Monday, April 1, 2013

Cardboard Commentary #3 (Team Collecting)

Last week's commentary was all about collecting a single player. This week I widen the topic and collecting range by discussing team collecting. In many ways team collecting is 'safer' and more enjoyable than collecting only a single player. What do I mean by 'safer'? Well, collecting a team avoids complications like player retirement, trades, downturns, or douche-baggery... yep... all those things. But it does, however, add many more cards to collect - so the important thing is to decide how you want to collect your team. Just like player collecting, team collecting brings you closer to the game, and adds a lot of enjoyment to your hobby and sports experience.

Team collecting is such a no-brainer to me. If you're a sports fan, you just have to have a favorite team. As fans, we put our passion and loyalty into our teams. We love and support them, so it's only natural to collect the team you like if you collect cards. I understand it can be easier or harder depending on if your team is good or bad though. In lean years, when a team is struggling, it can be hard to want to collect your team... but then again, this may be the easiest time to collect your team in terms of your wallet.

Though pretty much everyone has a favorite team, I can see why some collectors choose not to do it. I mentioned team struggles already - it's hard for many to want to collect a loser! But there are other reasons too. For instance, many love to follow the best talent. In my opinion (and feel free to disagree here), this generation's best consistant talent has been Sidney Crosby. Well, sadly for me, Crosby is not a San Jose Shark. So supreme generational talent and my team don't quite match up. So for talent followers, the team route may not be the way to go. Some collectors just don't want to collect their team. It might be too narrow a focus for them. Certainly collecting a team doesn't help in terms of a return on investment or in regards to speculating on talent (rookies especially) either. So I can see why collectors may not go for a team PC. But if you're newer or haven't considered collecting your team before, now may be a good time to give it a try and see if it's for you or not.

There is a lot to like about collecting a team. As with collecting a single player, collecting a team really focuses the collection. I know that I practically ignore everything else that I see. Amazing patch cards of non-Sharks are especially easy to ignore. When the focus becomes that sharp, getting great cards of your team is all that really matters. So when I see an awesome patch of Evgeni Malkin, Rick Nash, or Steven Stamkos... I usually think to myself, 'hmm, that's cool', but there is no strong urge to get it. However, when I see lesser known Shark players like Jason Demers, Tommy Wingels, or Justin Braun with an awesome patch or autograph... I'm much more inclined to go for it. And the great thing is that spectacular team PC piece will most likely go for a fraction of the price of a Malkin, Nash, or Stammer. The Cup rookie shown of Wingels above can be had for well under $30 if you are patient on sites like eBay.

It's awesome to have a growing collection of my favorite team. The card companies do a lot of team related cards to get collector interest up. My favorite team-centric cards are the ones that feature multiple players and memorabilia and/or autographs. On the Upper Deck side of things, Artifacts in particular is a set that has a wealth of cool multi-patch cards. Finding the ones with three crazy patches on one card is always exciting. From Panini Contenders, some teams have six-way autographed booklets. The one I have of the Sharks is one of the favorite cards in my collection. Higher-end products from both companies as well as ITG feature some sweet cards of multiple players from a single team.

When it comes to what to collect, you have to decided what you want. For me, I collect both memorabilia and autographs of Shark players wearing Shark jerseyes and that have the team listed on card as Sharks. I keep base cards and inserts, but I don't really consider those cards part of my Sharks PC. I know that other collectors will collect all players who have ever played for their team - even cards that depict players in other team's uniforms. I think it's cool to do that because sometimes card companies do not release of a card of a player that only played with your team for a short time, but I just can't get past my own pet peeve of wanting onlySharks gear and logos on card. See... to each his (or her) own!

Finally, one of my favorite things to do is show off the team PC. If you want to check out my Sharks PC, feel free to click on the links on the right side of my blog, they will lead you to them! If you've never considered going for a team PC before, give it some consideration. It has definitely been a worthwhile pursuit to collect the Sharks for me. I hope that you can find enjoyment in collecting your team as well!

