Over the past few years, I have gotten back into the hobby on more than just an occasional basis. For me, it was because of the feeling I get when I start to go through my cards reading the backs, looking at the design, and examining the photos. I am always formulating lists in my head of cards I want, planning what the next cards I buy will be, and generally deciding how I next want to change the way I display my collection. In other words, it's fun for me.
In this short time I have refocused my collecting habits, I have crossed paths with many collector's who claim to share the same feelings and passions about their own collections. However, with the exception of a few (and by few, I mean a percentage less than 20), their actions when it comes to collecting are more along the lines of the capitalistic, profit driven business owner that would cut your throat rather than conceed $.01 in perceived value. With the overly obsessive reliance on card pricing guides like Beckett and to a lesser extent, Tuff Stuff, collector's have become handcuffed to a perceived price. No where is this more apparent than on the various sports collecting message boards. Cases in point...
#1: I proposed a potential trade list to a player collector the other day with the hopes of getting the first trade of 2010 underway. It was a direct response to a request for any of his dozen or so players he collects. After taking the time to find each and every card in my hordes, I sent the list, thinking there would at least be 2-3 he needed. The response I got was that they only wanted rookies. So I thought, "Well he must be a rookie collector which is ok since at least 10 of these qualify." After exchanging dialogue back and forth for a day or two, it was brought to my attention that the reason for the "rookie only" request was not because he primarily collected rookie cards, it was because he couldn't sell anything that wasn't considered a rookie or other "premium" card. So in a nutshell, his enthusiasm for posting his player lists was not motivated by completing his player collection but rather satiating a need for making money. Whatever, dude. Whatever.
#2: Another trader hit me up for about a dozen or so Edmonton Oiler cards from the 80s. No problem for me since I had plenty to spare and he had a few that I needed. I usually try to work out a deal on the grounds that are comfortable with the person I trade with so in this case, it was "book" value. After calculating the deal, it turned out that my three cards totaled $1.25 more than than his. That was the deal breaker. He wasn't even willing to look for another card or two to make it feasible for him. His reasoning was that I was unfair and trying to pull a fast one on him and rip him off. What? Are you serious? Rip him off? In this case, he saw his collection as a money market investment account and if he wasn't at least getting a 1 for 1 trade off, he was losing out on his retirement. Again, whatever dude. Whatever.
I'm not charactirizing everyone like this. I have traded with many collector's out there that are great. However, over the last few years, the greed collector's have been growing. These are just two bad examples that stick out. In my mind, this isn't what being a collector is all about. People collect things because they like to. They enjoy their collections and want to share their collections with others. They take a personal interest in what they collect and have some feeling of success and accomplishment when they grow their collection. These other people are just investors, speculators, and salesmen looking to try and turn a profit.