Year-end round-up

End of the year and a lull in the collecting season—well at least baseball card season—means it’s as good a time as any to look back at my projects and see how things have come in the past year. Where I did the 30-day challenge a year ago as a way of gauging how my re-entry to the hobby had come, I’ve now had a proper year of really working on projects and to see how well the hobby can hold my interest.


My initial project of Topps team sets from 1953–1993 is at a point of stability where there are no longer any truly-cheap cards left. For the 1960s and 1970s I’m only missing various Hall of Famers (especially Mays), big rookies, and high numbers. So those, when they do come, will take a while and instead I’ve moved into the 1950s and started looking for various Bowman releases.

Thanks to Adam and Artie I’ve also added a wonderful chunk of 1994–present Giants cards to the point where finishing off the Topps run there doesn’t require many more cards. Well, it needs close to 80 cards but for a two-dozen-year period that’s not that many. I’ve also started adding other team sets to this searchlist as well. Not all of the brands and things, just ones where I’m either close or which I happen to particularly like.

In the coming year I plan on focusing on the 1950s cards as those are much more enjoyable to acquire. I’ll certainly welcome newer cards in trade packages and things like that but it’s in the old stuff–especially pre-San Francisco stuff that I’m finding myself having a lot of fun.


I’ve really turned the corner on this project. Aside from only needing eleven cards from the original project scope now—a massive update from my previous update—there is also only one player* with a Modern Major League card that I don’t have in my binder and one other player* who played in the Majors but only has minor league cards.

*Bob Kammeyer whose The Wiz Yankees card is his only MLB card.

*Steve/Mike Davis who has a couple ~1980 Syracuse Chiefs cards.

Of the eleven cards I need, there’s one “white whale” in Doug Camilli’s 1962 high-number rookie which is shared with Bob Uecker and another few semi-spendy cards. Camilli’s 1966 high number is one. As are Jim Lonborg’s 1965 rookie card as well as his 1968 and 1970 cards.

But that’s about it. The rest of my searchlist are cards that exist but which I can’t seem to find. Some of these are understandable because they come from team sets like Sam Fuld’s 2014 Rays card and John Mayberry’s 2010 Phillies card where the card in the team set does not exist in the Flagship set. Others are special editions like David McCarty’s 2004 World Champions card.

Rick Helling’s 2002 Traded card makes no sense as to why it’s so much harder to find than the various parallels. Nor does it make sense to me why Brian Sackinsky’s 1995 Topps is nowhere to be found or why Paul Zuvella’s 1986 Traded card costs a dollar.

Anyway, I’ve added cards to the searchlist which fill in holes that Topps didn’t cover. Even there I only have 16 cards missing and of those, 10 are regionally-issued oddballs that I don’t expect to come across very frequently. All of which means that aside from new releases, I’m only really looking for fewer than 30 cards now.


I’ve made a surprising amount of progress here to the point where all my set goals are in a race to completion. 1991 Donruss is missing 23 cards. 1978 Topps is missing 35. So is 1990 Fleer. 1990 Upper Deck is missing 43 cards. And 1986 Topps is missing 89.

In some ways 1978 has the best chance to complete itself since I’ll actually spend money to buy cards here. In other ways I could find a package in my mailbox tomorrow which finishes any, or all, of the junk wax sets. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens here.

Other projects

My other projects don’t really have a finish line or evolution implied in them. Which is good. I don’t want too many checklists to look after. I’m slowly picking up cards which document expansions and moves but those are more about finding things that are interesting to me. Same with the action cards and the photography cards.

I’m still grabbing Spanish-language cards if I come across them for a good price. I don’t need them all, I just love seeing the variety and am perfectly fine if they intersect with my other projects.

Same with the oddballs. I try and keep those focused to Stanford or Giants cards but sometimes something is just too cool. No checklist again—well aside from kind of sort of wanting to complete the Dennys Holograms—just following my gut and going with stuff that’s sufficiently odd.

Will I start a new project this year? I don’t know. I do know it’s nice to feel focused and have very specific things to look for and I’d like to see how this goes for a while.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

3 thoughts on “Year-end round-up”

  1. Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for you in 2019. Those Denny’s Holograms are a long-term goal of mine as well (several good issue sets are). Long-term meaning I take them as they come but don’t hunt them down.

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