In my last post, I said I think one box of 2007 UD Black may have changed my collecting focus. Well, I thought I'd explain...
Since returning to the hobby in 2009 with Allen and Ginter, I had been focused primarily on building a few sets a year. Mainly Allen and Ginter, plus the Topps base set and then either a set from my non-collection years like UD A Piece of History or Ovation. This year I set my sights on Gypsy Queen, A&G and the base set. Through dozens of trades (I really should start tracking all these packages, all the states I've mailed to, etc) I've gotten Astros hits from a wide variety of products. I enjoy getting all these cards, both from the sets and from trades.
However, over the past few months my apathy, disgust and frustration with Topps has grown to a peak. I unexpectedly decided to collect Lineage. Opening it reminded me a bit of the frustrations with A&G and the base. Way too many inserts, parallels to chase and not enough base cards in the box. When did we need 29 parallel/insert sets in every product? Why do we need a canary, platinum, refractor, cloth and mini? They aren't all that rare or valuable... they just fill up packs.
So for my birthday, the wife let me buy a box of 2007 UD Black, which cost me less than a box of Lineage. The shop owners stood there as I opened it and got genuinely excited or more so when the Verlander and Konerko came out of the packs. I got genuinely excited knowing that I was going to pull quality cards, that it was more than just a pull on a slot machine hoping that the insert I get is a relic of a player that's good enough to either go into my collection or that I can use to trade for a card I want. It really got me to thinking... those awesome high-end Nolan Ryan cards that come in the $60-$100+ per pack/mini-box... I want those, but I can never afford them in the secondary market. Why shouldn't I give myself the opportunity to open a pack and get one? So what if I end up with a high-end Konerko out of it instead of a Ryan? I still had a better chance opening the pack than I did bidding on eBay or looking for it on COMC. This isn't a slight to eBay or COMC, it's a slight to my budget, I just don't have the cash for the AWESOME cards I really want in my collection. And I probably am not going to get the awesome cards in $80-100 hobby boxes of Topps products either.
Will I still buy packs from time to time? Definitely... Blasters? Absolutely... Several hobby boxes of mid-range product to build the set? Probably not. I can do without my three "hits" of Dempster, Billy Butler and Derrek Lee. I'd rather spend that $100 on a box of UD Black... or a pack or two of Tribute... or maybe if I can find a mini-box of Triple Threads on the cheap... Or I go on eBay and get some Astros relic lots. Maybe I buy into some of those group breaks I pass over that include a high end product or two. Quality over quantity. And even if Upper Deck screwed some stuff up to lose their license, I think I'll be revisiting their mid-00's high-end products to see if there are some deals out there. I will say that I do believe Topps will be getting less of my money. Will this hurt the binder of "for trade" cards? I hope not, if it does, I'll start pulling some non-Astros lots or something to replinish...
Anyways, there's my rant on my collecting goals. What do you all think? High-end? Low-end? Quantity or quality? What are you goals? Anyone else as burnt out as I am with Topps? I saw the pictures and details of 2012 base set, and it's the same song, third verse if you ask me. Full of gimmicks... tired, old gimmicks.
So, if there are insert sets or complete sets from the past couple years that you want or need to complete, let me know, as I'm probably going to start boxing up the complete sets soon and clear some room and binders.