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Binder, top loader or box?

I want to address two different card package arrivals that don't have much in common other than that one thing that every arriving card package has in common, which is:

How will I store these?

It comes down to three ways: binder, top loader or box.

These means of packaging, storing and presenting are not the same. Ideally, every last card in my collection would be living in a binder. That's my favorite storage method. They're accessible. The cards are presented nicely within. They're very good for categorizing and we card collectors sure do love to categorize. They look good visually when entering the room and when opening the binder.

But I don't have the room for a binder for every card. I can't even process what they would look like. Some edition of "Hoarders," I'm sure.

So the cards that are not deemed "worthy" of a binder -- and, yes, I hate that we're prioritizing like this -- go in a box.

Boxes are for sets that I'm not completing and other random cards. My box cards are organized by set and then by team. A whole bunch of stuff from the '80s and '90s and current cards are in those boxes. Stuff I'll never try to complete. Things I don't like at all. Bowman, for example. Gypsy Queen. Everything from Panini.

But there is also stuff in boxes that could one day graduate to a binder: '80s Donruss and Fleer sets, for example.

Anything else in my collection is in a top loader, either displayed or hidden away.

Some of my most expensive cards sit in top loaders under safe keeping. The rest of my top loader cards are Kellogg's 3-D cards from the '70s. They are stacked neatly by set on one of my card shelves, so I get to look at them any time I step into the card room.

So with that storing layout in mind, let's see how some PWE cards that Nick of Dime Boxes sent fit into my storage system.

Nick's PWE this time produced 19 cards, three less than the last time. He's slipping.

Two of the cards are A&G minis, intended for my frankenset binder. Neither one qualifies. So what happens to these cards?

Well, I forgot about those cards that sit in a stack on an upper shelf waiting for someone to want them. That's where these go.

An oddball-sized reprint of a Play Ball card. Where does this go?

This goes in a binder that I reserve for Dodgers reprints, if it fits a customary page. If it doesn't, it will go in a small box that houses oddly shaped Dodger cards. It's a misfit box, and it hurts me to say that, but somebody needs to make pages to fit these babies!

Dodgers that I need always go in the Dodger binders. There's always a place for them.

I've never seen that specific version of Upper Deck Old Judge. Also, I was talking to the guy at work who collects, and by "collects," I mean buys 15 Bowman megaboxes at once. I shocked him by telling him I never liked the way Bowman looked. However, I kind of like the way Bowman Chrome looks this year.

These two 1975 Hostess cards will go into a binder dedicated solely to 1975-79 Hostess cards, both individual cards and panels.

I would love for my Hostess cards to be as clean and unwrinkled as possible -- "ironed," if you will, but I'm starting to accept that they'll never be that way.

Cards from sets that I'm not trying to complete -- like 2002 Topps -- go in a box.

I specifically asked for these cards in Nick's Friday giveaway because 2002 Topps ranks at the bottom in terms of fewest cards that I own from a Topps set. When you remove the Dodgers, 2002 Topps is down there with some of those early '50s sets in terms of cards that I have.

I know the brown mustard color is weird but I should have at least a couple packs worth of these cards.

Just one of the cards, however, was American Topps. The Justice card is a Kanebo!

Yeah, that'll go in the box, too.

Dodgers I own already? Those go in the Monster Dodgers Dupes Box. But first they sit in one of the large stacks atop the Monster Dodgers Dupes Box. It's a waiting station for that period in the fall when I sort through the dupes box and add all the dupes I've acquired from the past year.

Now that I'm collecting 1970 Topps it recently graduated from one binder to another. It used to be in a binder that houses random vintage. But now it shares a binder with 1969 Topps.

One day, 1970 will outgrow the binder condo and demand a binder of its own.


You may find this hard to believe, but this is the very first Bob Uecker card in my collection. I must be in the front row!

You want an example of someone with the Pop Culture Tax, there is no finer specimen than Bob Uecker. I should have owned at least one card of this .200 lifetime hitter before now.

Since this is a key 1967 Topps card, it will go in my random vintage binder. I have carved out a place in the random vintage binder for my 1967 Topps set quest. One day, it will graduate to a binder all by itself. But I'm still trying to convince myself that I am super serious about this task.

All right, that's all the cardboard from Nick. Let's take a look at the cards from another package:

It's seven more cards for my 1975 Topps buyback set!

This brings me to 388 total cards from the '75 set in buyback form or 59 percent of the 660-card set (if there are 660 buybacks).

I want very much to cross the 400-card mark in this pursuit, which means I may finally have to bite the bullet and request shipment on my COMC order that contains several buybacks but I've been holding off because of the shipping delays. It's starting to get to me though. Maybe I'll just wait the two months, I've waited longer than that already.

I like to chart any progress I can with this chase and even little things, like me being able to land card #24 (Al Fitzmorris) and card #25 (Lee May) at the same time, provide a thrill.

I also am noticing when I complete entire pages. So far, only one page is filled completely.

It's cards #352-360.

It's a key page because the top left card is the first card I ever pulled out a pack that I bought.

