Taking My Hacks

The One that Got Away

Joe Orlando

This is a story of heartbreak ... a story that many people can relate to. It lingers in the back of your head for eternity and the pain festers in your heart like a wound that will never heal. The opportunity was lost as you replay the scenario over and over again. You went down without a fight when it was well worth fighting for. When you had your chance, you stood at the plate with the bat on your shoulder and took a called third strike.

As you drive down the street and turn on the radio, the torment continues as it seems like every station is playing Someone Like You by Adele. At this point, you simply can't hold back the tears any longer as you are reminded of the loss, the piece that is missing from your life. What is it with that damn song! You are forced to face the realization that you will, most likely, never get another chance to make things right and fill that ever-present void.

What am I talking about? You know what I'm talking about ... that stupid collectible you froze on and failed to acquire years ago, leaving you with a lifetime of regret! You failed to pull the trigger. It was sitting right in front of you, within your grasp and you foolishly let it go. You just let another guy take it from you and now you have to see her in his Set Registry pictures every time you turn on the computer and visit that page. She isn't even wearing her velvet pouch in the photos. What a tramp!

You can just hear the angry cries from those who find themselves in this position as they exclaim, "Look at them together ... I bet you he doesn't even know her favorite place to go in the PSA storage box like I do! Does she even remember when I took to her to the PSA luncheon five years ago and introduced her to BJ, Cosetta and the entire PSA crew ... did it even mean anything?"

Come on ... did you actually think I was talking about a person? Please. I am talking about real anguish here. There are plenty of fish in the sea but there is only a single 1952 Topps Ken Heintzelman #362 in PSA Mint 9 - it's a Pop 1!!!

All kidding aside, I am sure there are some collectors out there that can relate to this feeling even though the anguish may not be quite as extreme as it is portrayed above. Is it just me or do you ever go back through old auction catalogues, like an old photo album, and wonder how you either missed the item completely or failed to pursue it further? I know I do and I kick myself for it. Maybe it's some sort of sadomasochistic ritual but I do it from time to time.

Old auction catalogues can provide great references but they also can bring back some memories of when I failed to bring one of those great items home. What I have found most interesting is, when your collecting interests change over time, the act of revisiting old auction books can be even more painful as you realize that some of the items on your A-list today weren't even on your radar 10 or 15 years ago. So, in a sense, going back through the catalogue can provide a brand new experience.

As collectors, we tend to skim or skip over the sections we don't have much interest in. So, as an example, if you only collected baseball cards in 1999 but have since expanded to non-sports cards or baseball memorabilia, going through the old catalogues can be a lot of fun yet torturous at the same time.

I hope you had as much fun reading this month's column as I did writing it. It's a subject that many collectors can relate to. It can bring up the memory of a lost opportunity but remember that many other collectors share your pain, even if it is relatively minor.

So, which collectible is The One that Got Away for you?

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.