Thursday, April 10, 2014

Making time for my collection

It's been very busy again and I've done a lot of postponing this week. Anything that takes more time than a blog post, that is not a matter of life and death, has been pushed to the end of the week or next week.

That, unfortunately, has included card packages.

The good news is that I have a few days to myself coming up and I plan to devote them to various household projects. And one of those projects is revisiting my card binders. (What? You thought I was putting on a new roof?)

I visit my card binders a lot. Pretty much every day, in fact. But I don't visit them in the way that I want. It's usually a hurried spin through the pages to find the card or cards that I need and then throwing the binders back where they belong -- if I have time. Otherwise, I'll leave them on the floor to trip over the next time.

But my binders deserve to be treated in the way that God intended. They deserve to be opened at a collector's leisure. They deserve to have their pages flipped slowly and the individual cards in each page enjoyed.

Every few months or so -- when I have the time -- I update my binders in such a way and that is when I enjoy my collection the most.

People who store their cards in boxes or through other means, often wonder how one who stores in binders goes about updating them. I saw this questions asked just the other day. Does the collector leave space for the missing cards or do they merely move each card, slot by slot, one place over to fit in the new card?

I can tell you, there is no way possible I could leave space for missing cards in every set of the last 60-plus years. Especially with the variety of sets from the last 20. There are so many sets and inserts and parallels I could never keep track of any of it enough to have "reserved seats" in my collection.

But even if I could, I wouldn't do it that way anyway.

Moving each card over, slot by slot, may seem tedious to some, but to me it's the door to enjoying my collection.

When I update my Dodger binders, for example, I'll start from the beginning, going way back to when people were buying war bonds, and work my way forward.

I find this incredibly relaxing. Much like someone who knits, I find it calming and it also can be done while watching TV.

This is often how I'll watch ballgames. Although I'm one of those people who can sit and stare at a game on TV and not do anything else, other times I've got to find another activity. And updating a binder is the perfect complement to taking in a game.

While the game is going on, I'll move cards in and out of their pages, with a stack of cards to be entered on my left and a stack of cards that I've just removed from binders on my right.

When the commercials come on, that's a great time to look at individual cards. This is when I get to know my cards or know them again.

I'll take the cards out, stare at them in admiration while they sit in my hand, or flip over and read the back. There are so many card backs that I've never read.

Also, seeing cards spread out on a page before you, all similar in design, is impressive and will always make me smile.

When one binder is updated, I'll wait for the commercials, and then head to the card room and get the next binder.

It often takes several days to complete the binder updating phase, so cards that still must be updated or have been removed and not reinserted into pages, go on my card desk and wait for the next glorious, free period when I can update again.

Outside of a card show, this is probably the time when I am the happiest with my collection. Yes, I'll even place it above blogging about cards.

Who can argue with being surrounded by televised baseball, a beverage of your choice, and cards new and old? Every thought comes easily and freely, and the only cares are whether the cards are in the right order.

The next few days will be the perfect time to make time for my binders. I have some free moments. Baseball's on TV. I've just been to a card show. There are cards waiting to be placed in a good home.

These cards that I just showed, for example, are from Weston of Fantastic Catch. Most of them are from the '90s, which means I will struggle to make sure I have them in order by the right year (I'm always mixing them up), before they head to the binders.

And then I'll put them in the "to be bindered" stack, and get out those binders, flip on the game, pour one out, and make time for my collection.

I can't wait.


  1. If I had the patience to do that I know I'd love how it looks. Maybe when I actually have them all in order I'll consider such a thing. Then again, does any collector ever have them ALL in order?

  2. My collection is half in binders and half in boxes. Should probably pick one or the other. Oh yeah and then there's the piles all over the table

  3. Cards are my therapy as well. I get pretty excited when my schedule frees up to where I know I can get a few uninterrupted hours of collection browsing.

  4. 1) as far as reserved seats, I use the approach Cardboard Junkie taught me a while ago. If you have 50% of the collection binder w/ Reserve Seats. otherwise Binder freestyle or box em till they are ready for display.
    2) Your post made me think of browsing blogs as paging through a binder, well other peoples binders anyway. Kind of like going over to your neighbor who is a Dodgers or Mets or whatever fan and checking out their card collection.

  5. Unless you restrict yourself to only certain sets, or limit the parallels or oddballs, you can't ever reserve enough space. You'd have binders full of one card per page. I have my player collections in 3"+ D-ring binders, and even though I've added space between the major issue base cards for '75 minis, Kelloggs, Hostess, Drakes, etc., I still find myself moving them slot to slot for other things that I didn't think I'd include until I saw them in the big catalog book or found a slew of them in a quarter box at a show or something. I continually add pages to the end of each player's run to accomodate the latest post-career Topps and Panini inserts, etc., which are way too numerous to put on my want lists. And the collections have grown to a point where I go back and browse and see cards that I didn't realize I had.

    Then there are sets that call for some creative displaying in sheets. Like the 2007+ Goudeys with two different color backs. Do you put both cards of the same player together, one flipped over, or do you seperate the sets and put all the red backs facing the other way? Well, actually, that example is moot because the dang things don't fit in the 12 pocket sheets and slide around in the 9's. Waiting for the '75 mini sheets, I guess!

  6. Looks like we have very similar filing methods, Greg. I also like to get a lot of my "work" done during ballgames as well.

    I usually leave a "reserved" page in the middle of every binder I have. When that page fills up, I add a new one. That's why I'm constantly in need of nine-pocket pages. For the most part, though, I move my cards slot-by-slot just like you.

  7. There's something relaxing about the whole "binder shuffle". Well... at least when you have some free time.