Monday, March 25, 2013

Cardboard Commentary #2 (Collecting a Player)

A lot of people who watch my videos and keep up with my card collection know me as THE Logan Couture collector. When I got back into collecting cards in 2009, I didn't just want to buy packs and boxes and hope for the best. I had done that as a kid and teenager... and it left me in the end with a lackluster collection and a feeling of unfulfillment. So as I started collecting anew I decided to focus my collection on only two specific things - a team (the Sharks) and a player (Logan Couture). Today I'm going to be talking about the good and the bad of collecting a single player and having a player PC.

I'll start with the good of collecting a player. There are lots of good points, actually. I mentioned that collecting a player brings focus to a collection - and that's a really exciting thing. I think sometimes collectors just buy and buy and buy... then they trade or sell... and then do it all over again. There is a never-ending rotation of cards that come in and out. While that may be fine (and fun, to an extent), I, personally, am not a fan of it. When does it end? After a while, this cycle can get tiring or boring. However, the feeling of building something up, and taking pride in amassing something unique is really appealing to me - and that's what focusing the collection on a single player can do. Focusing your collection will create an identity for it. With that comes wanting to make the collection bigger, better, and more complete. There is definitely a huge amount of pride that comes from putting together a player PC. Not only have I had a ton of fun from building it up, but others who have seen it have enjoyed it too.

When collecting only certain players, you can tend to get really focused on how that player does. I know that when I watch Sharks games, I'm keeping my eyes especially on Logan Couture and how he plays. Luckily for me, he has been consistently one of the best Sharks these past few years. I find myself rooting for him and checking out his stats after games. I'm also reading his tweets on Twitter and trying to find out all about him. I have to count myself lucky for choosing Couture though... that choice turned out to be really good on my part. See, when I began collecting again, I just randomly picked Couture to collect because he was a rookie that year on the team that I followed. And that was it. I had no idea he'd turn out to be such a special player. So with that, I got really lucky. I was fortunate enough to pick up many of his cards earlier on before they took a dramatic jump up the year after. And therein is another benefit... if you start collecting a single player early enough and they blossom into a star in the NHL, the collection of cards you have of them could have a significant rise in value.

For the high roller-big money collectors out there, PC-ing Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, or Patrick Roy can be great fun and a great financial challenge to take on - and they will pretty much hold their values well. But for lower or mid-range collectors like myself, finding those players you like that may not be superstars is a great way to go if you're on a budget. This is especially true if the player you find yourself gravitating towards is a minor star or local favorite. It really depends on your budget, but thankfully, there are great players to collect for every budget out there.

There are definitely negatives to player collecting that must be considered though too. For players that are perennial role players or 3/4th liners, finding cards of these players can be few and far between after their rookie years. Part of the fun of collecting a player is looking forward to all the new releases that come out each new season. Those lower-level players usually are regulated to sets like O-Pee-Chee and Score, and maybe Upper Deck Series 1 or 2. The cards are definitely more affordable, but the cards won't be as exciting. Often those sets will not have autographed or memorabilia cards of your player. But there might be some rare parallel cards to chase down for a little challenge.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the player you begin could become very hot. That's great... but not if you can't keep up with the rising demand and prices. Collecting only one player is great, and it's pretty easy to get cards of that player numbered to 20 or more... but once you start going for those really low serial numbered cards... that's when it really hits you in the wallet. One-of-ones are always a large financial investment. #creditcardFTW

Speaking of which, what can be very bad is bidding for those rare cards on eBay against a team collector or fellow player collector. There is definitely the potential to overpay for a card you want to put in your PC. I know because I've done it many-a-time. Those situations really suck. And that's when it pays off to really know who in the card community is concurrently collecting what you are collecting. When you do that, you can form alliances or help each other keep the bidding wars down to a minimum.

And that leads me to how to collect a player. It's definitely not by buying packs and boxes. I love cracking wax as much as the next guy, but I know I will never get the best cards of my player by doing so. There are a few resources that you constantly have to utilize when seeking out players for your PC.

Here's a rundown:

- eBay: Use the eBay search to look for your player. I do this all the time SEVERAL TIMES A DAY... haha... or even several times per hour even! You never know what that great 'Buy it Now' or 'Best Offer' will show up for the taking. Try commonly misspellings of your player to get better deals. One example of this is Ryane Clowe. I always find stuff under 'Ryan Clowe or Ryane Clow'. These mistakes by sellers can be your gain.

- Join a Card Forum: There are several great card forums on the internet for people to trade and find cards they want. Three that immediately come to mind are Sports Card Forum, CnC, and Hobby Insider. There is a wealth of resources on each of these sites. When you see boxes broken and shown off... there are opportunities to PM users to buy or sell. Dedicated trade pages also are also offered for collectors to find what they are looking for. Beckett also is a nice site to check out especially for the major American sports.

