Friday, January 12, 2024

I can't change how I collect

I've been collecting for so long now that I can't envision a life without it.

I'm fascinated by the way my pre-teen self managed to come up with my fairly intricate binder system, a method that's remained largely unchanged as of now. But lately I'll admit that I've started running into a few roadblocks - some of said system simply isn't feasible anymore as I get on in years. 

The crazy way I sort my cards often means that it takes a lot of time to file them away, a lot of moving cards from one slot to another and such. For a while, that was okay - I was able to devote a sizeable chunk of my waking hours to my collection. 

Problem is, as I sit here typing these words at the age of 31 (going-on-32), I simply don't have the time and/or energy to do that anymore.

The easiest (and perhaps most obvious) solution to this quandary is to simply COLLECT FEWER CARDS and not the 8,623 different players and themes I insist on chasing.

But could I ever do that? Of course not! I admire those who can stop collecting one thing and seamlessly pivot to another. But it's just not me. I can turn the volume knobs of different things I collect up and down sometimes, but I can never completely shut them off.

For what it's worth, I've devised a slight revision to my binder system that should cut my filing time down by a good margin and keep the collecting part of my brain balanced. In the meantime, I can take comfort in other collectors I know who are just as crazy (I mean, widely curious) as I am, like longtime friend of the blog John of "Johnny's Trading Spot."

John is particularly good at shoveling heaps and heaps of cards onto people - what you'll see here come from a few different packages I'm woefully overdue in posting - and he knows I always want shiny Cubs.

John also produced a rare first for my collection - behold, the first of these curious '30s matchbooks I own!

They're are a prime example of something I'm not really interested enough to chase down and buy, but was over the moon to see fall out of a trade package as a surprise.

Nifty Cubs will always have a home with me.

I've been collecting for long enough now to grow nostalgic for players of my youth - that's the only explanation I have as to why I've been hoarding Mark Prior cards with more vigor lately.

More local love here, including those cool Jason Kipnis & Billy Hamilton parallels - a couple Dime Box Favorites who gleefully became short-term Cubs.

Cubs were the meat of John's mailings, but they weren't the whole feast.

A couple pitchers-at-the-plate came along for the ride - and while I don't specifically count flip-side hitting pitchers towards my mini-collection, I'll always take ones people happen to spot (especially of big names like Trevor Hoffman!). 

I find it endearing that an oddball set documenting the hapless '62 Mets actually exists, and John sent along a few of those gems as well.

I had a couple cards from this set in my binders already (do nicknames get any better than "Vinegar Bend" Mizell?), but these two familiar names were new to me - nor did I know either of them were inaugural Mets.

Here's a card I never knew I needed - a '62 Mets team photo!

Come to think of it, this one's a prime example of why I can't collect any other way than I do right now. Team cards have never been a huge priority for me, nor does this one fit snugly into any of the nebulous players/themes/guidelines I collect. But did I get wide-eyed at the sight of it in a trade package? Of course!

In the end, even though the circumstances surrounding the collector might change, I truly believe that basic instinct to collect how and what we want never truly fades.


Mike said...

Vinegar Bend!? New to me,and GREAT!

Jeremya1um said...

I believe the Kipnis is a sunset card as well.
The only advice I can give for organizing cards the older you get is to do it less frequently and be ok with it. In my ‘20’s I had my binders organized by the current teams roster and updated it many times a year. Now I have them by teams but organized by years, and I haven’t put new cards in binders in 2 years maybe. It might get started on this year, but then again, maybe in 2025. I just do what I can and try not to fret or regret anything.

The Angels In Order said...

John's always a source of great stuff.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

I'm about to send off another "box" to you. Yes, there will be Cubs, and signing, and minor leaguers, and misc odd ball for you to google at. Almost have the box filled.

Brian said...

How did I miss Billy Hamilton with the Cubs? I remember him on the Sox in 2021. Wow.

Chris said...

Sorting, cataloging, and organizing are all very exhausting. Hope your new filing system saves time and space for more fantastic oddballs.

Jafronius said...

Great stuff from Johnny!

Mark Zentkovich said...


Fuji said...

My OCD and obsession for sorting has gotten out of hand... and I'll spend hours sorting stuff without seeing hardly any progress. The good news is sorting is therapeutic for me. The only downside is sitting down for so long makes my back ache, so four hours is about my daily max.

Any plans to share that revised binder system with your readers? I'd love to cut some of my filing time 😁.

As for Johnny... heaps and heaps is no exaggeration. I've got a box from September I'm still sifting through and three PWE's sitting in a box on my desk from him.

Bo said...

The Diamond matchbooks came in red, green and blue borders. Yeah, Topps didn't invent color variations! There is a guy in OBC who is working on a full rainbow for everybody (some of these OBC guys are nuts, in a good way). One of the few he still needs is a red Tex Carleton. I happen to have one, and have told him I'll trade him the red one if I come across one in another color. (This is NOT me asking for yours though!)

I don't know how you binder people do it. For me the cards go in boxes, with the exception of sets where I only have very few cards. Makes organizing quicker, though not quick. And personally I find organizing - sorting, cataloging, filing away - a major part of the fun.

Jon said...

As a kid I was primarily a set collector, and therefor couldn't collect like you do. And as an adult, my interest level just isn't high enough to collect like you do. I do really like the way that you collect though, and even envy it in a way.

And the matchbook covers are neat. I'd love to collect those, but most of them usually sell for a bit more than I'm comfortable paying.