Meanwhile, there are several pages, at least five or six, that need just one more buyback to complete the page. Another reason I should request ship on the COMC order.

My '75 buybacks are stored in a binder with my complete 1975 set. In order to do this, I had to move the '75 set to a new, larger binder so I could include everything in it (plus, the other binder was falling apart). I also moved it to a new place in my card room where I can get to it easier.

I'm always looking for ways to store my collection better and although collectors have their own preferences, I'll probably never stray from the "Binder First" method. But I'll always be making modifications.

And when I pull some card out of a package, my first question after "do I have this?" will be "binder, top loader or box?"


Elliptical Man said…
I was doing top loaders for my best cards and penny sleeves for my other keepers. I've started to transition to binders for my best cards though.

Voting for the Burger King Fernando with the goofy terminology.
GCA said…
I'd love to binder everything, but it would mean getting rid of the two china cabinets and replacing them with more bookshelves. I have way too much volume to sheet up everything. And who really wants to sheet up junk wax sets? Plus, the china cabinets have silverware drawers that hold top loaders perfectly...
Chris said…
At least you have a straightforward system to storing your cards. Most of my hockey sets and all of my large baseball sets are in boxes but my football card sets, basketball card sets and some baseball/hockey sets are in binders. Cards of my favorite teams are split between binders (base cards only) loose in boxes (oddballs/minor league) and in top loaders (inserts/parallels) or one-touch holders (high-end stuff)

Spankee said…
If its beckett book value is $1+, it goes in a top loader/college fund. Also, I wrote this comment 28 years ago.
Talk about memories. Back in the 90's early 90's....Penny sleeve, top loader, then into a box. That lasted for years probably a decade. Then I ditched the top loaders, went penny sleeves and in a box. Lasted about 5 years or so. Ditched the penny sleeves. Kept everything raw (except for the John Elway that I used to collect) in boxes. Elway continued to as I 1st mentioned. About 7 years ago I started putting PC guys into binders, and as of January this year.....I'm putting everything into binders except for dupes which are for trading and man o man do I have boxes........
Nick said…
My version of this would probably go: Binder, Snap Case, or Box? The vast majority of cards I need go into a binder. Dupes go in boxes. But a small percentage of cards I own -- mainly non-sport ones -- go in snap cases. I keep telling myself I'll put those in a binder one day, but that day has yet to come.

Glad you enjoyed the envelope! I'm so glad I was able to get that Uecker a good home. I came into an extra copy of it and was wondering what to do until I remembered that you were building '67 Topps. He's gotta be the ultimate Pop Culture Tax dude -- hard to imagine me paying $5 for a card of any other backup catcher. (And one day I'm gonna send you an A&G mini that actually cracks the frankenset!)
BaseSetCalling said…
2 Lee May card in one post.

Thanks Night Owl.

and thanks Nick!
Commishbob said…
There was a time when I had every meaningful card I owned in a binder. In those days my collection was Orioles teams sets in a bunch of orange binders, Baltimore Colts in a blue one, my vintage star cards in one of those 'Sports Album' embossed binders, and a load of junk wax in a box in my closet. Then I turned my hobby room into my boys' bedroom and the junk wax went to the landfill and the binder pages into a moving carton in storage.

My goal now is to get back to having sets and PCs in binders and everything else out the door. My rule of thumb these days is 'If it doesn't have a place in a binder, it doesn't have a place in the house'.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Just binders vs boxes here. If it's team or PC then into a binder. If it's a vintage set, likewise. (I'd like to page my junk wax sets at some point but lol not with the kids around all day.) Everything else sits in boxes waiting for me to mine it for some purpose.

Also I'm right with you on Uecker. I don't have any of his cards. Refuse to spend that much for any of his cards. And am frankly a bit peeved that his rookie card is shared with a guy I PC (Camilli) and as a result won't ever get it because I refuse to soend that much on the rookie card of a mediocre catcher.
Fuji said…
I just cleared a book shelf in my office for more binders... which I so excited about. The dream is to one day own a bigger home where I can have a den... with a wall dedicated to sets and collections in binders.

P.S. Uecker is an excellent poster child for the Pop Culture Tax. I know I totally overpaid for the lone Uecker I have sitting in my collection.
defgav said…
Congrats on the '75 buybacks! That completed page looks real nice in a crazy way.
CinciCuse Bill said…
Nice Jojo Gray card. I hope the former LeMoyne Dolphin does well for your Dodgers. At the time, I loved the Reds-Dodgers deal that sent him and others west, but it didn't work out well for the Reds.

I like stained, wrinkly, miscut hostess cards. That's how mine look from when I was a kid and well, they look normal (i.e., loved) to me that way.

Sorry for not commenting very often. I usually read blogs on my phone and it won't let me leave comments - even on my own blog!

acrackedbat said…
I don't have much binder space. I reserve these for sets and themes likes catchers and 70s pop culture. Boxes cards are all sleeved. Those valued over $10 get a toploader. Gotta say I've never seen that Pudge mini. It's a sweet card!

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