Before we can talk about how to store your collection it is important to know what you want to collect. You need to ask yourself, "what is most important to me"? It seems there are two types of card collectors out there: player or team collectors, and set collectors. Anyone that has been following my blog knows that I'm a Topps set collector.
You need to set realistic goals. You can't set a goal of collecting every Mickey Mantle card that exists because that's not realistic. There are too many oddball issues that are out there and are too numerous to count (not to mention expensive!). The goal I have set for myself is to have a complete set of Topps cards from 1951 to present. While this may seem unrealistic for most, for me, it is and has been a lifelong goal. It seemed very unrealistic 25 years ago when I started this huge undertaking but I have been getting closer and closer and maybe by the time I'm 60 years old (I'm 46 right now), I'll complete this. You can check out my progress at MY WANT LIST
And the last thing to remember, which is most important, is to HAVE FUN! I enjoy how cards capture baseball history and can't wait for my five year old son to grow up so I can share my passion for sports and sportscards with him.
Storing and organizing cards. I don't recommend storing cards by value because values change over time. If you are a player collector it might be best to sort them by year so that the rookie cards are on top. If you are a set collector like me, just store them in numerical order. Now that you have organized your cards you will now need to store them. There are many people that have suggestions on storing. What works for me, might not work for you. I store all of my sets in Univenture binders. The ones I use are 1.5 inches wide and I use two of these for most sets. Here is a picture:
These binders close completely so that it keeps the dust out. They also provide a tight fit so they do not warp from being stored upright. For me, I like the "encyclopedia" look and the protection the binders provide. I bought 200 of these binders at less than $2 each. I use Ultra Pro PVC free nine pocket sheets for my cards and these usually run about $15-$18 for a 100 count box.
Why do I use binders instead of storage boxes? Well, if you don't want to look at your collection, I recommend 800 count storage boxes. However, for me that is not fun. I like to look at my sets from time to time. I find some of the uniforms and hairstyles quite humorous. Just look at the 1976 Topps Traded card of Oscar Gamble. Talk about a classic!
As far as tracking my collection, I don't use any special software. I use my web site to track my want list and I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep up with my inventory.
I hope you find this little blog helpful. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of further help.
Happy card collecting!
Craig from Texas