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As the old year whithers away and gives way to the bright and shiny New Year, people take stock of what they’ve been doing and what they want to do differently this time around.

For baseball card collectors, the New Year means early glimpses of new card issues, thoughts of Spring Training and a new baseball season, football playoffs, and visions of hobby grandeur for the coming 12 months.

1987-Topps-Wax-Pack

But sometimes the New Year just sneaks up on you, right? I mean, you’re chugging along a couple of days after the World Series, making holiday plans when, BAM! — the New Year is bearing down on you.

If you ever find yourself in this situation and can’t quite get your bearings, your old-school hobby roots can help you right the ship.

Here, then, are 50 foolproof collecting signs that the New Year is upon us …

1. You’re saving a wad of 1987 Topps wax wrappers because they’re going to be worth something someday.

2. You got your first monster box full of new commons and are considering using them to paper your bedroom walls.

3.  Upper Deck

1989-Topps-Gary-Sheffield

packs are space aged and impenetrable … but you suddenly realize you like wax better.

4. Topps increases prices by 1/6th, to 35 cents per wax pack.

5. You’re excited about Gary Sheffield.

6. Your local card shop owner is considering giving you his empty wax boxes from last year.

7. You’ve read all the baseball books you got for Christmas and started working through The Baseball Encyclopedia, page by page.

8. Sports Collectors Digest devotes a cover to the new 1985 Donruss Action All-Star cards.

9. Someone mentions that Spring Training is less than two months away.

10. You inexplicably organize your football cards to match the playoff Atari 2600 Baseballbrackets.

11. Your rounds of Atari baseball are fueled with the fire of anticipation of a new baseball season.

12. The new Fleer baseball cards have tiny little player photos on card backs."1978

13. Pat Tabler is Mr. Clutch.

14. You can’t wait to see what Kevin Mitchell will do for an encore.

15. You start making grand plans for finishing your Mario Soto collection.

16.The new Fleer wax packs contain 17 baseball cards and bubble gum.

17. You hear that Donruss cards will be scarce this year.

18. You wonder if you could trade your dried-up Christmas tree for more baseball cards.

19. You get a hankering for Street & Smith’s.

20. The new Topps cards are made with the same old soft card stock for the 109th year in a row, and you wonder when they’ll use something better.

"1987

21. You’re excited about Tim Pyznarski.

22. You woke up face down on your bedroom floor in the middle of a pile of baseball cards. The overhead light wason. It was 4 am. Thank God for Christmas break.

23.The new Fleer Baseball Greats cards come with bubble gum and a team emblem.

24. Your grocery store has marked down their football cards to 15 cents a pack.

25. You feel like this is the year you will finally o

1988 Score Magic Motion Trivia Card

rganize your collection.

26. The new Topps cards are made with thick white stock … and you think you liked the old soft gray stuff better.

27. You hear that Fleer cards will be scarce this year.

28. The new Donruss baseball cards come with puzzle pieces.

29. Your room is littered with odd-shaped Magic Motion Score trivia cards.

30. You wonder when baseball cards will replace chocol1981 Ray Guy Marketcom Sports Illustrated Posterates as standard Valentine’s fare.

31. You’re excited about the Cleveland Indians.

32. The new Fleer Ted Williams cards come with bubble gum.

33. You just bought a Ray Guy poster from a gum machine at the front of the grocery store.

34. You have a new piece of exercise equipment to stack your baseball cards on.

35. The new Donruss wax packs contain 18 baseball cards and bubble gum.

36. The Dallas Cowboys trash can your grandma bought you for Christmas even though you’re a Chicago Bears fan is jammed in the corner of your room and you feel guilty because you think it looks pretty neat.1963 Fleer Baseaball Wax Pack

.37. You’ve opened all your cards from Christmas but got only one Gary Redus rookie card and it’s still only the Wednesday before school starts and you won’t have any chance at more new cards for at least two weeks. Ugh!

38. The new Fleer baseball cards come with a cookie.

39. The new Donruss cards smell like a chemical factory.

40.The new Fleer baseball cards come with team stickers.

41. Beckett doesn’t have pricing for the current year’s cards yet.

42. You’re considering buying last year’s empty wax pack boxes from your local card shop owner."1981

43. You wonder how Donruss can fit so many cards into wax boxes that are so thin.

44. Rick Rhoden is a Diamond King.

45. Ty Gainey is a Rated Rookie.

46. Your local newspaper just told you that your favorite team traded for Hubie Brooks at the Winter Meetings in December — a month ago.

1985 Donruss Box Bottom Panel47. You just spent the day scouring your collection for Hubie Brooks cards.

48. You get your hands on the supercool new Sportflics cards but end up disappointed … and confused.

49. You start itching to get a look at who’s on the Donruss box bottoms this year.

50. The new Fleer Baseball Greats cards come with bubble gum and a “decal and sticker too”.

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