!) The 5800 different cards - NO WAY in hell anyone is taking a card from there. My master set, MINE. Period. Sad to say but my wife CAN'T even touch this set. Sorry, MINE, Personal Collection (PC), MINE and MINE alone.
2) 4050 Second set.
3) 3800 Third set
and so on. Something happens that I NEED to sell, the least amount of cards set is going first. By the time I get to the third set, hopefully I won't have to lay a finger on the second set.
The way I see it, if I wait for the Ripken card I need to show up, I'll end up buying other player(s). Every now and then a card I need
shows up but the seller wants way more than I'm willing to spend. I submit my offer and decline his/her counter offer and move on.
The last 18 months I ended up collecting Aubrey Huff, Victor Martinez, Josh Beckett, Johnny Estrada, Grant Green, Carlos Hines, Pedro Lopez and Jose Guillen while waiting for Cal Ripken cards that are reasonably priced. I ended up spending over 5K for these eight players and now I don't know what to do with their cards. I DON'T COLLECT this guys. I don't even enjoy organizing their cards. Don't get me wrong, I have nice cards (multi colored patches, autographs, 1os1's, printing plates, etc.) but it's just not the same. If my choice is spend $1 on a Cal Ripken card I already have or spend 25 cents on another player, I'll buy the Cal Ripken any day.
You are also right on $10 multiple cards. I stopped on SIXTH set and I have TWO one thousand card boxes full of $10 and up. When I was a Beckett subscriber about two years ago, each box has a BV of 22K & 27K. Bare in mind that on some cards, I try to stop buying after 12 copies but if the price is right, bring it on. Cards like 05 Ultimate Dual Patches w/ Tejada - 3 copies (serial #'d to 10), 98 Donruss Fantasy Team - 15 copies, 10 Panini Century Collection - 10 copies (serial #'d to 25), 97 Finest #334 - 14 copies and the most I have is 200 of 1991 Donruss #52 . The way I see, the more I have the less is out there.
Don't ask why I collect this way because I DON'T NOW WHY, I just do.