This topic is an easy one as my favorite card in my collection is this one:
This is a 2007 Bowman Chrome Refractor numbered out of 500 card. It’s the first card that I got to start the Tim Lincecum collection and also the one that got me back into the hobby. It began by me following him as a player. I noticed that he was blowing out the hitters in the minors and thought it would be wise to pick up a card of his and just follow his path and career through the majors. What started as a small interest has ballooned to a quest to find every card of his. I bought this card off eBay for $90 shipping included, which is a steal now. I became paranoid that it was only in a penny sleeve and toploader so I decided to make a trip to PSA headquarters to have this card encased. I was going to be in the area anyway so I dropped it off to be graded along with a couple baseballs. It was not my intention to grade it to increase the value, but really to preserve it in a more protective case. When the grading returned to me, I was shocked to find that it was given a Gem Mint 10, which is the highest for PSA. Now I know that Gellman has these rules for grading cards and I think this card and its grading accidentally falls into all those categories. I’m not a fan of grading just any card either, but I think I was pretty lucky to have this one done. By looking at similar items and past sales, the last time I checked, I think a Refractor numbered out of 500 that was a PSA 10 sold for around $350. Not bad for picking this up for $90. I think grading cost like $20 or something so it has definitely appreciated in value. It doesn’t hurt that Tim also won the Cy Young this year. I have went back and forth on selling my entire collection in recent months, but I have thus far convinced myself not to. I’m not sure if I would ever sell this piece. If I do sell it, then I woudl sell everything else off as well. That would also mean the end of the hobby for me.
I think with player collections, it’s always about obtaining more of the player and trying to get every card that’s ever made. However, I would jump at the chance to buy the same exact card if I saw it for the right price. But I also believe that with every player or team collection, there is one card that defines the collection. For me, it’s this one because it’s his first autographed rookie card and comes from Bowman. The only card that’s better than this one would be the next parallel up, which is the X-fractor numbered out of 250. From there, it’s the blue parallel refractor numbered out of 150, etc.
As for attaching memories or sentiment to certain pieces, I don’t think I do in this case. I would not be sentimental about a card that I bought. On the contrary, I would have more sentiment in a piece in which I got the autograph in person or if I opened a box and got a hit of a lifetime. Otherwise, buying a card off eBay does not really create any special memories for me.
1/1’s have flooded the market and I’m pretty sick of them now. Unless they are unbelievably good looking such as the superfractor, 1/1s don’t really mean much to me. Any card that’s serial numbered could technically be a 1/1 because there’s only one of that number in the series. The thing that made me dismiss chasing 1/1s was the printing plate. These are supposed to be 1/1s, but there are acutally more due to different color plates along with different parallel versions. In addition, they aren’t even very good looking. I just see them as gimmicks and I would gladly take an actual card over a printing plate.