In this new, limited blog series, “Collecting While Stuck at Home,” we offer ideas for enjoying your collection at times when a standard hobby experience is not possible. Illness, financial constraints, or any number of factors might temporarily keep collectors from participating as they normally would, but that does not mean that their hobby needs to be put on hold.
As The Rolling Stones so loudly and proudly proclaimed in 1964, “time is on my side.” It provides us with the buffer we need to complete projects and organize our days. It also gives us the opportunity to set deadlines. That’s all part of the planning; now it’s up to us to set those plans in motion.
With the recent shelter-in-place orders mandated by most states across the country, now is the perfect time to start sorting through your largely ignored cards. You know, the ones that you look at about twice a year but always say, “I’ll get back to those later.” Well, guess what? Later has finally arrived.
There are various ways to tackle this assignment, which are outlined below.
Take advantage of your downtime
So, you can either work remotely, watch TV, order a movie, walk your dog, or go get gas after running your “essential” errands to the grocery store. Once you’ve exhausted the gamut of these options, it’s time to find the old boxes (shoe or corrugated) that are housing the cards you can’t seem to throw away, but you also just can’t bring yourself to spend quality time categorizing and chronicling. Remember that before you can start sending in submissions to PSA , you need to know if you’re sitting on any hidden treasures.
Who knows? Maybe a player featured on one of those discarded cards was recently named a league MVP or, better yet, just inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Eras Committees, formerly known as the Veterans Committee, which considers retired MLB players no longer eligible for election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
Sort and categorize your cards
Once you unearth the old cardboard, you need to start sorting. The first move would be to separate the cards by sport: baseball, basketball, football and hockey. Soccer might be an option, or boxing or even NASCAR. But first thing’s first, separate the cards by sport.
Second, you might want to further separate the cards by manufacturer: Bowman, Donruss, Fleer, Leaf, Topps, Upper Deck, etc.) and then start creating even more categories to further break down your assortment. Save for Bowman and Topps, the aforementioned companies are all purely modern era card manufacturers. If you have any pre-1975, vintage-type issues, more power to you. Those could be considered valuable commodities in high-grade condition to a collector who’s looking to complete an older set and may just need that one card you’re arbitrarily sitting on.
Sort by Teams, Make a Donation
Next, you may want to create city or team-themed segments. If you’re a Boston fan, start dividing up your Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins cards. If you root for L.A., it’s all about finding Dodgers, Lakers, Rams and Kings cards. Maybe you’re just looking for one particular player and that’s always a great pursuit. Even if he’s not a perennial All-Star and doesn’t possess MVP-caliber skills, if he’s an icon of yours, for whatever reason, that’s satisfaction in itself. I’m always on the lookout for older cards of Carl Yastrzemski and John Havlicek, so let the discovery begin!
Once you’ve poured through your old cards, and you’ve decided which ones are worth submitting to PSA for authentication and grading, you should take some more time and properly store the cards you want to keep.
Those that are earmarked as submissions to PSA will need to be transferred into penny sleeves and card savers, while the rest can either be safely stored in nine-card pocket sheets or donated to your local branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Kids of all ages, boys and girls, love trading cards and you’ll even be able to qualify your kind gesture as a tax-deductible donation on your next income tax return!