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  #21  
Old 11-06-2018, 01:30 PM
mikemb mikemb is offline
Mike Lenart
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I'll agree with the less expensive way to complete a set is to just buy a complete set or at least a near complete set or large lot of cards.

Since I also like to put together sets card by card and miss the enjoyment, I have compromised to complete an insert set that gives me the fun of putting a set together but mot at an outrageous cost. I put together a 1966 Topps Rub-Offs complete set this way. Even with postage, it was not over expensive and got some money back from selling duplicates.

It did take me over 5 years to complete!

Mike
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  #22  
Old 11-06-2018, 08:28 PM
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Ben North
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They have already been mentioned but I have used these 3 methods.

1) Just buy the complete set. By far the easiest and way cheaper than putting it together one/few cards at a time.

2) Card by card. You easily spend 2 or 3 times what it would cost to just buy a complete set with all the shipping costs.

3) Large lots. Really cheap or close to free. If you have a lot of time you can buy large lots and take out the few cards you need and sell the rest individually for what you paid for the lot.
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  #23  
Old 11-09-2018, 09:14 AM
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If you have the time and the money, card by card is definitely the most fun. Nothing like handpicking the entire thing and enjoying the chase for potentially years vs days.

But I realize there's a very big If attached to that.

The only "vintage" (get ready to laugh, most of you) set I completed as an adult was 1978 Topps, where I admittedly got started with a 600 card partial set drained of all HOFers. As you can imagine the centering of most cards was poor and I had every sense I was on the back end of some other guy's upgrades. No real harm since it added to the nostalgia of how I remembered these cards as a kid.

In contrast, though not a "real" set, I built my 1956 Topps Dodgers set one card at a time with the express intention of framing it for my wall. As a result I am thrilled with every card, and two of the cards even have a fun story in that I was able to pick up the Hodges and Robinson in person from a guy who got them straight outta packs in 1956.

Pros and cons however you go but unless you're a dealer relying on flipping at a profit to pay the bills, don't undervalue how much fun this kind of thing can be.

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  #24  
Old 11-13-2018, 09:30 PM
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Very interesting reading. As someone who has never in 32 years of card collecting ever really been a set builder - I'm now going after '67 Topps. I can totally see how it's easier to save money on sets at a time, but I'm probably going to go the piecemeal route just because it will be more gradual and interesting. I suppose I could save and wait, but that's not normally how my collecting impulses work. I did just buy a 20 card lot of low-number commons, which for me is a huge step. Normally my head gets turned far too easily on HOF singles or random Cubs cards - even when I'm trying to be disciplined for the short term on something else. For me right now lower grade on some of the commons is totally acceptable. This lot I just got is probably VG-EXish. I had forgotten how fun it is to read the backs of some of these cards with complete stats - guys who toiled in the minors in some pretty interesting places in the middle 50's.

Anyhow, thanks for the advice and we'll see how far this goes. To keep up my star power interest along with the commons at the moment I have complimented them with Clemente, Mays, and Mantle - so there is that. Yay '67!
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Last edited by jchcollins; 11-13-2018 at 09:31 PM.
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  #25  
Old 11-14-2018, 01:53 PM
thatkidfromjerrymaguire thatkidfromjerrymaguire is offline
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Definitely a great question. When I started building my mid grade raw 52 Bowman set, I thought my main goal was going to be keeping my cost to a minimum. But as others have pointed out, that meant just buying the complete set. And that didnít seem like much fun (and itís also hard for me to rationalize spending a few thousand dollars all at once on cards). So Iíve been building through small lots and singles. If I ever complete it and then decide to sell, I hope iíll at least get out the amount I spent compiling it. And if I turn out ďlosingĒ money, well thatís a small price to pay for the joy it brings me. I love building this set. I just passed the 50% mark yesterday. If I had it to do over again, I would have purchased one big starter lot first (50+ cards) to lower the price a little, but Iíll just keep that in mind when I decide on what my NEXT set will be.
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  #26  
Old 11-14-2018, 02:19 PM
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John
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Exactly. It may be more expensive in the long run, but small lots of cards are a lot more easily justified than dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time.
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1950's-70's HOF singles. Pre-war Cubs. Random eBay impulse purchases...
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  #27  
Old 11-14-2018, 03:43 PM
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Mark
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I have assembled every Topps and Bowman set card-by-card, series-by-series, set-by-set.

