Wow, how many times have I answered this sort of question... I think this question is only half the story, the other half of the story is why do you still collect as an adult? But first I think I'll answer the original question. How did you start your collecting obsession?
I will preface this with the information that I am a 28 year old female collector from Tasmania.
The first cards I bought were 1989 Ashes series, I collected the set and actually sold them to somebody on here sometime in the last two years... I also collected 1990 Scanlens footy cards. I used to keep all the gum that came in those packs in a jar. Come 1991 I only was able to buy a handful of packs of footy cards and I bought even less in 92 and 93. But boy did cards change in 1994 with Selects AFL series showing a depth of card I had never experienced before - glossy as!
Anyways I bought some packs and would trade with kids up the street, in one pack I pulled Doug Hawkins, the only common the kid's father needed for his set, yeah I traded for about 60 cards I needed... fun times, I even ended up with some 93/94 Upper Deck, which I still consider to be the equal coolest base design along with Skybox premium from the same year. I showed these basketball cards to a friend of my Mum's and he pointed out one Isaiah Rider and told me he was going to be a star. He became my man there and then. It took until Garnett came along for me to actually follow Minnesota, before that I was sucked into the Penny/Shaq Magic craze even getting a Shaq jersey as a kid.
We moved and the neighbourhood kids there were into cards, and so I had $10 my Dad had given me before I caught the bus back to Launceston following a visit, and I bought 4 packets of 94/95 Collectors choice from Chickenfeed (local variety store) and pulled a Michael Jordan Silver Signature card... I wandered over to the local card shop where I traded that Jordan for more packs and I kept pulling mojo (good cards) the shop guy wanted and while I walked in with 4 packs I left with 36... yeah you could say I was hooked from that moment on.
My best pull though remains non basketball, and I still have this card but probably not mint mint condition... from the Batman Animated series card release I pulled the Holodisc.... it was worth $180 at the time - have no idea now... I was so stoked with that card. So I kept collecting, mostly basketball, even pulling a Kobe Bryant Topps NBA 50th Anniversary RC (I had no idea who that was at the time - I was more concerned with discovering through that set that Rider had been traded from Minnesota to Portland).
But the hobby slowly died and the card shops that used to be 3 in my city dwindled to one, until eventually that too closed. Took a break for a bit, joined up with ebay and bought a couple boxes from Taz_Cardz and he told me about this place, and wow when I got to Ozcards it was like a whole new world had opened up for me... a much safer one for trading, people are less likely to rip you off when their reputation is on the line. I learned that the hard way with a deal done outside ebay and without a forum to help... but I can happily say that's the only time I've ever had to deal with such rubbish, because this place became a card collecting haven.
Took me a while to channel my collecting... I've always collected Timberwolves, but collected way too many players beyond just their Wolves cards. Kept collecting Rider though and now I have a pretty darn fine collection of Rider's and I continue to try and add to it, looking for a lot of the rarer cards and oddballs now. I've made a few great mates stemming from this site and I sure am grateful for that.
Now to my question, why do you still collect as an adult? I collect as an adult because its a reminder of simpler times. Most of my good memories in life are tied in to cards. Yes I realise when you analyse that a little deeper it's a little sad, but at least I can say that something has brought me joy. I'm not blessed with smashing good looks or a perfect figure or any real talent (apart from being the most loyal friend a person could have) and I was never really taught how to interact well with people as a child, so I was never very good at making friends. Cards helped me make friends at least on some level, simply through a common interest. I still don't have that many friends, and I have had two sources for making friends, cards and a chat room for my favourite musician. The only person I talk to every day is a friend I met through cards, my best friend I met through some one from the musicians chat room ( we just don't happen to be talking every day right now), but then I know at least three other guys that I enjoy chatting to or playing xbox live games with, through this site and cards. So the cards win.
I continue to collect because of the opportunity to develop friendships with others and because I hope to help the next generation find the same joy in these pieces of cardboard, like I have. I probably shouldn't say this and I am sure someone will take advantage of this, but if I know I'm trading with someone younger than 15 I am more generous to them - it's just the way I am. I still am pretty generous if I can help someone's collection anyway, but when it's a kid, I try harder.
Oh and I love my Timberwolves, I like the underdog I guess. So many of my teams I started barracking for them because they were winners when I first understood the sport - Hawthorn, Man United, Dallas Cowboys, St George Dragons (oh please win tomorrow) - but with Minnesota, they sucked, then they got better, but didn't achieve, and now they suck again, but just like Hawthorn sucking all these years, once I pick a team, I stick with them. I'm really extra excited about this upcoming season, because I've always liked Martell Webster and it will be great to see him play for my team and Beasley is looking prime for a break out season as THE MAN, so what better time to collect. It keeps me connected with what is going on in the basketball world.
The reward for me besides helping people with their collections is a mail day, even if all I get is some Timberwolves base, smile on my face for a week and pep in my step, which I need - I won't bore you with the details there. So that is why I try hard to make sure those people who help me out know my appreciation, especially those that have sent me cards outta the kindness of their heart or thrown in extras in trade deals, guys like nenjabin, aussie2al, HSV, Duckypoo, garnettfan4life, aussielaker, billyhoyle and others I just can't remember right now... these guys have brought me much joy and sometimes at times when I feel like things just can't be any worse, cards just show up... and I have a reason to smile. So thank you - especially to Dave aka Aussielaker, because I donot have the words to describe the difference things he has done for me have made.
So yeah, that's why I still collect. Thank you all.
I just answered a question on a forum about how my card collecting obsession began... well this is what I answered with.... Maybe ya'll will understand my love of cards a bit better for reading this....