In this new, limited blog series, “20 Ways to Collect While Stuck at Home,” we offer ideas for enjoying your collection at times when a standard hobby experience is not possible. Illness, financial constraints, or any number of factors might temporarily keep collectors from participating as they normally would, but that does not mean that their hobby needs to be put on hold.
One of the advantages of being stuck at home is typically having some down time. Maybe you look around and find that your hobby time hasn’t been as enjoyable as you might hope? Perhaps things seem just a bit stale? This is an excellent opportunity to research new areas of the hobby and possibly expand the scope of your collection.
What Is a Hobby Theme?
While there certainly are some freewheeling collectors whose purchases are seemingly based only on a combination of what they can afford and what catches their eye, I believe the vast number of people prefer to implement some sort of theme to their collections.
The themes or hobby parameters could be based on anything: cards they had as kids; cards and memorabilia of their favorite college or team; or a specific set in PSA 8 condition all represent good examples. The key is to first determine what you like and why you collect. One step that you might find helpful in the process has already been discussed in this blog series. .
I’ve Got a Theme, But Now What?
Once you have made the decision of what theme you like, now it’s time to tackle the more specific question of what items you want to collect. There are several questions you can ask yourself that are helpful in narrowing the focus:
- Do you only want to collect cards or are you open to memorabilia as well?
- Are autographs of interest to you?
- Are you a completionist or are you content with just acquiring items you like? Another way of asking this question is do you feel compelled to complete predetermined projects such as card sets or are you comfortable with something a bit less structured?
- Do you want to collect items to be displayed in your home or office, or are you going to tuck your acquisitions away in safes or other secure storage options?
- Do you like unopened material?
- How often do you hope to be adding new items to your collection? Will you be content waiting long periods between acquisitions because the items you collect are rare or do you want the instant gratification of things that are more easily obtainable?
- Are there other subjects that you like that could be applied to your collection? If you are a photographer who loves baseball, then you might consider collecting some sort of baseball photography. If you work in the clothing industry then perhaps some sort of game-worn collection would be of interest to you?
- What sort of budget are you working with?
It is important to understand that the only correct responses to these questions are your honest answers. Your answers are specific to your own situation and meant to help guide you toward acquiring a collection that you will enjoy for years to come.
Again, the only incorrect item to collect is the one that jeopardizes your financial stability. If you like it and can afford it, then feel free to collect it. While the selection of a theme is an exercise in narrowing your focus, selecting what to actually collect is an opportunity for creativity. Using the questions listed above (and others you might ask yourself) as guidelines, be willing to look outside the proverbial box to design a collection that you will really enjoy. Some examples might include:
- Autographed trading cards centered around a particular theme such as Super Bowl MVPs, athletes from your college or university, or from a particular World Series-winning team.
- Game-worn items from your favorite baseball player, to include a cap, jersey, pants, cleats, glove and bat.
- Ticket stubs from each game for your favorite team and season.
- Game-used bats used by the starting lineup of your favorite team from the year you were born.
- Cards featuring superior game photography.
- Cards showing athletes signing autographs for fans.
- A large photo of your hometown ballpark or stadium that you get autographed by athletes who played for your team.
- A game program from each season of your team’s existence, or from a specific event such as the World Series, the Rose Bowl or Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
- Everything you can find that pertains to your favorite team in a specific year — maybe championship season, year you were born, year you went to your first game, etc.
Truly, the choices are endless and should be limited mainly by what you enjoy and can afford. The rest is up to you. So take some time and research a new hobby theme. Even if you don’t settle on something just yet, the knowledge you gain in the process will be invaluable to your hobby future.