Last time, I showed some methods of storing cards in boxes, and how I arrange and label them. The bulk of my collection is in boxes, but the nicer stuff is in binders and sheets for easier viewing. So this time it's about different ways to sheet up your sets.
The fundamentals of binders are pretty simple. Cards go in sheets (or sleeves, as some call them) and the sheets go in binders. 'Nuff said. Most sheets today are top loading, but they started back in the day loading from the side. I still have a few old side loading sheets here somewhere with some trade bait in them. Always makes me nostalgic. I also still have the first binder I ever owned. It's the old school brown one with the foil lettering.
I generally go one card per pocket, and have since the later 80's. If your budget doesn't allow you to buy sheets in mass quantities, or you don't want to see the backs of your cards, then you can double 'em up. I started out going back-to-back, but stopped and re-sheeted almost all my binders to make them single load.
So the main option that you have to decide on is, how are you going to arrange your set in a binder? (I'll deal with player or team collections in another post later).
I've gone through several arrangements as my default through the years. When I first started finishing sets, I sorted them by teams and had a set order of preference that I stored them by. Some of it was about home team, rivals, hated teams, etc. and some was just the lack of star power and yucky uniforms. Later, I still sorted by teams, but put them in the order they finished by division. I just liked the way they looked with the matching colors from the same team. Numerical order jumbles the colors, and sometimes they put a couple of the same color together. I'd prefer a more random mix.
|Two reds in a row? C'mon guys...|
Nowadays, I generally build the set in numerical order, so it's easier to track along the way, so that's how they go into the binder. I used to wait until I finished the set to sheet it up, since it was hard to keep the missing ones straight between team sorting and numerical checklists. But now since the sets I'm doing are a little older, I don't like to keep them in boxes for very long. Otherwise, I'd feel the need to penny sleeve each card and would put the star cards in rigid holders that don't fit in the box.
So anyway, some sets will start with record breakers or stats up front, so that's the first page regardless of the order you choose. Like 1969 Topps.
Then at the time I built this set I was sorting by team, so I ran them together with the World Series cards. I would gather all the non-team-centric stuff together and figure out how they fit into the first few sheets without spreading them across more than a page or two.
The WS flow into the All-Stars...
Which continue and then the multi-team rookies fill in the end. Yep, from early on, rookies counted the least to me.
That works out so the checklists are all by themselves in the next page, with both variations....
Then I start the first team. Usually my Orioles, whether they finished first or not.
Normally, I would put the team card and/or checklist first, but there aren't any in '69, so I move on to the big stars, and any multiplayer cards. And generally, the manager divides the stars (HOF'ers mostly) and the more common players, but Earl here is higher than that. Here's a more typical setup.
Another major decision I make is whether to put the really high dollar stars in the set binder or keep them in my star binder (the one I showed at the beginning). Some sets I do, and some I don't. Any star cards that I paid/are worth way over $100 I put in screwdowns. Though that limit is fluid as you can see....
Ol' Mick is right there with the boys.
So the rest of the team follows the team card, stars, manager, and then the rookie stars cards go at the end. This has been consistent even after the rookie craze started. They haven't done anything, so they go at the end.
Then the teams go in whatever order. Sometimes I'll end with the last team, sometimes I'll put the set checklists at the end.
The last several sets I've built have been put in number order in the sheets. As long as I don't mess it up and leave spots for all the missing cards (and variations), I can continually add cards to the set as I get them and I won't have to rearrange anything when I'm done.
For the older sets with scarce high numbers, I might not put in all the empty sheets in the back of the binder until they start to fill up a little. I'll put the last several high numbers together and then spread them out into more sheets as they arrive. So the last pages will have cards together that aren't consecutive.
As the set grows, there may be a few cards that need upgrading along the way. Those go in upside down and remain on the want list until nicer copies are found.
Sometimes, if a set has some extra features, it requires some specialized sheeting.
For example, in '74, there are the puzzle back All-Stars. There are only eight of them that make the puzzle. I put them in an eight pocket sheet behind the rest of the All-Stars.
This works well to show the puzzle on the backs....
Technically, I guess I should assemble a second subset of these for my Bobby Bonds PC....?
Moving on, there is a hockey set known as Exhibit that I mostly completed that has some interesting features too.
Starts out with regular inserts and base set (in # order), then the set contains oversize cards as part of the regular checklist...
As well as oversize jersey cards...
All fit nicely in four-pocket sheets. As well as these beauties....
Star jerseys with HOF autographs. Still need a couple of these. I don't otherwise put gamers or autos in a set unless it's a player I don't really collect and their sig isn't worth a bundle. Gamers tend to distort the sheets because they're generally thicker than normal.
But then there is the yellow back parallel set. How do you show the parallel in a more interesting way then putting them in just like the regular set?
Put 'em in backwards! Show the backs first.
Here's another choice you can make. I showed the checklist variations for '69 baseball earlier. I like to put variations right next to the other versions of a card so you can see them side by side. I know others who group them all at the end of a set. I actually separated the '74 Washington variations etc. from the team, but put them up front with the other stuff.
So finally, your set is all in. How will you find it among the rest of your binders? Some people put a duplicate card in the little pocket on the binder spine. I like to make my own tags with card images. Had a rule that I would try not to duplicate teams and not use the most iconic cards for each set, but rather just the most aesthetically pleasing one.
I've also made some custom tags to mark binders with multiple sets in them.
To the right above, is my own logo for the McDonalds hockey sets, and a logo banner for my old Capitals collection.
Here is the custom banner I made for Donruss/Skybox Studio sets. (Not all those years are in there). Plus, a wrapper marks the Fleer sticker binder (three sets in that one). An actual card for the T205 set, and then a custom banner for the "New York" binder that holds Yankee tribute sets, and the UD Legends Of NY set, among others.
I'll use wrappers and panels from the wax boxes in the covers of my binders too. Most of them are the "view" kind with the clear pocket on the front. So they get dressed up like this:
Either materials from the same set, or multiples...
I'm always all about the visual when I arrange cards in a binder, as well as what I put on the outside.
How do you do it? Identical labels? Sets all in order? Spare cards in the spine? Let me know in the comments. And any other tips or tricks you use.