In 1887, trading cards were born. After 120 years and billions of cards later, the hobby of collecting trading cards is still alive and growing. Storage and organization are main factors in successfully protecting your valuable investment.
If you decide to take up this exciting hobby or already have stacks of cards laying around, this article is for you.
First, keeping your cards stored properly will perserve them for years to come or for when you decide to sell them for the extra cash. By all means possible, DO NOT store your cards in shoeboxes. This might be nostalgic for past years, but today with all of the available means of storage, there are definitely better options to safe keep your cards.
1. Trading card boxes: These boxes are specially designed to store trading cards and contain slots that will fit the average card. Boxes can contain anywhere from 100 to 5000 cards. They are perfect to store your cards as they keep the cards from getting bent and corners getting soft. Boxes are probably the least expensive route in storage. The biggest negative is depending on age some cards may tend to bend the longer they are stored.
2. Nine pocket pages: These pages are the ideal way to store cards because they keep every area of the card protected which keeps the corners crisp and the cards flat. They can store 9 cards where you can see the backs of each individual card or up to 18 cards with just the front of the card showing. They can be pricey but well worth the investment. They will also easily fit into any three-ring binder.
3. Soft plastic card sleeves: These are individual clear plastic soft sleeves that can be put on each card. These are ideal to use when storing cards in a storage boxes or for displaying cards for sale. Sleeves are very inexpensive to purchase and instead of the clear plastic common sleeve you can now purchase sleeves that range from almost every color of the rainbow. These colored sleeves are popular among Pokemon and Magic Card collectors, but can be used for any type of sports card.
4. Hard plastic card sleeves or “Top Loaders”: These sleeves by definition are obviously made of hard plastic and the best way to protect your most valuable cards. Most collectors will use a soft plastic sleeve inside a top loader to best preserve their highly priced cards. These can be relatively expensive if you plan on putting every card in one, but for just a select few cards, you can purchase about 100 for $5.
Secondly, one of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting is organizing or , in other words, sorting. This facet is best left up to the individual and how they want to most easily view their cards.
Organization can occur in the following ways:
1. By Brand: Many collectors will sort their cards by the individual brand such as Topps or Upper Deck. There are so many different brands of cards these days that often this task can be very tedious but well worth the effort.
2. By Year: Sorting this way allows the collector to more easily search for rookies or valuable cards for any given year.
3. By Brand and Year: This obviously combines the two options listed above and perhaps is the most effective way to organize trading cards. It is probably also the most common.
4. By Team: This option is perhaps the most enjoyable way to sort cards especially if you have a favorite team. The main problem with this option is that players these days switch teams so many times that to find a certain card you would have to search through all the teams the player has played for.
5. By Player: Most collectors will only sort these way with big name players such as Derek Jeter or Roger Clemens. It would be very ineffective to sort the “average joe” player this way unless of course he/she is your favorite.
All in all, collecting trading cards can be an excellent investment and a great hobby. But keeping cards stored and organized effectively will not only protect your investment but will allow you, the collector, to experience greater satisfaction with your priceless card collection.