modern Topps and Upper Deck (compared to the monolith versions of them that existed before 2000) have figured out a way to make lower print run sets that deliver the high end "goods" demanded by today's collector at low enough pack prices and make enough money on them to keep on doing it.

With that in mind, I'm really happy for every new non-sport set that is released, even if it's something I don't collect. I look at it, like, well, maybe thanks to the success of that set, the manufacturer will be able to do something I collect next. I've seldom been disappointed for long this century so far, and every year, there are at least a few sets I add to my collection. There have been some great sets these 16 years and I hope there are plenty more to come.

I'm thrilled they're even being made. I wasn't sure of that continuing after the events of the late 1990's, which really did look like the end of the line for cards as I knew them for a span. I don't think non-sports today are anywhere close to the depths of that valley, and on the other hand, the design, quality, and "hit" cards are enjoying an all-time high. Let's see how long they can hold the line on prices. I'd imagine it's a wobbly tightrope to walk for the modern manufacturer.

I'm going to keep collecting. It's still fun for me.

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Posts: 2874 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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Inkworks kept the non-sport hobby alive in late 90s and early 2000s, along with the support of NSU and the non-sport card collecting community. Many of the ideas refined and expanded upon by other card manufacturers, for better or worse, originated with Inkworks. As for sport cards, that market is nothing now compared to what it was prior to 1995. And I mean NOTHING!
 
Posts: 7163 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Heroes For Hire
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You old-heads remember when Fleer/Skybox made Marvel and Star Trek products? Those were fun sets to open. Inkworks made some fun to open like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, too. Too bad those companies couldn't continue. Thanks for the cards and memories Wavey

As for leaving the hobby, sometimes you just need a take a step away. I know these days I buy way less packs and boxes ... and even single cards ... but I still look for some cards from older sets. I had to reevaluate about what I enjoy about this hobby. I like to open packs/boxes to get some hits, too. But like in the OP, packs and boxes are expensive now so these days I just buy a couple new packs here and there (if I run into them) to get the lottery fix of opening and then I'll buy "the hit" if I find it. Generally that way it comes out to be the price of the box or less. But if I want to open a box, then I'll buy an older box from a few years ago that's on discount. The hits might not be the latest and greatest out of those boxes, but is that what I'm really collecting for? Not really. I open stuff that I like. So I switched up my collecting habits to fit what I want to spend. Those $4 and $5 packs of today are most likely going to be cheaper after newer stuff later in the year or the year after come out.
 
Posts: 436 | Location: Long Beach, CA | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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