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Weird binder habits

I'm a bit odd, I know that. But everyone is. I think collecting baseball cards is "leaning in" to your oddness. Might as well accept it and have fun.
My oddness exhibits itself in my collection in many ways, although all of these things make perfect sense to me.
One of the weird things I do has to do with the binders in my collection.
I will always be a binders guy. As a set-collector, it just makes sense. Boxes hide your collection. I like to see the cards displayed, as if in a book. You know how much I love periodicals anyway. Binders are an extension of that.

To get a full idea of my binder oddness, I'm going to the one that houses my 1970 Topps cards. Weirdness is on glorious display for that year. Here's a page as evidence:

Right away, I'm sure you've spotted my habit of double-bagging. I don't think I need to defend this anymore. I've mentioned my reasons for doing this multiple times (saves money and space). It makes sense to me, even if it seems odd to others.

There are other binders for which the Topps sets aren't double-bagged. But the 1970 set is sharing space with the 1969 set. Neither are anywhere complete, but it's enough that I still need to conserve space until one of them grows out of that binder and into one of its own.

The other odd thing that I'm sure you noted immediately is one card is upside down.

There are cards inserted upside down all over my '70 Topps binder. An upside-down card indicates one that I want to upgrade. It's upside down because sometimes at first glance you can't tell why it needs to be upgraded. This is a visual reminder (sometimes my want list can't be trusted).

For whatever reason, I need a lot of upgrades for 1970 Topps. I don't know if kids played with those cards more frequently or what, but, man, I've seen some sights. Mangled, abused, looks like it was used in a knife fight. They really hated those gray borders.

I'm not super picky, but I try to avoid cards that look like they helped grout title in the shower.
I recently received a few 1970 Topps cards for my quest from Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown. These were doubly useful, both to fill holes and to assist with my many, many needed upgrades.
I've mentioned several times that the inability to go to card shows has really compromised my 1970 progress. I just can't get myself to spend at least 5 bucks on every '70 card I need online. Shows are a lot better for cutting deals on vintage cards. So cards in trades from fellow collectors are very appreciated with this set.

Here are some of the cards from Gavin that slip smoothly into an empty spot in the binder. Notice the over-representation of Padres. Gee, I wonder why? (We need to get that team as fired up over beating the Giants as they are of beating the Dodgers, this is one of the reasons why San Diego can never do anything).
The Dave Roberts card is worn down with wrinkles and such but everything else is super for the collection!

These three are all upgrades.

Not that I would miss that crease all the way through the Piniella card, but part of the thrill of storing cards like this is turning them right-side up! (P.S.: wrinkly Wayne Comer needs to be upside down, I guess I was too focused on the Piniella).

I also landed another 1970 Topps card from another trader, Mark, who I've traded with on Twitter.

Mark is one of the few collectors I've known to pursue the 1975 Topps mini set. He has excellent taste and more collectors should follow our lead as it's the greatest set ever created.

I was able to send him one of the five (I think) cards he has left to finish the set, the 1961 MVPs subset card. I've had that thing as a double for decades. Here's the needed card:

As you can see, Jim Lyttle's come down with a rather serious skin condition.

This is probably not a card I will store right-side up in the binder. But it is a semi-high number so I'm not in a rush to replace it and I certainly appreciate it more because it's an above No. 500 card.

Yep, not every card is worthy of storing right-side up. They've got to EARN it.

Sure, it's weird. But all of us collectors do what we need to do to help us sleep at night.


Old Cards said…
The fact that we are grown men collecting baseball cards originally intended for kids makes us odd right off-the-bat (pun intended). My wife reminds me of this from time to time. Like you, I prefer binders. I do not like top loaders and single card holders. What do you do with them? Throw them in a box? If I had as many cards as you do, I would double-bag too. I like the pose by Jim Qualls. Rocky Colavito used to do this while warming up for an at bat, but ironically, he had no cards with this pose. I am sure there are other cards with players in this pose, but I don't recall any of them.
I like the idea of upside = needing upgrading. This was a great read!
It's a really great method to your madness!
As someone who's double-bagged since plastic sheets became a thing, I'm always grateful to not be the only one. Maybe if I were building gem mint sets it would be another story.

I finally got myself organized enough to go through my 1970s binders and pick out a number of cards which are desperately in need up upgrading... I might have to use that upside-down method to make it easier to track things.
Definitely a binder guy too. Not a double bagger though. I like looking at the backs just as much as the fronts. BTW, I am working on that 75' mini set build.
Sean said…
I like binders, but the fact is: binders are a major commitment. And as such they are a source of agony to me.

