Taking My Hacks

A Bird in the Hand...

Joe Orlando

Most of you have heard the old saying...

A Bird in the Hand is Worth More than Two in the Bush.

One of the biggest challenges that we have as collectors is deciding between the bird in the hand versus the chance to own something down the road. I used to wonder what the heck that saying meant but, in the world of collecting, it really applies. What you can own or do own right now is worth more than an uncertain opportunity in the future. That is merely my hobby interpretation of the saying.

I have struggled with this concept for years. You know how it goes. The auction season rolls around and you become inundated with catalogues. Sometimes you find numerous items that would fit nicely in to your collection and, other times, you might only find a handful of items. Regardless, unless money is absolutely no object, you are in the same boat that I find myself in. Most of us have to make tough decisions.

First, we have to narrow the items down to ones we can ACTUALLY afford. Some collectors will move forward anyway and soon find themselves in serious debt. Hopefully, most of you do not let your collecting urges take your personal finances down the toilet. Believe me; I know it can be a struggle to fight the urge.

After you have narrowed your sights to the items you just have to own and the ones you can actually afford, you have to think about your bidding strategies. For example, if I get outbid on this lot, maybe I can swing my available funds over to this lot over here. If I win an item in this auction, I may not be able to bid on the item in the following auction because my "allocated hobby funds" are depleted. I think you get the picture. For most of us, it's just part of the bidding experience.

Now, let me throw a new wrinkle into the mix. You have just received all of your auction catalogues, which contain a host of great items to bid on, when you are suddenly offered another great item. This time, the item is offered to you privately. You are quoted a price that appears attractive or is at least close to affordable to you. If you pull the trigger, you can own the item right now or you can pass on it to keep your options open for the upcoming auction season.

What do you do?

I have gone through this time and time again. It is a very difficult dilemma for those of us on a budget and I do have my share of regrets. There have been situations where I had the chance to either buy something privately or bid more aggressively in an auction that day but passed for the mere chance at winning something later. When I passed on the items that were within my grasp, unfortunately, I ended being outbid on the items I patiently waited for. I ended up with nothing.

Please, take my advice on this issue. Learn from my experience and from the holes that still exist in my collection. If you are offered something great today or have the chance at owning something by bidding more aggressively right now versus the possibility at owning something later, take the bird in the hand. You will be glad you did.


Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.