How to Collect: What Type of Collector Am I?

Our Guide to Help Build Your PC

Date: Feb 13, 2023
Topics: Collecting, How To Collect
Length: 934 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

Whether new to The Hobby or returning to collecting, once you’ve ripped a few boxes, you will face an existential moment: What type of collector are you?

With so many new options and products available to collect, it can be overwhelming to figure out your path forward as a collector. If you’re feeling stuck or paralyzed by choice, the following guide breaks down collector types and profiles to get you started. 

One of the best things about collecting is deciding what kind of collector you want to be. There isn’t one type of collector or correct way to collect – it’s all about your interests and what makes you happy.    

Collector Types 

There seem to be just as many collectors as there are types of Wax to collect. Do you follow a player, a team, a particular year, or a yearly set? The point is that there are as many collectors as there are types of cards. But, there are a few classical collector types. So, let this be your guide as you develop your collector profile and start to put together a killer PC that will keep you collecting for years to come.  

Set Collector

A Set Collector seeks out every card from a specific set. This approach is one of the best ways to start your card collection. You identify a set that interests you, such as Topps Series 1Bowman Baseball, or Allen & Ginter Baseball, and collect every card in the release, including all subsets and Inserts. What’s great about this approach – especially as an initial foray into collecting – is that you’ll end up collecting a variety of card types – Rookie CardsParallels, and cool Inserts – that will further refine your collector identity  

Player Collector

A player collector is driven to collect a complete set of cards for a specific player. Whomever your favorite player is – it could be a bonafide superstar like Mike Trout or a workhorse fan favorite like Brandon Inge – the thrill is trying to collect all the cards you can. Depending on the player you’re targeting, you’ll get to figure out if you want to focus on cards produced during their playing career, post-retirement, or cards from a particular set – the permutations are manifold. The fun of becoming a Player Collector is that it allows you to develop a deeply personal relationship with a player throughout their career and beyond.

 Team Collector

The Team Collector seeks out cards of a specific team. Team collecting allows for a historical study of a specific team. Through each unique card of a particular group, you’ll see how a team has developed through the seasons, an accounting of prominent players, long-tenured players, and the various accomplishments your team and its players have achieved. Something to consider as you decide if team collecting is your passion and what team to focus on: depending on the team and era, you could be looking at the difference of tens of thousands of cards produced for a specific team.  

Chasing the Rainbow

Chasing the Rainbow is a modern collecting phenomenon where you collect different color Parallel cards of a player. Depending on the player and Parallels, including Autos, a complete Rainbow collection could consist of many cards. Additionally, some collectors chase only the Paper or Chrome Rainbows or combine both. One of the main reasons why many collectors Chase the Rainbow is because of how aesthetically pleasing these cards are on display.  

Vintage Collecting

This type of collecting is the opposite of Chasing the Rainbow. Vintage collectors only focus on vintage cards dating from around 1979 or earlier. The cool part of vintage collecting is that it combines Set, Player, and Team collecting under a single pursuit. Equal parts nostalgia and anthropology, Vintage Collecting is all about finding the card you’re chasing in the best condition for the best price. 

Prospecting 

Prospecting is collecting cards produced of young players who have yet to reach the majors. In many ways, Prospecting is all about banking as many lottery cards as possible – imagine collecting the first-ever card of Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, or Juan Soto. For Prospecting, it’s all about Bowman Draft and Bowman Chrome. Both sets offer the most prospect cards of any other product on the market – MLB draftees predominate in Bowman Draft, and International Signees predominate in Bowman Chrome.   

Completist

The completist is, in many ways, the most dedicated and ambitious collector type. The completist collector is driven to possess every card of a particular set, year, team, player, or category. If they collect 2021 Topps Chrome Baseball, the Completist will hunt down every card from that Checklist – including every Base CardParallelAuto, etc. Common Cards from a given set will have little value for many collectors, but for a Completist, whose aim is to complete each set, the Common Cards will have significant value since they cannot complete the set without them.

As you can see, there are many different ways to collect, and there is no one right way. Try these main collector types out, or create a hybrid all your own!

No matter how you collect, the driving force behind building your collection is to have fun. 

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