The Quest

The Baltimore Orioles have been in town since '54 and have had over 900 men don their uniform. My goal is to obtain a signed card of each player. If you have something I need, or see something you want, don't be shy, we can make a deal.

Collection Statistics

Total Players 877/977 = 89.25%
1991 Orioles Crown Set
Total Players 309/465 = 66.45%
Alive Players 274/369 = 74.25

Friday, March 12, 2010

Autograph Collecting Learning Curve

The Quest I have undertaken has narrowed my collection while broadening how I pursue it. Whereas before, I merely busted packs hoping for the cards with the best trade potential, I now have diverse ways to grow my collection.

The first branch was through the mail. This was the easy transition, take cards I had and send asking for autographs. Not rocket science and it was something I had tried slightly as a kid. TTM requests has been a huge facet of my collecting but the well will eventually run dry. Too many players are inconsistent, won't sign or can't be found to ask for an autograph. I have sent a ton of requests, seen a good number of returns but know the successes are slowing down.

Earlier this year I went back to in person requests at Orioles FanFest. The nature of the event was more structured than most autograph hounds are used to but had the excitement and unpredictability that is typical at the stadium. I will be making more trips to "The Yard" this season in hopes of acquiring the current players my collection is lacking.

While at FanFest I met a bunch of other Orioles collectors and learned about other collecting tactics, namely the 50/50. I understood the principal of 50/50, half, I get it, I just had never heard of it with regards to collecting. It's a cool concept, just seems a little lopsided when big ticket items are being used. I collect cards so its not a big deal, unfortunately the people willing to do a 50/50 only want jerseys or bats that can bring more money (my opinion). Few people want to do a 50/50 for Miguel Tejada cards, just Matt Weiters or Brian Matusz jerseys.

I did a 50/50 for spring training with Scott Moore just to try it. I may have been able to get him TTM as well but figured I would give it a try. At least this way I was guaranteed to get my card back and I did, signed. Go me.

Using has unearthed another way to grow my collection, if only indirectly. Blind trading is sending any number of random cards to a trader for the same number of randoms in return. This may not make much sense but for me it seems to fit well. I only send to Orioles, and typically only have Orioles cards to send. This ensures that an Oriole card will come back signed, but also makes sure all my doubles are of Orioles. Trading has proven slightly difficult when people collect from other teams, so I am working on it. I have a blind trade that should come in next week, we'll see what it yields.

Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? I'm learning.

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