- Youtube: Youtube may be a strange place to recommend for sports cards, but a lot of collectors share their box breaks and trade videos through Youtube. It's also a great way to show off your collection and let people know who you're looking for. I can say personally that most people know I collect Couture through Youtube. I have had people PM through the Youtube site telling me where I could find various Couture cards or that they had one that I might need.

If you have some insight on player collecting I'd love to hear from you. I'm sure there are many more positives and negatives about it. Please let me know in the comments below what you think!


  1. Player PCs - one of the biggest decisions of your life! Never had one as kid, but then when you're buying a couple of packs a week you're just happy to have cards. So when I got back into cards last year a player PC looked like a cool way to focus your collection. Being a Vancouver fan there was plenty of talent to choose from - (un)reliable Lou, Henrik and/or Daniel, Burrows or Kesler? I took a different path and chose someone I felt was underrated and I had a lot of respect for and that was Kevin Bieksa. Unfortunately he's still someone who rarely makes it into a mid-to-high end product, so some 12 months later I'm looking at starting a secondary PC. Picked up a few Eddie Lack rookie cards, but I think I may start a Burrows collection. Everyone loves Burrows!

    One thing I've always wondered is if I'd keep a Player PC if they got traded away from my favourite team. I do have a small Landeskog collection going, but they're all cards I've lucked upon while breaking boxes, nothing I've sought out as singles. I'd probably just stop and collect a different player in the team and keep the old PC for the Vancouver collection. Afterall I have a NFL side-PC of Rams-era Marhsall Faulk (Laurinaitis is my main man)

    - reebz0r

    1. yea, with all the players getting traded and stuff so frequently, i wonder what people do with their pcs. in my opinion, it'd be a waste to get rid of it... unless it were for a HUGE chunk of change. i'd probably press on with the pc.

  2. I am a Huge fan mainly for using the 3rd market and not having to break open packs and boxes and not even getting a your player.

    I have 2 PC's now and looking for a small 3rd, Patrick Roy (My idol growing up and reason I am a goalie) but there are many negatives on him because he is the most collected goalie and being a legendary Hall of Famer his cards are soooooooooooooo Expensive but I just try to chase the base until I find a cheap hit.

    My other Pc, like the Roy PC, goes out to the captain of my Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews, he is also a poular player but has 70 cards, Roy has 300 cards, both are expensive if I want memorabilia cards. But thinking of maybe a 3rd with John Moore,a kid from my hometwon on Columbus, or Andrew Shaw my 2nd favorite blackhawk. But probably going to stay with Toews, Roy, Blackhawks and all my other sets.

    1. yea, looks like you have some big time players to pc. i think the main thing is to focus the pc as well. i really only collect cards with couture on it by himself. i will occasionally pick up cards with other players alongside him. i think to be a 100% completist is nearly impossible. but having a pc you enjoy is great. enjoy what you can put in it!

  3. I PC my favourite players in the NHL in the form of base cards. I have 5 binders going of base cards of maybe 40 all time great players in my eyes. That was the first enjoyment I got from hockey card collecting, just getting a player I liked. And it still adds a minor personal satisfaction to assembling base cards.

    Then went on to PC Sidney Crosby insert cards, mainly acquiring them from eBay. I gave that up after I gave up Pay Pal and Ebay.

    Now I don't PC anyone. I don't want the same player's autograph or jersey more than once because I see it as a "double." When I get a new player it broaden's my collection and increases my knowledge of the Game after I follow that new player...

    I understand adding a focus to collecting by PC'ing one or more players but it would probable become too compulsive and expensive. Why go so far to collect a single player with such an obsession? I admit when I discovered eBay, I immediate bought a jersey card, an autograph and a rookie card of Patrick Roy because I loved him growing up. That's it, though, I stopped there.

    No offense to the PC crazies out there, but this concept is fairly new to me, and maybe I just don't "get it" yet.


    1. yea, it's totally not necessary to have a player pc. i will talk about this in later posts, but there are a lot of ways to focus the collection and make it fun. doing a completist player pc (like i'm doing) is kind of nuts. sometimes i wonder why i do it... but i'm so far in i can't stop!!!

  4. I think the coolest thing I have seen so far would have to be how you edited that picture of your Couture's! Well that and your entire PC!

    I really like your videos and PC. I think you truly inspire a lot of people. Not to mention you have to be one of the most friendliest people there are. Maybe it's just me but I love trading with you because I can say I got to trade with this great guy!

    But to the PC post; I really enjoy having a Gagner PC but I do have moments where I wonder what the point is. But I find the point is to just enjoy it. That sense of accomplishment when reeling in a nice card is great. Or getting your "white whale" sort of speak. It just feels great. It is also great hunting down cards and getting excited when you find a new one! You also get to collect a player you really enjoy watching!

    Overall, I think PC'ing a player is really fun


    1. thanks! i totally feel the same sometimes about the couture pc. i wonder... why am i even doing this?!?!? but you are totally right. it's fun. and i'm getting enjoyment out of it. in all things sometimes feelings go up and down. it takes a commitment to stick to something... something even as trivial as card collecting. usually i'm glad i stuck with it. thanks for the comment!