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RiceBondsMntna2Rice
05-21-2011, 04:56 PM
Martin St. Louis’ selection as a Hart Trophy finalist a few weeks ago and his electric performance in the playoffs so far make it as good a time as any to share with you the current state of my St. Louis PC and the journey I've taken to get here.

Collecting #26 has been a transformative experience that’s forced to me re-examine who I am as a collector. Surprisingly, this project has at times been a source of stress rather than an escape. For the first time in my collecting life, I've felt a nagging pressure to find the next “must have” card and it's caused me to trade and purchase outside of my comfort zone. It only recently occurred to me that I've yet to consider as part of my PC any card that I pay more than a few dollars for. Basically unless it’s for a set, I’m always disappointed when I get that package from eBay. I have to either pull the card myself or trade for it in order to have any emotional connection to a single. Coming to terms with this discovery has actually played a large role in my decision to take break from the hobby.

But let me start with why one would be inspired to spend entire afternoons tracking down this 5'7'' right-winger’s cards in the first place. Stamkos might be pretty good when it's all said and done, and Lecavalier gets his hobby due, but let's face it: right now Tampa Bay runs on "midget” (to co-opt a term used by some vanquished foes). As a relatively new fan of the sport and the hobby, I've been watching regular season Lightning games to see what the big fuss is over #91. But my focus always turns to that tireless ball of energy zipping across my field of vision. Martin St. Louis, a leader both in the locker room and in local community, is a delight to watch; and as Jeremy Roenick puts it, he’s got skills. The fact that Marty’s pedigree is "undrafted" (just like another of my favorite underdog players Dan Boyle) only further highlights his virtuosity and toughness on the ice and his grace off it.

As mentioned above though, the path I’ve taken in putting this group of cards together has been less than smooth. While these two purchases are minor mistakes in the grand scheme, they're two I really regret. There's been a perfect storm of reasons to bring about my break from collecting hockey cards but these are the wake-up calls that have led me to my self-imposed time out.
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif

They’ve made me realize that I've been so fixated on landing the individual cards themselves that I've lost sight of how the way I acquire cards affects my enjoyment of them.

***
My St. Louis project kind of snuck up on me. I originally only began looking out for cards of the guy with the weird sounding French name for a fellow hockey card collector who I frequently trade with. One afternoon, at my first card show, I spotted a card that I thought he might like. It looked like this:
https://www.sportscardforum.com/images/imported/2011/05/22.png
[courtesy of eBay]

...only it had a striking patch in place of the jersey and an auto beneath it. But well after negotiations fell through and I was on my way home, I couldn't shake the image of the card and I realized that I’d fallen for it myself. So to help quench my desire for a replacement card equally stunning, I decided to start my own collection of the Laval native. I dug through my shoebox to find inspiration and rediscovered three pieces that would serve as the foundation:
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gifhttps://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gifhttps://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif

And with these modest pieces in hand I struck out to find THE card that would complete my collection. From inception, my goal was to track down an autograph, a patch, and a patch/auto to make up for the Authentic Fabrics patch/auto that slipped through my fingers.

I traded for the auto:
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
It was a short print from a beautiful and classic collection. But what I appreciated most about it - its simplicity - was also why it was an inadequate replacement for that opulent phantom card with the dazzling patchwork.

I traded for the patch:
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
This was maybe favorite acquisition of the bunch, and it probably says something about how I value my cards that I didn’t include it in the top 3. But of course, it was missing the autograph.

I even made my first purchase for the St. Louis PC:
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
I’d always been a big fan of Ice Signings and so this was the only eBay pickup that I kept. But it also marked the beginning of an eBay binge that ultimately drove me to take a step back.

Now, onto the 3 Stars…

3rd Star
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https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
This card was my first attempt at replacing the Authentic Fabrics miss in one fell swoop. But the patch wasn’t as "nice" as the one in my mind’s eye, so it fell short. Of course the patches on Scripted Swatches are designed to support a legible autograph, so while I appreciated the card standing on its own, it was becoming increasingly clear that maybe I just couldn’t be pleased.

2nd Star
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Having one of my favorite players from my favorite set was supposed to be a dream come true. It was a lovely card, but a tough negotiation followed by some surface imperfections when I finally saw it in person really took the air out of my tires, even though these types of cards are prone to this type of wear.

1st Star
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https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
https://www.sportscardforum.com/clear.gif
This should’ve been a triumph and a fitting cornerstone to any St. Louis collection. But while it was a great card and I very fortunate to find someone willing to trade it to me, holding the card in my hand didn’t make me feel quite the way I thought it would.
***

Sure, difficult trades and damaged cards aren’t ideal, but there's a larger reason that this undertaking has been underwhelming: I've elevated the Authentic Fabrics card to an almost mythical status in my own mind that no actual card can live up to. I know that in theory I can’t let the ghost of one card dampen my enjoyment of this collection, but that’s easier said than done.

Overall, I think I've wanted some of these cards too desperately and so I haven't enjoyed chasing them down. I haven't been relishing the journey. I've learned that for me, the process of assembling a collection can be at times at least as important as the individual pieces themselves. And that’s a lesson I hope to bring with me when I make my full return to this great hobby, refreshed and maybe a little bit wiser.

Ray Rice Collector
05-24-2011, 12:10 AM
I am starting to feel the same way. It is like the excitement of holding the card is not there anymore. But I recently started picked up some other signed items of my PC guy and it brought that joy back. So maybe chasing something other than cards will help. Maybe a puck or stick.

RiceBondsMntna2Rice
05-24-2011, 03:34 AM
I am starting to feel the same way. It is like the excitement of holding the card is not there anymore. But I recently started picked up some other signed items of my PC guy and it brought that joy back. So maybe chasing something other than cards will help. Maybe a puck or stick.

Hey, thanks so much for the thoughtful suggestion. I will take it to heart. Was it a football that did the trick for you?

Ray Rice Collector
05-24-2011, 06:49 PM
First it was a mini and then I got the same feeling when I got the football.

Pheebs888
05-24-2011, 08:05 PM
published version: http://www.sportscardforum.com/articles/2011/05/the-pc-that-changed-me/