Volume 1, Issue 5, November 1998

Storing and Sorting Your Cards

"Now that I have all these cards, what do I do with them?"

By David Skoglund

Does this question sound familiar to anyone? It sure does to me. When I collected baseball cards as a child the first answer to this question was to put them in a shoebox, sorted by team and bound together by rubber bands. Traditionally, this is a popular method of storing one's collection. I'm sure most of us have had our collections organized this way at one time or another.

A little later on I received a "special" baseball card box. I think my parents sent away for it for me from an offer on the back of a pack of cards. This special box was a small replica of a baseball player's locker crafted out of cardboard and plastic with a vinyl coating. Inside the locker were 24 slots for you to slide your cards inside, one of each team at the time. You even got a sheet of stickers with the team names on them so you could mark each slot with the name of a team. It probably cost about $5 including postage. I doubt that it held more than 500 cards, but at the time I thought I'd never fill it up. Remember those days?

Eventually my collection outgrew the card locker and it was back to shoeboxes. Somewhere in here I kept changing my mind about how my collection should be arranged. For awhile I kept them by teams, then by year and number order, then in teams but in year order, etc. The arrangement possibilities go on and on. I think the real appeal in sorting and resorting cards is that you have the excuse to go through your collection and look at it. I remember all those hours spent sitting on the floor of my room, or at the dining room table sorting cards and then resorting them.

Eventually, I discovered plastic album pages. This complicated things in that each time I changed my mind about how I wanted things organized, I'd have to take all the cards out of their pages. Again, more work and another excuse to look through my cards. In my second life as a collector I've become a set builder. These days I keep most of my cards in albums. But even with albums there are choices to be made. The first question is always "nine cards or 18 card per page?" I have a friend who uses the 18-card route, but he has a huge collection and limited shelf space. For me, nine cards is always the answer. I want to be able to see the backs of the cards. It is very important to me to see those exciting personal tidbits, such as which players sold insurance or drove tow trucks during the off-season.

Unlike in years past, I'm sticking with the arrangement that I've chosen. Even if I did change my mind I don't know that I'd want to tackle the huge project of rearranging them. But, in the back of my mind, I remember how much fun it is despite the work.

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