Does it really matter? I mean, unless a card is mangled beyond recognition with pinholes from being thumb tacked to a wall, or cut with a scissor, or dunked in water? What I’m talking about here is the difference in condition between a card that has the player’s picture intact and all writing legible, and a card that is in such mint condition that you could serve dinner on it. Does it really matter? If you’re a hard core collector and want a card for sentimental purposes. Because you remember the pictures you pored over as a kid. Because you remember the smell of the cards (and maybe the stale gum?) Because you love looking at a player’s stats over and over and figuring out what their best year really was. Or because the card reminds you of your childhood? Does the condition between very-good and mint really matter?
Now if you’re collecting to have the best collection, in the best shape, and possibly for investing rather than really collecting, the condition differences matter, no doubt. But when you think about some of the origins of collecting, when you think about how Jefferson Burdick cataloged cards, and even how some cards were pasted into books early on, did the condition of the card really make a difference?
The answer is, to me, that it makes a difference to some people, but not others. You make your own call on how it matters to you, obviously. I’ve made mine.