Friday, December 19, 2014

A Tour Through My Team Binder

I had a pretty interesting discussion with my fellow team collector buddies about how we store our collections.  We're talking about pretty extensive team collections that are all between at least 10-15k  unique cards.  And while most of us had pretty similar approaches, it was interesting to see some of the differences in how we enjoy looking at our collections.  So I thought it might be worthwhile to take you all on a quick walk through how I set up my team collection binders.  At some point in the future, I'd like to do a full overview of my collection but I'm way too disorganized right now.  New Year's Resolution, anyone?

I used my 2006 binder as the example here.  We're actually starting in the back of the binder, since this photo gives some good perspective on the thickness of my binder.  My collection is arranged chronologically, with each year broken down by set alphabetically, base/parallels/inserts, and then by card number.

Minor league cards are in the very back in reverse order by level (AAA, AA, A, etc), and then any pack issued (Just, Pro Debut, Heritage Minors, the old Fleer and UD minor league sets) at the very back.

At nearly 14,000 cards, I like to think I have a pretty comprehensive collection.  But there are still a ton of holes in even some of the most common of base team sets.  I typically leave open slots to fill in base needs.   Any parallels come next.  As you can see with Bazooka, there are open slots for the missing base cards.  The gold Zach Duke signals the end of the base cards and start of the parallels.  If it's a parallel set that I have a good number of cards of or believe I can realistically complete, I will leave open slots for the parallels as well.  But in the case of Bazooka, while the parallels are relatively common, they're a real pain to track down without having to pay for shipping online.  So to save space, the cards were condensed onto one page until I find more.
 When doing my initial sort into the binders this year, I tried to group the parallels as much as possible from most common to least.  But various additions throughout the year tended to just get tacked on in an open slot, rather than have to re-slot the entire page.  The end result on this page is a Craig Wilson card that's sooooo close to being with his blue bordered buddies, yet so, so far away.
 There are still some sets that I'm hopelessly behind on.  The '06 Bowman Heritage set is one where I'm miles away from completion.  I actually have more of the mini parallels than base cards for the set.  Sets like this basically just get tossed into a page with the hopes that I'll be able to add a large number of the cards I need from a trade or justcommons, and give the cards a proper spot in their page.  Notice the Bowman Originals Blue Jason Bay in the bottom row.  It's the only card I own from that set, and again just sort of ended up on the misfit toys page until it can justify migrating to its own page.  I don't mind only having 2 or 3 cards on a page when it's completely unavoidable, but just one lonely card?  Nah.

 The part of the discussion that I found most interesting if how the various team collectors handle their parallels.  Of our group, most of us are onboard with binders (though there are still a couple holdouts that have all their cards toploadered and in boxes), and had the same setup for base cards.  But some folks opted to group parallels by player, rather than my method of going by type and numerical order.  I can definitely see the appeal.  I love a good rainbow, and they look great on the page.  But I also love seeing the parallel colors grouped together.  The 2006 UD Special F/X parallels are some of my favorite cards.  The top row is the Green parallel, followed by my personal favorite Red, and the damn near impossible to find Blue Oliver Perez.

The binder setup ultimately makes it really easy for me to enjoy my collection, and hopefully will mean no more sorting and resorting everything every time I get cards out of order.

I know there have been some great posts in the past about how everybody stores/displays their collection.  Feel free to link any posts in the comments, as I'd love to reread them.  Anybody have similar or different methods for storing their collections?  I'm particularly interested to hear about team or player collections.


  1. Very cool. When I was a kid, I had a binder full of A's that was sorted chronologically, by brand, and by number. But these days, I store my A's team sets in 5,000ct. boxes. Unfortunately... I just don't have the shelf space for that many binders.

  2. Wow! That is an impressive Pirates collection. I probably have some Pirate cards and others that will fit into your collection. Send me an email if you would like to get a trade going.