Characteristics of an Effective Collector

1998 Donruss Crusade CTA RedIn a previous article, we talked about the different types of hobby acquirers. In this article, we're going to dig a little bit deeper and discuss what makes a collector an effective one.

In this hobby we call sports card collecting, there are collectors, then there are effective collectors. The difference is subtle but significant. For some, collecting is a casual pastime. For others, it's a refined skill. The following is a list of characteristics of an effective collector.

  • Patience: There will always be more. Collectors with patience are more likely to wait for the right time to buy. This may mean passing up opportunities if the price isn't right. These individuals are content with waiting for the right time to buy. This prevents them from overpaying, which is a plus.
  • Control: This is of critical importance especially to those with limited budgets. Understand your spending limits and exercise a firm degree of control with your outflow. Controlled collectors stop when they reach their spending limit.
  • Focus: This hobby offers an almost endless variety of items to collect. Smart collectors acknowledge that they cannot own it all so they pick a focus and stick to it. This keeps things interesting without going broke or having an ill-defined collection. When people have a clear understanding of what you collect, you are more likely to find what you're after. In this way, having a focus works in your favor.
  • Organization: This is key to avoid double buying. Organized collectors maintain an accurate checklist of what they have so they can keep tabs on what they still need. By having a checklist, collecting becomes easier. Being organized also involves keeping track of your inventory. Organized collectors have a precise system of organizing their collections. They know what they have and where it is.
  • Commitment: For the effective collector, collecting is a lifestyle. These individuals are committed to building the finest versions of their collections possible. This takes years, even decades to do and the effort is an ongoing work throughout the lives of these individuals. In a way, collecting is an extension of these people's personalities.
  • Knowledge: Effective collectors have a rich understanding of the contents within their focus. This includes deep knowledge on the finer details of the cards they buy. These individuals have a firm grasp on things like variations, errors, parallels, insertion ratios, product release types, etc. Effective collectors have an encyclopedia of knowledge on what they collect.

Can you think of other characteristics that should be included in this list? Comment and share your feedback.

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