There are many collectors out there that are extremely knowledgeable about the trading card hobby. One of these with unending card information stored in their brain (especially if you’re talking Minnesota Twins cards) is Stephan Loeffler. Stephan has a good presence on Twitter, but can also be heard on a weekly card podcast, About The Cards!
BU: Can we get a little background on you?
SL: Sure. I’ve been collecting since I was a kid, and heavily collecting for the past 10 years or so. I’m mostly a Minnesota collector – but I have a few players outside the state that I collect as well for various reasons – with a heavy focus on baseball especially.
BU: How were you introduced to trading cards?
SL: My parents had a few factory sets around the house that I ripped into as a 6/7 year old, but seeing my interest in sports and those cards my parents saw it as a harmless hobby that they encouraged. A few years later, in my ‘tween years at our baseball practices they’d give away huge stacks of junk wax era cards(88 Donruss) for a quarter between games – and at our local batting cage/race track/putt-putt/arcade locale they had stacks of 1981 Donruss that you could exchange tickets for cards. It was there I found someone (Wayne Nordhagen) from my small NW Minnesota hometown that really fueled my hobby love.
BU: What are you currently collecting?
SL: I’m actively collecting Twins base sets – refractors and autograph cards are nice but I’m mostly trying to finish up the entire runs of Topps/Bowman, Donruss, Fleer, Upper Deck, Score, etc. Other than those, I’ve got the same hometown player collection on going with just a few individual cards remaining – mostly oddball, local issues. On the back of his 2001 Topps’ card, Kevin Millar is listed as his (Nordhagen’s) nephew so I’ve got a side project collecting his cards as well.
My other side-project collection are cards from my high school baseball coach’s son – Ryan Eades. There’s a few cards in 2013/2014 Bowman, 2013 Elite Extra Edition, and a few others but they’re the only rainbow I’ve attempted. I had followed his career when he was with LSU, but when he was drafted as a 1st round comp. pick BY THE TWINS, I couldn’t have been happier.
BU: What do you like most about the hobby?
SL: More than the rush that finding the final card you need for a set, and connecting with the players through collecting – the thing I like most about the hobby are the fellow collectors. Finding out what they collecting, sharing the hobby, talking about it with friends who truly know the headaches of being a collector. 🙂
BU: Do you have any collecting goals for 2019?
SL: Not for my actual collection – but I’d love to make it back to the National this year after having to miss last year’s show. For those that haven’t been I highly recommend making it at least once.
BU: What are some of your best pack-pulled cards?
SL: I don’t buy packs nearly as much as I have in the past, and I don’t have the luck some have pulling cards for their favorite teams – but I have pulled some nice showcase cards! Starting with a box of 2015 Diamond Kings from Nick’s in Dallas, I pulled a #3/10 Babe Ruth dual jersey/bat relic – then a week or two later pulling a #2/10 Barry Bonds jumbo relic auto card. At 2017’s NSCC on the final day after pulling a nice Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, and a cut Wally Berger auto – with Mel/Rich Hardy nearby my wife and I pulled a #/15 Miguel Cabrera auto dual relic. Sure they’re not super-fractors but they’re cards with plenty of history. But my favorite pack pull – I bought a few “vintage” repack products with 1981 Topps, 1981 Donruss and 1981 Fleer in it and in each pack pulled a card of my hometown player. Three for three from range! 😛
BU: Are there any brands that you look forward to every year?
SL: After the holidays, there’s nothing I look forward to most than Series One, and Donruss’ base set. A fresh set with a new copyright to start the season off right. Then I usually turn my attention to Diamond Kings. I’ve had a lot of good luck with the product and I like the breakdown of current, up and coming, and historical auto/relic/base.
BU: What can you tell us about the podcast you are a part of?
SL: About The Cards airs most Wednesdays around 10pm CST on YouTube, but it also gets posted on iTunes/Stitcher and I believe a few other places. We try to cover weekly hobby talk about new releases, Topps Now/Living, as well as a discussion about different topics that come up weekly. That usually being either hobby frustrations, news we found on Twitter that we can share, or just breaking down subjects that people ask about – trying to inform those who are new to the hobby, as well as long time collectors like the three of us.
BU: How did you decide to get involved with the podcast?
SL: It started as a side-project that Tim (@Bigshep79), Ben (Ourtradingcards) and I started one day on a whim. I had a ‘black out’ edition Blue Yet microphone from my Twitch streaming days, Tim acquired a similar, and Ben had a pair of white headphones that we hopped on a stream one night and now 30+ episodes later we’ve had a lot of fun.
BU: Anything else you’d like to share?
SL: Follow Shane Salmonson’s weekly #CheapWaxWednesday series on twitter. 🙂
BU: Thank you for the plug and the interview, Stephan!