August 3, 2001
there are two aspects which I consider to be quite crucial to the ATC-project: commercialism and collections.
the only thing ATCs and commercial trading cards (CTC) have in common is the size. while CTCs come in series which one is supposed to complete, ATCs are often originals or come in rather small editions (highest number of an edition of a card I heard of was 50 - but I don't know everything). the CTCs are sometimes manipulated (only a few prints of certain cards) to make people buy more sets and some series and/or cards turn into collectors items which are sold for unbelievable sums. ATCs are being traded and not sold, so this aspect is not part of it - there is no need to make them 'rare' or more 'valuable'. the act of the personal trade, the communication, is the most important value of an ATC .
in spite of whatever you do, your collection will be unique but never 'complete' in terms of a given number of cards one is supposed to complete/collect in a serie since there are a lot of 'originals' being traded. in my opinion this is another charming aspect of the ATCs: there are as many different and unique ATC-collections as there are traders.
as one can easily see I'm neither a friend of mass-production nor of capitalism - I prefer the personal contact and communication. but if anyone prefers to produce series in small editions I do not mind either - it's up to you what kind of ATCs you produce and with whom you trade them.