So you want to start collecting again…?

It’s 2008. The last time you bought a pack of baseball cards Manny Ramirez was on the Indians, Barry Bonds didn’t look like the Incredible Hulk, and the only game-used in your collection was your little league uniform that you saved for years in the closet. That is not a problem because I was once in your shoes as well. Come to think of it, not that long ago, either. Here are 5 tips to help your return to the hobby be successful and fun.

Step 1. Ask yourself why you want to come back

Are you returning because you miss the days of 20 cards per pack, 4 brands to choose from, and the thrill of a big pull? Sorry to burst your bubble but these days there are packs with a single card for $150, boxes of a very small amount of cards for $300+, and if you do find an inexpensive pack, you are looking at 6-10 cards tops. That being said, the exciting pull is a lot easier these days then in the 90’s. For example, there are cards with cut up pieces of bats, jerseys, gloves, etc. called game-used relics and chances are you are going to get a lot of them. That also goes with autographs and low-numbered parallel cards. Heck, last year alone I pulled three 1/1 cards in just 6 months!

Step 2. Stay away from message boards!

Collectors who frequent message boards like Beckett’s and Topps’ forums are there for only a few reasons. They want to show-off their Joba SuperFractor they pulled by only opening 70 boxes of Chrome, etc. There is very little regard for a new collector unless you are spending $1,000+ a week on the newest product. Also, like most message boards on the Internet, the atmosphere is horrendous. That’s not to say they are all bad people but many of them carry chips on their shoulders and intend on reminding you about it at every chance they get. Instead of a forum, create a blog and talk about your collection, favorite player/brand, whatever. If you keep up with it, eventually you will build a following.

Step 3. Don’t invest in the high-end stuff……..

I’m not saying not to buy it but unless you want to pay $300 for a pack of Topps Sterling, be prepared for a horrible autograph, game-used, etc. Not every high-end product contains an autograph of Mickey Mantle or Ichiro. Start out with a product like Upper Deck Masterpieces and Bowman Heritage. For $100 or less you will get tons of base cards and several autographs and game-used. It’s a great way to get started! Once you know what to expect, if you can and want to, try out a product like Sterling or better yet, Topps Triple Threads.

Step 4. Don’t forget to have fun but also be responsible

Remember no matter what you sell on eBay, buy at the store, or trade for…it’s meant to be fun. If you no longer enjoy baseball cards the best thing to do is walk away, sell your stuff, and move on. No one wants to hear your rants about Upper Deck every single day of the week. Things change and much like everything else, so did baseball cards. Many will argue that it was a change for the worse but I tend to disagree. Despite a limited income for collecting, I have been able to find immense joy in baseball cards again and so can you and you don’t necessarily have to take out a second mortgage to do so.

Step 5. Bookmark

Okay, sorry for the cheap plug there. What do you expect? Seriously, though….bloggers like Dayf, Steve G., Joey, ChemGod, and many others all have different point of views, come from different backgrounds, and have different tastes in collecting but one thing brings us all together; a love for baseball cards. By keeping up with the ‘Baseball Card Network’ you are assuring yourself that you will be up to date with the latest product reviews, 2008 previews, random rants, etc.

If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of Wax Heaven you will see my ‘Top 7’ card blogs. Of course, there are many more, 33 to be exact. If you have one to add, please let me know! If you do decide to start collecting, you have my best wishes!


  1. I will be forwarding this on to some friends who have ‘lost their way.’ Maybe this will help them back on ‘the path.’

    Well done.

  2. I’d also add one more thing: Know What You Want to Collect. If you’re just getting back into the game, there’s so many choices and price ranges that it can almost be overwhelming especially if you’re looking to pick up some cards that you missed when you were “out” of the hobby. So know what you want to collect. Do you want to build sets? Collect a few players or a team? A specific brand? When I was first introduced to the hobby in the late 80’s early 90’s, I pretty much collected every card my grubby hands could get. After my semi-hiatus, I’ve focused more on certain players, one team and maybe a set or two a year. This has helped me be able to view lots of cards that I have as expendable whereas earlier in life I wouldn’t have traded them for anything. So I’d say there’s another rule for you: Know what you want.

  3. Nice post Mario.

    Good addition Russ.

    Step four rings true. If its not fun don’t do it. But, don’t have too much fun you go broke.

  4. Great advice. Especially #4. I’ve seen too many people walk into a shop and drop hundreds on high end stuff and not get much in return. One guy sold back a big pile of auto and relic hits to my local shop for a couple of bucks a card, then started spending it all on wax trying to get another hit.

    Russ makes a good point too. Figure out what you like to collect, make a plan and go after it. There’s enough inexpensive boxes and bargains on eBay to have a lot of fun with the hobby without dropping a grand here and there. Heck, even opening a ten dollar box of 80’s junk is fun every once in a while!

  5. I agree with your last point, dayf. I got one of the best pulls of my 19 years of collecting cards a couple weeks ago out of a $10 repack box I bought at Walmart. One of the packs in there was the first pack I had ever seen of 2006 Bowman Chrome. It only had 3 cards in it, but one of them was a Matt Capps (gotta love them Pirates!) refractor serial numbered #1/150. The back was messed up (somehow the layer with the stats is peeling off of the card stock), but it doesn’t really matter. I still think it was a damn lucky pull.

  6. Nowadays bustin wax is just high stakes gambling and nothing more.
    Not only do you have to pull something /5 or less, that card also needs to be a big star player and not even that guarantees that you get back at least what you paid for the box.
    I busted an 07 UD baseball box and was very pleased with the overall cards I pulled-2 Ripken jersey patch cards #d to 25 and 50, A Hunter Pence redemption rookie auto, and other various auto and game used cards.
    When it came time to watch my Ebay auctions close-my happiness was no longer existant-I didn’t even come close to getting back even half of what I paid for the box.
    I will stick to buying singles for a while..

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