Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Taking a page (or entire binder) from someone else's post


This is probably the busiest corner of my card room. This is where the 2015 cards converge with the set binders, which are adjacent to some Dodgers binders, which are next to a stack of night cards and assorted other cards.

The overriding theme of this room -- besides cards -- is binders. There are stacks and stacks of binders. As I visualize the room in my head, I count 11 different stacks of binders, with five-to-six binders in each stack (I don't dare pile on any more than that).

But I've done a post about my card room before. This post is intended to piggyback on The Shlabotnik Report's post about his binders. It was an interesting look at where he gets the binders, what they look like, etc.

I thought I would do the same.

I have maybe 60 or so binders, and some of them go back to the very first time I found out that there were binders specifically created to store baseball cards.

The earliest binders I owned -- received through a mail-order catalog or from a form cut out of a Baseball Digest -- looked like this:


This is my kind of binder. It is the only one I have left from that period, which is probably around 1979 or 1980. It is simple, nice to look at, with a pleasant marble-like finish, and gets right to the point: "Baseball Card Album". Oh,  if every binder could be like this one.

These binders from that period are sturdy as hell. The binder on this one is cracking at the top, but, come on, it's 35 years old! My 1977 Topps set is the lucky resident.



The other old binders that I own -- probably around 25-30 years old -- are not my style. These were purchased for me, no doubt by someone who needs an advertisement on what exactly a baseball card album is. The top binder evokes the sticky sweet "if you build it he will come" nostalgia pablum that makes me want to hurl. It's just a binder that houses cards, OK? Can we please turn off the violins?

But they remain in my collection -- I have two of each of them -- because they are indestructible. These probably will be housing cards long after I've thrown out newer binders.


The binders that I ordered through the mail back in the '80s are quite nice. They're padded, sturdy and distinctive. I like this one a lot. It features my 1984 Topps set. I don't know how that set got so lucky.



Since I returned to the hobby about 10 years ago, my binder shopping has changed. You can now find trading-card specific binders at any Target and at some Walmarts. I probably own more of these Ultra Pro binders than anything else. They house a lot of my complete sets. Most of these were bought by other people for me as gifts. I don't like spending 10 bucks on a binder -- even if it includes pages -- if I can help it.


So, yeah, the fancy "Cardguard" stuff like this, I didn't buy. But I'm glad I have it. These are probably the sturdiest of the binders that I can find today. I have one orange one that is kind of speckled like a basketball (probably intended to feature basketball cards -- boy did it get the wrong collector), that features my 1956 Topps set. I made sure that set got in something durable.

The vast majority of newer binders -- usually purchased to rein in my ever growing Dodgers collection -- are plain. They have no writing. I simply go to the binder section at Target or the dollar store and find the cheapest, sturdiest item that will fit pages and baseball cards.


These are perfect for me. I don't want any writing or designs on them, but I do try to pick them up in different colors. That helps me distinguish one from the other. Just by looking at them here, I know that the red one features Dodgers from 1994 and 1995, the blue one has Dodgers from 2009 and the purple one has Dodgers from 2010-11.

I have many different colors of plain binders: green, light green, dark blue, white, black, burgundy.


That is a special one. It includes my complete set of 1975 Topps minis (plus, a bonus night owl shadow!).


Here is the latest Dodgers binder, in yellow. You'll find the tail end of 2014 and all the 2015 cards in that one.

I also have smaller binders that include things like my A&G frankenset (it's white), my 2011 Lineage '75-style mini inserts (it's turquoise like the larger '75 mini binder) and my oddball, larger cards (it's blue).

A week or two ago I was walking through the office at work when I saw a box on a table with some binders sticking out of it. They were free for the taking. The average person would look at this as if someone was giving them free paper clips, but I practically leaped for joy. I now have three new binders for nothing, ready to include something much cooler than project reports.

(Although I can pick up binders pretty cheaply, I'm always appreciative when I find them. I always seem to be looking for them, and a lot more often than I look for pages -- I don't think my page supply will ever thin).

Sure, I still have some cards in boxes. You'll find those in my card room, too. But ever since I knew that there was such a thing as binders, that has been the way to go.

Someday I may have a large shelf for them all, but there's no hurry.

I haven't run out of room yet.

17 comments:

  1. Garage sales aren't often good for finding cards, but they've been an absolute blessing for my accumulation of binders. I don't think I paid more than a dollar for any of the binders I currently own. I have about 75 binders (at last count) housed inside two large bookshelves in my room, although I am in danger of running out of space very soon.

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  2. I know some folks actually pick up binders at Goodwill too. I've seen bunches of binders at my local Goodwill stores, but I haven't had *that* much of a need yet for the binders since I can always get some from work -- there are usually a few extra laying around that no one wants.

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  3. My first binder was one of those "If you build it" ones with the guy making the catch. It's long gone now, and all of my binders are plain white (with the exception of the one covered in stickers).

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  4. I always hit my Goodwill. Great place for 2" and larger D rings for a buck each. I currently have about 30 binders of varying sizes with cards, and another 7 or 8 that are waiting to be filled.

