What starts a collection?
What ends a collection?
I've collected sports cards for 30 years. That's crazy when I think about it. Through those years I've always collected Montreal Canadiens. I've also collected sets and certain players. Some times the choice seems clear and obvious. Other times the reasons are random or unexpected.
As I mentioned, I've always collected Montreal cards. I have well over 10,000 cards featuring various Habs through the years. I never focused on a player until the mid-90's when I started putting more effort into a young Finnish player named Saku Koivu. I first saw him compete at the World Championships in 1993 and I was hooked. Over the years I collected as much of Koivu as I could but being the brightest star on a historic team meant numerous cards made each year. It became overwhelming. Last time I checked there were well over 2,000 Saku Koivu cards. It's probably higher now. The fact that I had about 450 seemed almost miniscule by comparison. I continued to collect his cards but in smaller numbers. Then the unimaginable happened... he did not re-sign with Montreal and became a Duck. Although I'll always be a fan and I'll continue to grab his older Montreal cards, I could never continue that collection on to another team.
In the effort to find another Montreal Canadien who was easier to collect than Koivu, I decided a few years ago to collect Andrei Markov. The best thing about Markov, in these days of numerous rookie cards from various sets, was that he only had one rookie card from 1996-97 UD Ice. He was also an unsung talent who had many fewer cards to collect. When I started my Markov collection, his rookie card was 10 years old but he still had barely more than 100 cards in the hobby. Talent rises and soon Markov became an all-star... then a two-time all-star... and gradually the face of the team. Now he is becoming a fixture in most sets. It's nice having more cards to collect but it's also more expensive and the chase is more difficult. But that's why I collect. For the adventure you find while searching for a treasure.
I have two other player collections... maybe I'll talk about them another time.