Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sets: boxes, binders or something else entirely?


(Yes, I totally ganked this box scan from Amazon. Sorry, Amazon! I didn't feel like running downstairs and scanning my own box!)

I've completed a few sets recently, and have been picking up smaller sets like this '81 Topps Traded for a while. My problem right now is that I don't know what to do with them once I complete them, in many cases. With the smaller stuff I've been completing that doesn't come "factory" (either in a sealed box, shrinkwrapped, or in some other configuration designed to keep people from looking at the cards) like the '70s Burger King team sets, it's been easy, as I just have to bust out some card pages and throw the stuff in an album. (Eventually, once these things are older, I may want to go with screwdowns for it all, but right now I'm good.) However, with bigger sets (like hand-collated '80s Topps), "Factory" stuff big and small, and older, super-cool stuff like the '76 SSPC set, I'm not sure what to do. 

There's still a part of the brainwashed kid in me who instinctively keeps things "factory", even on stuff that has little chance of appreciating substantially in value any time soon. There's also the pragmatic adult in me that realizes that the cost of supplies to put all 792 '87 Topps card in an album far outpaces its current value. Then, you have the part of me that'd really like to enjoy looking at what was a dream set for me in the SSPC set, but has a set in gorgeous shape and doesn't want to chance damaging the cards in an album. Then, you have my in-its-early-stages '72 Topps set, which, again, I don't want to damage, but I would like to look at, and I think would look gorgeous in pages once it's done (if it's ever done). I've already got some keys from that set (Clemente being the biggest) in screwdowns, though. Do I take them out and treat them like "just another card" for the sake of completism?

I fully realize that worrying about these things is both First World and neurotic, and I know that there's no "right" way to collect anything, but as I'm shaping my huge mass of baseball cards into a collection with focus, I'd love to know how the other folks in the card collecting community deal with storage and display of their sets. Let me know what works best for you in the comments!

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