Striving For Your Own Personal Trading Card Nirvana

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Mirriam-Webster’s online dictionary is properly an unlike place to start this new article on card collecting, but then again probably by the end of this article it might actually provide a context and back drop to further self-reflection on all things collectible.


The site provided this particular definition for the term “nirvana”:


‘a goal hoped for but apparently unattainable”


By contrast Google’s definition provided a different take on the same word:


“A state of perfect happiness, an ideal or idyllic place”.


I believe both ideas come very close in describing the how and why as well as the frustration we experience at times in our pursuit for the ultimate collection and or find.  The art of collecting is often filled with such interesting contradictions.  I’ve heard some say it’s a great way for me to unwind and relax while others have been known to say its exciting, I get a rush every time I either find a new addition to my collection, or I end up getting it at a killer price.

The advent of the internet allows us to fulfill these Zen states and thrill rides like no other previous generation.  Access to great collecting material that once required months of patience for the annual conventions to roll into your town can know be experienced with a few keystrokes of your PC’s key board.  Online access, talk about immediate gratification, this gives new meaning to the term impulse buying. It also provides the context for touching on the first of my road signs towards personal Collecting Nirvana:



Remember my previous comment on the “Thrill of The Moment”?  I’ve seen and heard of too many cases where would be collectors and hobbyist have walked away from collecting or have become disenfranchised because they have either fallen for the lure of an unscrupulous dealer/seller or have overpaid for an online auction because they got caught up in a bidding war.



This can be counter acted by first doing some old fashion RESEARCH.  This is a wonderful side of collecting that is often either missed or underrated.  It amazes me how we can haggle for everything from a stick of gum to a Hi Def TV, but we take sellers words that there collectibles are the holy grail of collecting.



Just as the internet is a great resource for finding all sorts of collectibles, its also a great resource for information on them as well.  There are a great number of websites that specialize in all sorts of databases and reference information that can be extremely helpful in both your education of a particular athlete, series, or sales stats.  Here’s a small sampling of some sites that can help to illustrate this example:


Great Resource for Track & Field Cards


Great Resource for Disney/Comic Character Memorabilia


Awesome Trading Card Check List Database Site


Michael Jordan Card Resource Website


I’ve personally have found a great worth of information and education in my own collecting pursuits from such websites.   My personal endorsement is strictly as a fellow collector and I don’t have any affiliations with any of these sites beyond this scope.


The next road map is that of having :



I personally feel when you create goals or specific projects, say for example, completing an entire run of vintage Star Trek Trading Cards in Nrmt to Mint state, you are less likely to drift off on other whims that might turn up.

                                     1967 Leaf Star Trek Trading Cards

Now more than ever, collectors are afforded an incredible array of options and opportunities that didn’t necessarily exist 10-20 years ago. As such the concept of collecting is no longer limited to what you can find at your local hobby store. It’s a global market full of opportunity and diversity that allows for variety in our collecting pursuits.


This said, it’s easy to lose focus, I compare it to a mouse being in a cheese factory!  The cautionary tale here is while diversity is the spice of life, collecting in this fashion can prove to be problematic.  It’s akin to the old household projects that get started but never get finished or a race with no finish line.


Thankfully collecting can still be very diverse while still defined with purposeful direction. It can tell a story about you, your likes, passions, and drives.


This said the next major sign on your journey to trading card Nirvana is :



Great collections aren’t built over night, it takes time and you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you run into the occasional snag, or obstacle.


This said, the next and last road sign in our quest for Trading Card Nirvana is:


 Many might say, “Well I already do”.  I would counteract that with some simple checks and balances, consider it a measuring rod.  How often do you glance or review your collection?  Do you showcase your accomplishments in your home, or does it go right into a box, drawer, or closet and stay there for extended periods of time?


Do you know what you own or when was it purchased, for how much, from what source?

Do you know each items particular qualities, rarity? Origin?  Original production numbers, availability, scarcity?  What format was the issue or series released in (packs, giveaways etc..)?  Do you share or compare your collection with other likeminded collectors via such venues as forums, Registry participation programs, or local charter groups?


There are reasons to know such statistical information that can range from just education that could help you should you ever need to sell that tough find to other considerations such as insurance riders that might be needed on your existing home policy that would extended protection to your collection from such things as fires, floods and or theft.

Cataloging of your collection adds other benefits such as a working document that could prove useful when looking for cards to complete your set, or collection.  It can also be helpful when trying to upgrade low grade cards that might already exist in your collection.


Forums and charter groups can be a very valuable resource for networking with liked minded collectors also.  This could lead to opportunities where you can possibly obtain cards that might be needed to complete your sets.  This could also provide trade opportunity for such cards where you could barter other cards in your collection that others might need or want in lieu of cash!


his is a great way to keep cost down, that’s one option you won’t find on EBAY.


In relation to Registry groups, I am partial to the Professional Sports Authenticator’s site ( as its probably the best in the market as of the writing of this article.  It provides a friendly competitive environment that leads to opportunities to correspond with likeminded collectors as well as a chance to chalk up awards every year for the best collections in such categories as: Sports, Non-Sports, Company Sets, Player Sets, and the like. Such accolades can be helpful in bolstering your collection’s exposure and long term distinction in contrast to others.  This could prove to have some monetary value associated with it.


So there’s a lot to consider and possibly contemplate in your journey to collecting fulfillment, it can prove to be time well spent though and in the end who knows you might end up making a friend or too in the process.Internal reflection in the why, how and where to collect will expand your depth of understanding.   In the end this will guide your reasoning just like Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket in that it will hopefully steer you away from bad choices and or deals and instead pin point those preferred opportunities that are just right, both for your peace of mind and your pocket.


Thanks for tuning in…….Tomorrow’s Gems!


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