This is an ongoing series on the differences between collecting vintage and modern cards. The previous installment discussed the coolness of card collecting. This installment is about the vintage and modern card collecting communities.
People are people, so how can one group of collectors be better than another? Easy. Allow me to make some sweeping generalizations about modern and vintage card collectors. If each of the following statements does not apply to you, please keep in mind that they are generalizations. Don’t take them personally! (If you want evidence for any of these statements, I don’t have any.)
- Modern collectors are younger than vintage collectors.
- Vintage collectors have more income than modern collectors.
- Modern collectors outnumber vintage collectors.
Can you live with those statements? I hope so. It’s hard to say that one group of people is better than the other. I mean there are jerks and decent folks everywhere. I do think that the vintage crowd is more competitive. This is a supply-demand thing. For example, on the Net54 forum (a group of mostly vintage collectors), a number of people are working toward some of the early Zeenut sets. The various collectors are generally known on the forum. Now these early Zeenut sets are tough. Each year has a number of very tough rarities. When a collector posts that he has picked up one of these cards (doesn’t happen often), the other Zeenut collectors always seem a little more than frustrated. I don’t blame them. Some of these cards maybe only have 20 examples known. Each one that goes off the market is a missed opportunity. These collectors really go at it. Indeed, if someone makes a post about a current eBay auction on Net54, people might get angry. “Outing” an auction, while not technically against the rules, is often seen as a faux pas.
In general, modern collectors just aren’t that aggressive. They don’t need to be. With a very few exceptions, the supply is sufficient for anyone to get a given card.
I would say that modern collectors, despite being a larger community, are a little closer. Part of that is the competition thing, but much of the closeness of the community is that just about everyone is collecting the same thing. Look at the modern blogs out there. Almost everyone collects the current issues as they are released. At the same time this summer, the internet was flooded with box breaks of 2010 A&G. Everyone is on the wavelength. Probably the biggest common thread for vintage collectors is the T206 set, but lots of vintage collectors scorn T206s as a little too run of the mill.
In conclusion, I have to give the nod to the modern community as the better of the two. It’s mostly because the modern collectors seem a little more good spirited.
Winner: Modern Cards