Precious to collect, Precious to protect
You have invested valuable time and money into building that unique collection of trading cards, whether it be a complete set or of a particular actor. Once you've got a good-sized collection, you need to have a way to keep things organized, protected and accessible. It doesn’t make any sense to say; “Oh yes, I have card number five from the Somportex James Bond Second Series” when that particular card is stocked somewhere in a smelly shoebox with another thousand or more cards in the attic or in the cellar and you have no way of finding them short of turning the house upside down. There are many different tools to protect and organize your cards to increase the enjoyment of your collection.
Protecting your investment:
Ages ago during the fifties, sixties and the seventies, most trading cards were purchased by teenagers who took no particular effort in keeping their cards from being damaged. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so hard to get hold of a mint trading card set from that period. Today, most of the collectors do protect their investment, including the young ones who recognize the fact that their collection will be more enjoyable and stay more valuable if they take good care of it.
The most basic and cheapest way of protection for a card is a sleeve, a thin plastic pouch into which the card can be dropped and which protects the card from scratching and having the gloss rubbed off. Sleeves are quite inexpensive, so its ok to use them liberally. In general I put any card worth over €0,50 into a sleeve. Some collectors will put any card that's not a common into a sleeve. A so called top-loader is a somewhat more rigid plastic cover that provides better protection against bending and creasing. They are a bit more expensive than the sleeves, but still economical enough to use them for special cards. A screw-down or snap-case is a sturdy transparent housing that protects a card from all kinds of damage but still very suitable for display. As the name implies, four small screws are used to hold the two parts together in screw-downs. This snap-case protection system is quiet expensive and thus reserved for the more valuable cards. Acrylic-holders are the ultimate protection for your cards. The cards are totally enclosed between one inch of hard transparent acryl, nothing from outside can get to the card.
Organizing your card collection:
If you're on a budget, a shoe box will do, but there are some nice alternatives. Hardboard boxes designed specifically for trading cards that can be purchased for very reasonable prices. These boxes are a good option for storing the bulk of your collection. There are even boxes with the right size for graded cards, or for unprotected and sleeve-enclosed cards. Some other handy tools to have are the sorting trays and box filler pads. Box filler pads are perfectly shaped foam pads that fit into your partially full boxes to keep the cards upright and from sliding around. And you may even want to consider using a trading card house box. This larger storage box will hold up to twelve specially shaped individual boxes which makes it much easier to keep all of those individual boxes together and they are stackable to conserve on precious space. Furthermore you can find all kinds of boxes in transparent acryl to hold your cards. These come in all kinds of variations and colours, sometimes with the movie logo or sports event embossed on the box. These acryl boxes are quiet cheap and protect your cards in a safe manner.
Displaying your card collection:
The simplest way is by using the famous pocket protection sleeves which can hold anywhere from four to nine cards per sleeve and place them into the special designed three or four-ring binders. This method of displaying and protecting is a much more expensive option than using the hardboard boxes, but it does make the cards more accessible and is a great option for enjoying and showing off those "special" parts of your collection like a complete chase set, or that sixties set you worked so hard to build. Also available are the special stand-up binders which will really allow you to display that very special collection, see picture below.
like to give a little advice about protecting your precious cards. Never
use adhesive tape to seal a top-loader. When the card comes in contact
with the sticky residue, it could bring the cards grade down with one
or more levels. When mailing cards, first put the card in a top-loader,
second wrap the top-loaders in paper any kind of paper and third, seal
the paper with tape.
Finally…. Enjoy your collection