Let me know about your experience collecting your team! What have you found good and bad about it? Leave a comment!


  1. Nice post! I am definitely going to start a Canucks PC. I have only bought one box of Score from this year, but i just got a new job and was working hard this weekend, so I think I might go to my nearest card shop and see if they possibly have a box of 2012/13 Upperdeck Series 1 Hockey and hopefully I'll pull some good Canucks stuff.

  2. Replies
    1. good luck with your boxes... and to the 'nucks too (i guess haha)!! your team has a lot of history in it, but i still think cards are reasonable for most of the players. i know there are some hardcore linden and bure guys out there though!

  3. I have been collecting my team, the Canucks. I much prefer collecting them wearing the Canucks jersey rather than in their old team's sweater on the card. For instance I bought a Maxim Lapierre 11-12 SpA SOTT auto when I could've got his 05-06 rookie SpA for the same price, but probably worth more because it's his rookie card. I also tend to collect my team players' rookie cards, but only if we drafted them. :p Because it just doesn't look right them wearing some other team's jersey.

    Team collecting is like player collecting though, if you start then there will soon be no stopping until you have them all, and when you have them all, you'll want the team's past players. Better to just collect a few of your favourites. But then the sucky players might have a good night, and you'll want that guy's card. :p AHH!


    1. yea, i think you and i have the same mindset. though i don't think the same thing applies in terms of trying to get everything when it comes to team cards. i mean, that would mean you would be pc-ing each individual player as well as the team. i think just going for really nice pieces is the way to go when collecting a team. it's awesome when there is a long history to collect.

  4. My collection is pretty unfocused. I just collect stuff I like. Old school!


  5. My team has always been the Red Wings and living in metro Detroit has its positives and negatives when it comes to collecting the team. There is definitely no shortage of great Wings stuff available at card shows and the local card shops, but with all that comes the hometown premium on the prices.

    Sometimes it makes me wish I collected another team altogether because that would be so much easier on the wallet, but hey they are the team that got me into the sport, so they're definitely not going anywhere from my PC.

    I will say it definitely makes trading online a bit easier when I can say "anything Red Wings" to a fellow trader, instead of just my super focused set and player collections. I've managed to get some really cool stuff from other people just because they know I collect Wings and it gets thrown in as filler or extras.

    1. the wings are a great team to collect... such history! but i feel ya, it's gotta be hard on the budget. but besides the really huge names, i think many winged wheel stuff can be had at a relative bargain. i know local shows can be tough though as they can overprice things... but online methods work really well to avoid that.

  6. From the get go I was on the hunt for Canucks cards, past 7 present as long as they are in the Canucks colours. Given its a big hockey town with a rich history it hasn't been too unkind to my wallet. The only gripe I'd have - and its probably universal for most teams - is that many of the hits feature the same players; Sedin, Sedin, Kesler, Burrows and Luongo. And while pulling a hit of any of those players from a box is fantastic, it makes it tough on the secondary market when my player PC is Bieksa - his appearances beyond base sets and inserts pretty much dropped off a year or two after his rookie year. Wouldn't mind seeing hits feature a broader range of players within the team, would make collections a lot more varied and interesting.

    Another side team PC I've started is Vancouver Giants cards, obviously made up entirely of ITG cards. Started following them around their Ed Chynoweth/Memorial Cup succuess, and have stuck with them. This collection adds a bit more variety of player coverage, while maintaining a consistent theme.

    - reebz0r

    1. yea, that's totally true. card companies always focus on the few star players for most of their sets. i'm definitely not a fan of that. but at the same time i understand it would be hard justifying putting 3rd and 4th (even 2nd) liners into sets since they are trying to spread their appeal to all collectors. one player i would like more of is tommy wingels... but that probably won't happen. i, and a small percentage of sj fans, are probably the only people who would want that. and as for collecting the giants, that's awesome! keep it up!