Storing Away My Thoughts

piles

So Jeff Katz (also author of Split Season) over at the new SABR Baseball Committee Blog shared his thoughts on how he organizes his baseball card collection. I left a lengthy post that I figured I should post here as well and see what other collectors and bloggers do with their collections.

I have often found myself battling how to organize my baseball card collection, even today(!!!!) when I am working from home. Most of the time the ideas I come up with

Here is what I have currently organized:

  • 6″ Album for my All-Time Red Sox Collection (one card of every player to have appeared in a Sox uni
  • Another soon to be fruition Red Sox odd ball album
  • A long graded box for my Pre-War, Vintage high-end graded Sox cards. Also in this box are Red Sox vintage oddballs not graded, relics, and auto cards
  • Sets in binders: Topps 1959, 1965, 1968, 1971, 1975, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1993, 2009, barely started 1955 Bowman
  • Another soon to be fruition 1970s/1980s food issue odd ball album
  • Another soon to be fruition No-Hitters/Perfect Games album
  • Everything else is either in stacks, 800, 1600, or 3200 count boxes. In general, these are somewhat organized by year or decade. But there’s some lack of organization within those boxes.

Also just for reference, my collection is technically within living area space, albeit out of site and not in a basement.

I often go through these boxes and pull cards I like for some sort of organized lot/collection/spur of the moment idea … only to have these remain in those said stacks of cards.

I often hit this roadblock over and over. From penny sleeves to top loaders to pages and the cycle keeps going around and around. Pages to semi-rigids, top loaders back to pages …. AAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHH! I have quite a bunch of vintage Topps super stars, leader cards, All-Stars, RCs, combo cards from 1952 to 1979 (and to present) that I don’t know how to organize. I like looking at cards in albums as well as just grabbing a stack of cardboard and flip through to enjoy five, ten, fifteen minutes for myself.

Do I put in pages by years or penny sleeves by years. Just some of what I’m talking about: 53 Bob Feller, 54 Duke Snider, 56 Williams, 56 Jackie Robinson, 58 Aaron, Mays, Berra, Matthews, 60, Musial, 63 Mantle, Koufax, 67 Gibson, Santo, Yaz, 70 Clemente, Gibson, Rose, 74 Winfield, 75 Brett, Yount, Rice, Carter, Aaron and on and on.

I think the one battle that in consistent in my thoughts, is how do I have all my favorite Topps — 1952 to present — in one spot all together. Is that in a large five-inch album or a 3200 count shoebox (kind where cards should be no)?

I just recently thought about taking my favorite Topps cards I have from 1952 to present and create sorta a type collection of Topps Through the Years. One 9-pocket page per year (maybe two if I couldn’t eliminate cards). It certainly would create some great posts for me (otwbbcards.wordpress.com) and would also include the one page each for all the Traded/Update sets (74, 76, and so on). I could add a page of subsets/inserts like the 1969 Deckle Edge too. But THEN, what do I do with the other cards??? What happens if I gotta bump a 1967 Topps Whitey Ford for say a 1967 Tony Conigliaro? Where does Ford go? In a box yet again? I suppose this route would help streamline my collection and extra stars and what not could help me acquire (through trade) other cards I desire more.

Open to other ideas for organizing as well … Would love to hear what other collectors do …

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10 thoughts on “Storing Away My Thoughts”

  1. I saw the post over at the Sabr site. Your response was pretty detailed. I used to have some of my collection bindered. About two years ago I pulled everything out to reorganize. It’s now sitting in various size boxes 500ct to 5000ct.
    Ideally what I will do is leave some sets in boxes that were purchased complete. Some of my sets that I’ve put together will get put in binders. Probably 67-83. The others 84-96 will probably remain in the long boxes of various sizes.
    I’ve started putting my oddball size items in binders. I collect not only cards but just about any flat item that the Redsox are represented on. It is very time consuming but rewarding when complete.

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    1. I commented over at SABR on how I have my collection organized currently.

      That said, my continual struggle is what to do with all the cards I have. I’ve got thousands of cards that I don’t necessarily want but that I also don’t necessarily want to get rid of just willy-nilly. I think about whether I should start more collections. I’ve tossed around the idea of a “collect the 1980s” as a collection — to collect and organize and binder up literally every card from the 1980s. With how easily available cards are from that era, perhaps I could do it.

      I also struggle regularly with organization. I’m a compulsive cataloguer. I really enjoy “ticking the boxes” for some reason. I also enjoy knowing “how many” I have.

      I guess the point is that our collections are our hobby, and that hobby is our relief and release from the stresses of our everyday work lives. How we organize and reorganize our collections — that is how we draw our enjoyment from it. Whatever makes you happiest today is the right answer!

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    1. My “Collect the 80s” binder would either be an attempt to collect every single 1980s card that isn’t an error, or it would be a type collection — trying to get one of every one card from each of those fantastic oddball, special 44-card Fleer sets, all those MSA disc sets, the Brewer police sets (all 8000 of them…which might be overstating it by a factor of 2), the Mother’s Cookies sets, all the TCMA sets, etc. I’d probably lean toward the latter to start with and then, from there, expand it to the former assuming reasonable success at it.

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      1. Those box sets were crazy!! Always like the look of the Mothers Cookies but being in New England never got them. I know in the card store I worked in as a kid we get a couple sets here and there but never bought any. Only set I have is a four card set of Griffey Sr/Jr. from 1991.
        I do envision an 80s binder as part type but them trying to figure out say 1983 Fleer. I’d have a page of rookie cards, another for the subset combo cards and then I guess HOFers and then cards I thought were cool. Looking at three major brands flagship sets that’s 27 sets plus 1980 Topps… 88 Score was cool while 89 blew…would have to add the 89 Upper Deck plus traded, highlights, rookies sets. And then maybe type set the sticker, box, food, police issues.

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  2. I’ve addressed my card organization on my blog a few different times. It hasn’t changed any since those times.

    I keep it pretty simple. I’m a binder guy. I have lots of binders. Any complete set goes in a binder. My entire Dodgers collection is in binders (I think I’m around 20 binders now for Dodgers, but keep in mind I’m not squeamish about double-bagging). I also have binders for non-baseball cards, non-sports cards and my night-card collection. I love cards in binders. You can personalize the look of the binder to the collection inside (not that I have time for that — I usually just choose a specific color). And the smaller sets (recent Stadium Club, various insert sets) look cool in smaller binders.

    For any cards that don’t fall in the above categories, I place them in long boxes and they’re in order by set, and then team. I also have a couple of shoeboxes with sets I’m not completing. But I’m not crazy about shoeboxes, unless they’re really sturdy, because they ding cards too easily.

    I also have special single cards in toploaders like the cool kids. But that’s a pretty small part of the collection.

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    1. Thanks for the insight Greg. Not worried about most of my 50s and 60s vintage being dinged as most are of the VG to EX sort. My beef with top loaders and semi rigids is that they look nice at first but then scratch easily when flipping through them. Penny sleeves seem to loose luster after a while. Deep down, I guess I have always gone back to binders (laid flat of course).

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