Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Cardboard OCD Chapter 6: List It and Love It

Yep, the title was inspired by the HGTV real estate show.  We have that channel running on the TV during the day at work.

This edition of Cardboard OCD is all about the many different ways I make lists of cards I want to acquire.  I find different kinds of lists lend themselves to different collections.  Set builds, team collections, player collections, and just rounding out your star cards all generate different types of lists.  I'll start with set builds, and move to the others later.  It may take a couple posts.

Even though I have an eight page website for all my main collections, I still have written and printed lists for all kinds of other stuff.  Nowadays, you can pull up your website on your phone wherever you are.  Back in the day, you had to bring it all with you in some form.  My binder is how I stay prepared to find any card in the universe that I might want.  The website is for sets and player collections that I hit often, and the written lists are visual translations of some of that, plus other stuff that I haven't fully established yet, or niche collections that don't quite fit on a particular site page.  With all that is on my site, there is still a lot left over...

So you start a set.  Are you starting with a large lot or just a handful?  If it's a full size set like flagship, Heritage or the like, you may not have enough to even start listing yet.  So you can start with a number grid and check it off as you go.  All the numbers are already there, so it's just a matter of marking your progress.  I like to give them a little style cue to the set they are for so I can tell at a glance which sheet I'm looking at in my list binder.

When you enlarge the sheets above, you can see that they are for 1962 and '63 Topps baseball.  I marked the '62 list with brown slashes to mimic the woodgrain design and the triangular corner feature.  The '63 list is marked with green circles as a hint to the circular sub-photo on the fronts of that year.  Other grids I make use fonts and colors that relate to the corresponding set.

They all come from Excel spreadsheets that are created by typing the first few numbers, then highlighting and dragging them out to 25.  Then highlighting and dragging that complete row down to 1000 or so.  After saving that basic template, you can erase and resize the numbers to match the cards in whatever set you're listing and put that on another tab in the spreadsheet.  That way you always have the original number grid to start with and some already modified to a closer number.

Those who aren't so computer savvy can request my file.

Now if you're starting with a large lot or some boxes, then you might just need the very basic list of what's left - the written list.  This is the simplest list type of all.  It's sort of the oldest of the "old school" if you will.  I see guys with simple written lists all the time pulling vintage at shows.  Some of them cram set lists on itty bitty notepads that I'm surprised they can read.  I don't go much smaller than the standard steno pad.

I try to use up most of the page space just to be efficient.  A few times I've flipped to the next page and written upside down.  Most of the time I'll type these into my website right away, so the steno pad doen't usually leave the house.  Now and then I'll rip out a page and stick it in the binder.

On smaller sets, or once I get down to a reasonable number, I'll add the names to the numbers on my site.  Mostly just last names unless there are multiple guys with the same one.

Above is a snippet from my site.  The legal pad design is a Google template which makes it nice and simple and readable.  I use the Georgia font because it makes the numbers very distinctive.  Here you see a larger set with just numbers, and some others with names, though in this case it's because the cards use initials instead of card numbers.  You'll also note a couple HAVE lists.  I had to highlight them in purple because the big, bold HAVE wasn't quite enough to keep people from sending me those cards (again).  I also make all my notes for variations and references in italics, and my set titles in bold to enhance the readability.  I'm also picky about spacing.  I can't stand when other collectors run all their set titles together with no blank lines in between and no difference in the set names and card numbers.  It's just flat hard to read.  Sometimes I have to copy their site pages and paste and format them so I can read them better.

Anyway, back to set listings.  So in some cases, I'll print a list with the names and everything.  It starts with copying the list from one of a few different sources, depending on what info I want.  I get them from Beckett, The TCDB, CardPedia, KeyMan, Virtual Collection (for pics of older stuff), etc.  Some original data will make it necessary to paste into Notepad to get rid of all the links, etc. and then into Word or Excel to make the final list.  And then I'll put color and columns in and clean it up nice.

This one is from the Beckett site.  You can tell it's from several years ago when I actually subscribed and got pricing.  I don't remember if the check boxes came with it or I added them after.  But the rest is right from their listings.  Make it two columns and format it to alternate the shading of the lines.  The pricing is sorta handy in this case because this is actually a set of jersey cards.  More on this one later....

My 1950 Bowman set list from the Old Cardboard site.  Not sure why I used their list, but it works.  Since the numbers on '50 Bowman are hard to read, I wanted the names.  Figured this set would take a long time, so instead of putting it on the site, I just made this list.

Now supposing there are variations to a set you're building.  If it's not obvious by the text listing as to the difference between a & b, then I want a visual guide.  I made this for when I start '63 and '64.  Now I can tell quckly when I've got a rare variation or the common correct card.

I just Google images or find them on eBay and paste them into a Word document.  It's easy to resize and position them in Word.  Though sometimes it's tricky to get the captions below the images and keep everything lined up and on one page.

Another visual list I made was for those 2007 Sweet Spot Classic jerseys.  I kept seeing so many of them on eBay auctions, that after a while, they were so familiar that I couldn't tell if I had some of them or just kept seeing them on there for too high a price.

Makes a nice collage since the photos in this set are so nice.  I improvised a couple of them with base images since I couldn't find pics of the jersey cards.

Next time, team and player collections.


  1. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Ever since 1957 my checklists are the checklist cards of the set & I fill in the little box by the name if it on there otherwise I cross the a line through the name

  2. That 2007 Sweet Spot Classic jerseys are sweet! I'd love to one day own the Gehrig.

  3. Greg! What an informative post! I've pondered using 'images to Word' and printing for my new card show binder. I recently bought a binder like yours specifically for shows. It also never occurred to me to pull number charts off the internet. I use Excel at the office but differently so haven't tried to make my own number chart yet. Thanks for sharing your methods!