Nearly six years ago, I showed off what qualified as my "card room."
It was tucked inside a makeshift room between a bathroom and a linen closet. My guess is at some point, someone who lived in our house before us cut down on the size of the bathroom to make some sort of mini den. I'm sorry they did that because the bathroom doesn't have a window and ventilation is always an issue.
But it did allow a place for me to store most of my collection. It wasn't big enough though. I had to distribute other binders and cards and hobby-related stuff in a couple of different areas, on a separate card desk and down in the basement. And I was desperate for more space as the last bit of area in the "card room" had been filled and I could stack no more.
Still, what you see above is basically the way it's been all the way into 2019. Four rows of binders stacked on a desk six binders deep. More binders stacked on a small file cabinet. More rows of binders stacked on the floor in two different places. More cards in boxes on the floor under the desk and a big box of Dodgers duplicates under there, too.
The only thing that kept me going was the long-held promise of a larger, bonafide card room, targeted for this summer.
Well, guess what the highlight of my vacation was!
I have an entire room -- I mean one, legitimate full-fledged room -- for cards. A real card room!
This has been so exciting that I spent the final three or four days of my vacation putting together the card room. I didn't plan on doing that but I just found myself there.
I'm sure you have questions and I'm all too eager to answer.
This is the only real complete corner of the card room so far. The shelves of binders feature, for the most part, completed sets. There are a couple of binders with half-finished sets, but if they're in a binder, the plan is to finish them at some point. The binders on the very top are smaller completed sets (2015 Stadium Club), a couple of frankenset binders (A&G minis and night cards), the whopping ode to 2015 Topps (flagship and update) and various other items -- Hostess panels, boxes that are targetted for binders (2013 Panini Hometown Heroes), etc.
Immediately to the right of the main shelf is a stack of random binders and boxes. Most of it is my binders of complete Allen & Ginter sets, as well as a binder of "cool sets" that I am nowhere near completing (think 2004 Finest). Alongside those binders that you can't see is a display box of all my early '90s Score cards.
The book shelf features some of my Dodgers binders and boxes of uncompleted sets from all of the major card companies. They may or may not show up in binder form someday (for example, 1985 Fleer). No rush on that. My Kellogg's 3-D Dodgers are in one box (all in top loaders). The top of the book shelf showcases a lot of the display items that many people have sent me that I never had room to put out. Finally, they can breathe free. At far right on the top is my stack of 1976 Kellogg's cards. Only 13 more to go!
A couple other points before moving on in the tour.
The binders on the shelf on the right are upright. Some may freak out over that -- "don't store your cards upright, they'll warp!!" And for years I stacked my binders because of that. However, if you run a blog, searching for cards with binders stacked horizontally might make you never want to blog again. I don't know how I didn't shut the blog down trying to find cards I needed in this format. It is terrible for getting to your cards.
I am totally willing to risk the chance of warping for the ability to get to my cards much more easily. I've got the binders wedged in there pretty tightly and none of the binders are overstuffed, so I don't think I need to worry.
Secondly, people have already asked me how I selected the display cards in the spine of each binder. I always get this question. There is virtually no thought process. I simply selected a card from the year that is contained in the binder and make sure it's not a card I will need in the future -- i.e. a dupe of a "common" from a team that rarely comes up in trades. Chances are, you're going to damage the card in some way getting it into the spine, so the more dispensable, the better.
OK, moving on.
That is a weirdly cropped photo of my card desk and surrounding area (loved ones blacked out because they didn't ask to be displayed on the internet).
The top features the wonderful Ron Cey-Fleetwood Mac penguin lamp, along with the Ron Cey birthday card engineered by Rod of Padrographs.
The main contents of the desk are almost the same as always. Top left compartment are Dodgers intended for binders. Middle is miscellaneous, fliers for future card shows, card research stuff, etc. Same with the spot on the right.
Just below, as always, incoming card packages are on the left (right now it also features Dodgers from my almost-completed, semi-annual Dodger binder sort). Outgoing packages are on the right and almost always a disaster. The middle part is new. I've moved all my current-year cards to the card desk. This will prevent me from buying too much more of 2019 product because there's not much room.
That center area used to contain various "real life" items that I needed to keep tabs on. School tuition stuff, doctors reminders, bill stuff, too. All of that has been jettisoned to the former card room. Same with the contents in the drawers. They now house more boxes of cards (early Donruss and throw-away Bowman, mostly) and various storage items (pages, top loaders, etc.)
Down below is safety storage for my '75 Topps and '75 Topps mini binders as well as '71 and '72 Topps. I stupidly cropped that out.
The wall items feature one of those nifty card display frames that Target used to sell. It contains cards from those first packs of '75 Topps I bought when I was 9. I need to find like three more of those displays because I want all of those first packs on display.
At middle is a signed display from Duke Snider that my brother gifted me quite awhile ago. At right is a cross-stitched item from my mom. Love you, mom.
Now, the incomplete portions of the room:
The shelving was moved from the small card room to the larger one. Some of the items are the same (one day I'm going to confirm whether those signatures of Aaron and Musial are real). Additions include a signed ball from Bob Feller (given to me by my dad) and various personal items.
The wall hanging commemorates the 1988 World Champions. Below is a display shelf. It includes the signed picture "to Nite Owl" from Orel Hershiser, as well as bobbles, etc. Inside are the Beckett Vintage magazines that contain my stories (another one is about to hit store shelves!) and an original price guide from 1979.
I am going to need another binder shelf like the other one I showed to add all of my Dodgers binders. It will probably go in this area. Hope to get that in the next couple of weeks.
Because this is what I've got sitting on the card room floor right now. So much stuff that needs to go somewhere.
Most of it is Dodger related -- Dodger binders and boxes and boxes and boxes of Dodger dupes. Dodger fans, do you want a bunch of Dodger cards???????? Send me an email! I have LOTS. And it's not all 1990 Donruss either.
In the top photo, along the wall are boxes of Topps cards (mostly 1990s through early 2000s), binders of non-baseball (football, music, etc.), another safety container of relic cards and other notables (with a stack of '82 Fleer on top), and that giant box of Dodgers photographs that reader Alan sent me.
In the photo below, you see some of those Dodgers photos that I plan to display on the walls in some form. You also see many, many Dodgers dupes and an open box of Dodgers dupes at the top right.
Above that are various magazines and team yearbooks and programs that I will probably display as is (my wife, who has helped immensely with this card room task, changed the curtains to make them more suitable for a card room, this used to be the baby's room way back).
The stuff from the basement is still not up in the card room yet. And I'm going to need a separate display table and a chair. So the room is probably a month or so away from being finished. But I'm pretty happy with how quickly it came together.
This has been a goal for years and years and I know not everyone has the ability to display their collection like this. Believe me, I drooled over others' blog posts featuring their card rooms and areas. Some I will never match.
But finally, I don't have to think "WHERE AM I GOING TO PUT THIS?" anymore.