I saw this article on ESPN this morning about a collector who has been secretly buying up every 1964 Topps Curt Flood trading card. Whether he intended to or not, Mike Haply has cornered the market for that particular card. Collectors who try to complete their set are forced to pay an average of $30 for a low-grade sample and upwards of a $1,000 for a pristine example. There’s nothing really special about Curt Flood or that particular trading card, other than the fact that one person owns about a quarter of all of them!
This kind of collector has always fascinated me. Remember the Ram Man guy? Whatever happened to him? Another example, Rolland Comstock, was a big book collector who had over 1,000 copies of Jim Crace’s first novel, Continent, in his collection before his tragic murder.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to collect just one item. I tend to focus my collecting on just a few characters, but collecting just a single item takes pure dedication. I just don’t have that kind of resolve. Variety is the spice of life, right?
What other instances of these monopolistic collectors have you heard about? If you could corner the market on a single item, what would you choose? Me, I’d probably go for built-up Aurora King Kong models, but the allure of those is how different each one would be, so maybe that doesn’t count. Maybe I’d hoard the AJ Renzi King Kong banks …but where would I put them all?!?