Once you put them in a binder you are committing yourself to working on that set. Because its a lot of work to get them in there. You have to get the pages and the binder, then you have to put them in there one by one. You also have to make decisions about how you are going to organize them (numerically? By team? Single or double bagged? How are you going to accommodate the space you'll eventually need for the cards you don't have yet?) and once you've made that decision it is very hard to un-do it if you later change your mind.

You never feel that level of commitment when you put cards from a set into a box. Its the lowest form of storage and requires no real work. Its also the most flexible. Get a new card for the set? No problemo, just toss it in the box, no need to re-arrange stuff or anything like that. And the boxes themselves are easier to store than binders. They stack on top of each other!

But like you say, boxes hide the cards while binders display them. Objectively, binders are preferable if you don't mind all the above.

For that reason, of all the sets I am working on its really just the ones I am fully committed to finishing that I put into binders.

sg488 said…
I assume the upgrade cards are free from your blog buddies,I would never purchase a card in the first place if it was gonna need to be upgraded.
night owl said…
@Sean ~

Yes. Correct. I love the commitment. And updating binders is an exercise of love, no matter how tedious. Box storage is the least path of resistance and it feels dismissive. I feel like I don't even care about the cards if they're in a box.

@sg488 ~

They're either from blogging trades/gifts or from online lot purchases.
gregory said…
"Keep Night Owl Weird"? I can see that on a bumper sticker, or something ;-)

Jokes aside, if the system works for you, I don't think it's weird at all. I'm a binder guy too, and would have even more of my completed sets in binders if I had a little more shelf space.
CaptKirk42 said…
Yeah Kids played with their cards more during the 1970s and maybe even in the 1980s than they do today. "Serious" card collecting didn't really start until the early 1980s LOL.
Michael Ott said…
Brilliant tip! Going to go flip some of my 64s in need of an upgrade.
Unknown said…
I'm a binder guy too. To me, it makes no sense to have my cards shoved in a box. Be they good, bad or ugly, a baseball card in meant to be looked at. The only horror of binders is "the hole". I love looking at my 1968's (I have an odd love affair with the '68's). But more than all the cards, my eyes linger on the blank where card #177 should set and probably never will.
GCA said…
I put the pretty sets (and all vintage) in binders, but have way too many to sheet up everything. I don't double bag any more - like to see the backs like JTS said.

I do the flip-for-upgrade thing too. Just makes sense to me. Trick is to remember to list it on your wants site at the same time.
Nick said…
This is a similar post to one I've been meaning to write for a long time now. Binders allow for more variation among storing habits, and allows all the quirks and habits of our collecting genes to fully bloom. Always love hearing the binder tales of other collectors.

Also, I thought double-bagging pages was the norm until a few years ago. I've double-bagged my entire life and will always do so - it looks a lot better to me and saves a whole lot of space and money.
I have all my 1981 and earlier cards in binders (separate binders for 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 81T, 81F, one binder for 52-64, and one for 71 & 73-80. Also 5 binders of just Phillies cards from 1952-2010.

My factory sets from late-80s to early-90s are still in those boxes, because (as Owl correctly surmised) I don't care that much about them any more.

I am a single-bagger because a) I like tocsee the backs, and b) double-bagged cards are too hard to remove for scanning.

I organize each binder by team, with non-team cards (checklists, leaders, post-season, all-star subsets) in the front. I never understood the benefit of organizing numerically. Just because Topps sequenced the cards that way, doesn't make it logical. IMO, having all players from a team on the same or nearby pages makes the most sense to me. You can get a better feel for the teams that way.
Oh, and I think it was downright lazy of Topps to have a capless photo of the 1969 AL ROY in the 1970 set. C'mon!
In fairness to the numerical guys, I only binder my vintage cards, so I already know who is in the set, and their teams and positions.

So it is easy for me to leave an empty spot on a page for those cards I don't have yet.
defgav said…
Glad you could use the cards. There were a couple cards I held back because I knew they wouldn't be up to snuff for you condition-wise (with Dave Roberts only sneaking in to make the lot an even number for optimal PWE smoothness).
Fuji said…
I don't double bag very often and have never done the upside down upgrade card... but that's a great idea. I have to remember that the next time I binder up a vintage set.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Double bagged as a kid. Definitely cheaper. I no longer do so though as I find myself looking at backs a lot more than I used to. I *have* considered alternating orientations in the pockets so I get a full spread of fronts and a full spread of backs.