Player Collecting: The à La Carte of Card Collecting

Once upon a time, it was possible to collect every hockey card released during the season – especially when there were only two major sets available. But nowadays, it is impossible to collect every hockey card out there, especially when you consider all the parallels, autographs, jersey cards, and one-of-one cards.

Since it is impossible to collect everything, many card collectors focus on player collecting – that is, collecting just the cards of their favorite players.

Like an à la carte menu at a restaurant, which lets you order smaller portions of certain foods without the side dishes, player collecting allows you to sample every, base, parallel and insert set out there.

Or maybe an appetizer sampler platter is a better metaphor?

Regardless, think of building a set of cards as eating a meal. You can only eat so many meals in a day. And barring unlimited funds, which most of us don’t have, you can only collect so many trading card sets in a season.

But player collecting lets you take a “bite” from every set.

Believe me, I tried to collect every hockey card made in the 1990s, and by the middle of that decade, I got a metaphorical bellyache from the introduction of parallels, short prints, and serial-numbered cards.

So, I decided to focus on just getting every card that I could of my all-time favorite player, Chris Chelios. I may never own the entire 1993-94 Parkhurst Emerald Ice or 1999-00 Topps Gold Label Class 2 parallel sets, but at least I can get a Chelios card from those releases, allowing me to have a piece of every set.

Speaking of which, my newest player collection focuses on Ryan O’Reilly. If you have any inserts, parallels, autograph, jersey cards, or even base cards of O’Reilly, hit me up – via email or social media – with what players or teams you collect, and we can trade.

Because, you know, they’re called trading cards for a reason 🙂

Note: This article is an editorial that originally appeared in Volume 1 – Issue 3 of the Puck Junk Newsletter. For stories like these, plus news and updates about hockey cards and collectibles, subscribe to the newsletter here.

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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