To me, that's the way "collecting" is supposed to be done. Buying a complete set isn't "collecting" it's "accumulating"
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  #28  
Old 11-15-2018, 09:15 AM
onlyvintage62 onlyvintage62 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfh24 View Post
I am new to the forum and would like to solicit experiences of vintage set builders as the pertain to the most effective means of completing/collecting complete sets.


I started my vintage set collecting endeavors by purchasing a complete 1968 set ($1200) that would probably grade in the VGEX-EX range with a few EXMTs and Gs scattered throughout. My preference is to have my sets in EXMT with stars in NMT if not to expensive. I can tolerate a few EX+ mixed in the set for "non-important" cards. As a result, I spent a considerable amount of time upgrading and may have erased all initial savings. I am not certain of my total spend on the set.


As part of an experiment, I decided to complete my next two sets (1965 and 1966) by acquiring all cards along the way with the hopes of not having to "upgrade".


The 1965 set went smoothly and finished with a total spend of $2797 for a set in EXMT or better with all stars at EXMT or better.


The 1966 set has been another experience all together. I am currently sitting at a spend of $3229 with two cards remaining that will likely add at least another $150. There is no doubt that I failed to consider the cost of the high # and SPs in 1966.


Data conducted during my experiment has proven "inconclusive".


My question to the readers is: do you believe it is most efficient to purchase a complete set or assemble the set from scratch? I am considering a jump to 1967 or 1964 next.
My fourteen cents....Having done this many times. I would collect those cards that 1- potentially go up in value first- Stars, high numbers semi high number,s, semi stars and what I call hometown heros as well

You should try and collect your favorite teams cards first as well as those if you are in a two team city.

Hope this helps,
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  #29  
Old 12-01-2018, 05:32 PM
jayandbutton jayandbutton is offline
Jay Swartz
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yes, starter lots are the best approach because you gain the advantage of a price break without missing the joy and fun of running down cards on your want list.

gigantic set partials are very hard to find but small to mid-sized starter lots are relatively easy. heritage auctions seem to have them every sunday night.
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  #30  
Old Today, 11:36 AM
SOX75 SOX75 is offline
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In the last 18 months I've "accumulated" the 1970-1972 and 1974-1976 sets. I grew up as a set-builder collector and sought out getting the sets I'd wanted as a kid.

I've used the same method each time: buy a complete set online. My results have been mixed. With the 1971, 1975 and 1976 sets I did pretty well and only a handful of cards needed to be upgraded to my standards (EX-Mint). The 1970 and 1972 sets were another matter. These were VG-EX sets that have needed significant amount of cards upgraded (over 200 each set). The costs of upgrading the cards have pushed each set over $1200 of total cost.

Guess which sets I've enjoyed most: 1970 and 1972. It's fun to chase the cards, get them in the mail and go through the backs of each one as I'm swapping them out of my binders.

Another tip I discovered...look at other online auctions besides eBay for sets. I got my 1971 set through Heritage for $500 and it is damn near perfect (to me) right out of the box. A similar set on ebay from PWCC or other sellers would have pushed this set well over $1,000. The auction sites that you need to get approved to bid make a lot of sense because there are fewer competitive bidders. But the caveat is that 20% buyer's premium that you need to consider.

My takeaway from my experience is to really look at the high dollar and high number cards for their condition prior to buying. The commons are readily available cheap. But high number cards can go for $5 or more each and it really adds up.
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