This is an ongoing series on the differences between collecting vintage and modern cards. The previous installment discussed the various card marketplaces. This chapter covers where cards research and discoveries.
One of the very cool things about vintage cards is that much is unknown about them. Lots of sets are mostly mysteries. Who printed them? How many cards are in the set? How were the cards distributed?
Even very common sets have unknown qualities. T206s with previously unknown front/back combinations are routinely reported on the Net54 forum. Just a month ago someone reported a new variation in the T205 set – again on Net54.
Lesser known sets can be totally unknown. For example, there used to be some odd handcut cards of team managers from the 1930s. Nobody knew anything about them, and they were classified as strip cards of some sort. Sometime later, a calendar was discovered. The calendar had pictures of the managers around the edge. The cards were cutouts from this calendar. Some collectors live for discoveries like this, and I think they are pretty cool too.
Modern cards don’t leave so much to the imagination. Are they an open book? No, but press releases and product announcements generally cover most any question you’d have. Oh sure, there are some unknown bits about sets. Topps Allen & Ginter has its annual code contest. Apparently Upper Deck has never revealed the variations in its 2010 Double Take set. Still, for the most part, modern cards don’t normally put up much of a fight when it comes to checklists.
If you’re into research and discovery, vintage cards will probably be more fun for you.
Winner: vintage cards