I have no idea how to create pages but I'll figure it out eventually godammit

Friday, January 1, 2010

Protect those Oddballs - A&G Cabinets

I'm going to start the year off sensibly with some useful information. The whole shebang will devolve into utter nonsense soon enough, so just be patient.

I get a question about this kind of thing every 6 months like clockwork, so it's time to do some posts and get it all out in the open. With the advent of retro products, the hobby has become acquainted with a whole host of strange non-standard sized cards. Tobacco sized minis, Goudey minis, Bowman minis, postcards, triple folds, Red Man cards, Cabinet cards... How the hell are you supposed to store all those weird-ass oddball cards?

It ain't easy, but it can be done.

If you want the short answer, click here: Ultra Pro

They have pages in a whole range of different sizes.
1 pocket: 8 1/2 x 11
2 pocket: 5 x 7
3 pocket: 4 x 6
4 pocket: 3 1/2 x 5 1/4
6 pocket: 2 1/2 x 5 1/4 (tallboys)
8 pocket: 2 3/4 x 3 1/2 (50's Topps)
9 pocket: you all know about these
12 pocket: 2 1/4 x 2 1/2 (1950 Bowman)
15 pocket: 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 (tobacco cards)
20 pocket: 2 x 2 (coins)

Now all cards will not fit snugly in these sizes, but most of 'em will. These are the base of your oddball collection protection. You can store some of 'em in boxes, but that can get dicey. Most oddballs are special enough to warrant being displayed in pages anyway.

That was the short answer, the long drawn out detailed answer will take a post per type of card. Since Allen & Ginter has a whole bunch of oddball sized cards let's start with them, specifically the...

Allen & Ginter Cabinet Card

Here's one of mine in its home. These 19th century jumbos are 5 3/4 x 8 inches and fairly unwieldy. They don't really fit any standard page size, so you have to improvise. Basically I store them in my A&G binder using a two step process.

First put the cabinet in a 6 x 9 Top loader. No, you don't need 500 of them, that link is just so you know what they look like. They aren't common by any means, but they can be found. Try to find a good hobby store in your area that has a lot of supplies. I get my supplies from Champion Sports Cards in Kennesaw. One of these top loaders set me back 75 cents. If you do find a good hobby shop and they don't have something you're looking for, don't be afraid to ask the owner if he will stock them or if he knows where you might find what you're looking for. The worst case scenario is that they say no, and most really good shops will do what they can to help you. The reason for the 6 x9 top loader is simple, these cards are so big it's really easy for them to get folded and bent. The top loader keeps them nice and safe.

Now that it's in a top loader you're going to want to store the thing so it displays nicely. These things are purdy, you want to show them off! The best way to do so other than framing it and hanging it up on the wall is to put it in a plastic sheet and place it in your Allen & Ginter binder. However, there is no such thing as a 5 3/4 x 8 inch plastic sheet. The cabinets need some serious trimming to fit in a 5 x 7 two pocket page so your only real option is an 8 1/2 x 11 one pocket page. There are two ways of keeping the card from sliding all over that big one pocket page that I know of. You can either modify the one pocket page so the card fits snugly by trimming off a couple of inches off the side and taping it together. I do something a little sneakier.

While you can go all out and buy official Ultra Pro hobby supplies, you don't have to. The natural habitat for a baseball card is a cigar box, so it is perfactly acceptable to improvise on your storage. Shoeboxes and ziploc bags have been used to excellent results in the past. No rubber bands, please. Instead of using the Ultra Pro one pocket (which I prefer for magazines, but that's another post) I go for the cheapo sheet protectors you can get at the dollar store or Big Lots. The plastic is a lot flimsier and I don't know if it's technically acid-free archival safe, but who cares since the card is already in the Top loader for protection. We need the sheet for display purposes and the cheap sheet has one distinct advantage. When you take these out of the pack the two halves of the sheet are stuck together. You have to loosen up the seal and open it up in order to put papers inside. Instead of opening the thing all the way, I open up just the left half, then slide the top loader in carefully. This way, the card is in the page, but the right side still has that seal so the card doesn't slide around. Ingenious, no? It takes a light touch and you might completely unseal a couple before you get it right, but they are cheap and you can use the opened up ones to store checklists or articles on the set for future reference in the binder.

That's right, I MacGyver my card supplies. Just wait until I show you my triple fold sheets, you ain't seen nothin' yet...

1 comment:

madding said...

Great info. I have a few of those pesky cabinet cards that I don't know what to do with. I only recently went all out and bought some 15-pocket sheets and even a couple of stacks of the tobacco mini top loaders (which are a tremendous rip-off, of course.)