My collecting roots were founded in set collecting and even as I have expanded into player collections and team collections the mentality of a set collector followed. I look to finish up team sets of different products and all the cards from particular sets for some of the players. If I had to give a generalized summary of my collecting approach it would be "I collect card sets".
One of the goals I made quite a number of years ago was to collect all the Topps sets in my lifetime. I started collecting in 1979 and had the sets from that point forward. I had also completed the 1978 set when I was younger after buying a vending box of 500 cards for $40 to start it off. My task was to complete the sets from 1971-1977 to finish my lifetime Topps run.
I bought the 1974 set in its entirety and got an almost full set of 1977. I bought a big lot of 1976 and built the rest. I had picked up a bunch of the star cards from 1975 as it was one of my favorite sets so it didn't take me too long to piece that one together. When I was building the 1973 set my LCS broke up a nice set of 1970 Topps and offered me a great deal to pick up a ton of the high number and was nice enough to allow me to make payments over a few months to stay within my collecting budget. While the 1970 set was prior to my birth, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick up the cards I did at the price.
After finishing the 1973 set, I just needed 1971 and 1972 sets to finish my quest. The 71 set didn't take all that long, especially since I wasn't too worried about the black edges and corners being pristine. Some of the high numbers were a bit difficult and pricey but overall not too bad.
Then came the 1972 set. If you aren't familiar, it is a beast. There are 787 cards that were released in 6 different series. The 5th series is somewhat tough but the last 131 cards form the last series and they are rare and pretty expensive. While I have a pretty solid budget each month to spend on cards I do feel I am very cheap and seek out low prices on cards.
With the 72 high numbers there are rarely low prices and at one point I actually gave up trying to complete the set. For a couple years I set goals to knock of large portions of the set and
I got down to only needing cards from the last series. I wasn't
willing to spend the time to seek out low priced cards and wasn't
willing to spend the budget to pay higher prices so I threw my hands up
and ended the quest.
I so enjoy set building and was so disenfranchised by the 1972 set that I built the entire 1969 Topps set and started the 1957 Topps set instead of going after those dreaded high numbers.
After a pretty long gap one day I just decided to put on my big boy pants and focus on completing the set. I have slowly been picking up cards, some on COMC, some on eBay, a few at my LCS and a few at card shops when I traveled for work. I started spending more time on Facebook and found some there as well.
Recently I received this last batch of cards and I can now say that I have completed the set!
I thought about holding off on posting this for a while because I technically don't possess all the cards. I have 14 cards sitting in my COMC account. Right as the pandemic was heating up I requested shipment of my cards but they have really been delayed on getting orders out. COMC has been reliable for me and I decided to call this one complete. I am so excited to have this full set!!!
So what is next for this set builder? I am still working on 1957 Topps and have decided to go after the 1968 set. I had quite a few 68s and picked up a couple lots so as of right now I only need 221 of the 598 cards in the set. It doesn't have the same huge issues with high numbers so I hope to complete it sometime next year. I don't know if I have it in me to go after the 1967 set with the high number issues there so we will have to see what is in store.
For now I will just celebrate my Lifetime Run of Topps Cards!