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  5. I think binders are by far the best way to go as far as storing cards. Personally, I prefer the black Ultra Pro binders for large quantities as they are the perfect size and hold exactly one box of 100 pages. I have three of those (one for cards from 81-95 and two for cards from 2011-present) and one Topps binder that is all 2015 cards full so far. I also have two of the small 1 inch binders I picked up from Walmart for mini collections (non-baseball stuff and my starter of my Reds frankenset). I have two priority mail boxes of commons to be sorted that will eventually go in binders as well.

    I really dig all those giant binders full of cards in the first picture. Hopefully one day my collection will be as nice and organized as that.

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  6. "I haven't run out of room yet."

    Well, I have. I sort by team (and the teams are sorted by position and alphabetically within each position--so there's no adding on the end, but, instead, almost like a full re-org every time I update). I long for the halcyon days when I first got back into the hobby and most of my teams fit comfortably in a single binder or two per team. Now, on average, each team probably has between 8 and 10 binders (dupes don't generally make the binders). The Mets have 16 or so. You do the math. Buy you'll be happy to know the Dodgers have their own shelf. Not a lot of teams can say that. The Mets have their own cabinet (which they've outgrown). Thank God for the Nationals who only have two binders...so far. I'm in need of some serious therapy.

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  7. I go to the local college surplus store. A school isn't allowed to just throw stuff out so every summer they have a house cleaning and stuff gets sold as surplus. Add in the fact that many things are paperless that used to take reams of paper means loss of binders at the college surplus. My card shelf now consists of only 6" white binders that I got at the college surplus store for .50 each. Yes that number is correct; you should check your local college too.

    My only problem now is that I have about twenty 3 and 4 inch binders sitting empty and I don't know what to do with them.

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  8. I have three binders... Two of them house Blue Jays cards. One houses Expos cards. The Expos share space with the Jays. The third is for the two sets I wanted to display since I got them and some interesting cards.

    Oh wait.. I have a small binder I used in College for my Canadian born player cards

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  9. Dollar Tree know sells them for ..yeah,you guessed right..1 dollar!I picked one up the other day but don't have a clue as to who I will feature In it.Maybe Yadi or Travis DArnaud,not sure.

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  10. As someone who uses boxes and not binders, what do you when you want to add cards, say to a player collection. You have a binder full of Clayton Kershaw cards, say, and then you get a random parallel card from 2010. Do you stick it at the end as the most recent addition? Do you have space after your 2010s to add this new one? Of do you have to move all the cards over one pocket?

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    1. I wait until I get a nice healthy stack of cards that need to be added to binders and then I spend a few weeks re-shifting with all the binders. It's an excellent way to reconnect with your collection and I look forward to it.

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  11. That's right, Bo, you have to do "the shift" for any cards you didn't save space for. Moving several sheets of cards one slot to the right...
    I have six binders for my player collections, ranging from 4" to 6" rings. Also have Ultra Pros for my complete sets. Black ones for the 60's, blue for the 70's, and grey for '59 and '80. (Sets from '81 on aren't in binders yet). But I have one of those brown "albums" for my best star cards (and another one that's not quite as nice for the rest of the older vintage that don't start sets yet). It's the first one I ever had. Has my name sticker on the spine. Then there are a whole bunch of miscellaneous binders for other newer sets or collections that are sometimes custom decorated on the spines. I also work for a school system that digitized a lot of information which freed up a whole pile of large D-ring binders.

    The spines are where I get a little kooky. Each set binder has a paper printout (as opposed to sacrificing a real card) of the nicest looking card from that set. But the rule is that I can't use cards of the same team for two sets. This rule will go out the window when I reach 30 vintage sets I suppose... The players used may or may not be superstars and usually aren't the obvious choices for that set.
    For the miscellaneous ones, I make custom binder labels (also paper printouts) of some design usually incorporating the set logo(s) or player portraits.
    My player collection binders simply list all the players contained within (loosely sorted chronologically by rookie year). The last few are newer players, so they're only two guys each, but they're the largest binders since those guys have the most cards.

    I should just do a post on my blog with pictures....

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    1. Yeah the way my collection is set up I would have to always be shifting, that is why I use boxes. Still a good way to reconnect with the collection

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  12. Before I sold off my collection in the early 2000's... I owned a ton of those beige collectors card albums (the one that holds your 1984 set). Had them in a variety of colors and sports. Wish they still made them.

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  13. Sometimes I wish I was a binder guy. My work is closing (moving out of town) soon, and there are probably a dozen binders up for the taking, including a few fat (4 or 5 inches) D rings. I admit I did grab a couple just in case I embrace binders at some point.

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  14. Well, I guess this goes to show how far behind I am in my blog reading... I set you off on this tangent and I had no idea until today. Thank you for the link and the spike in my numbers (should've known something was up).

    It's funny how what I thought of as a "What the heck, that'll be fun" idea got so many comments on both our blogs. Now I only regret that I didn't try to do it as a "Bat Around".

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