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  #1  
Old 04-21-2017, 08:40 PM
Bestdj777 Bestdj777 is offline
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Default First card in a set - any childhood stories?

Hi all,

I've read numerous times how a card in this or that set (i.e. the 52 Pafko) is hard to find in high grade because it was the first card in many kids' rubber-banded stacks. To me, I just can't see a meaningful enough number of kids organizing and storing their sets in this fashion to make a difference. While it's not a theory that can be proven or disproven, I'm just curious whether anyone has any relevant childhood stories from the 50s and 60s.

Thanks,

Chris
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestdj777 View Post
Hi all,

I've read numerous times how a card in this or that set (i.e. the 52 Pafko) is hard to find in high grade because it was the first card in many kids' rubber-banded stacks. To me, I just can't see a meaningful enough number of kids organizing and storing their sets in this fashion to make a difference. While it's not a theory that can be proven or disproven, I'm just curious whether anyone has any relevant childhood stories from the 50s and 60s.

Thanks,

Chris
Although I collected mostly in the 70's as a kid, I also used rubber bands to store my cards. I took them to school that way for trades and flips and wished I just left them all in those rubber bands instead of doing the flip thing!
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:15 PM
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Me and my brethren put the cards in teams and all the 'junk' cards (league leaders, playoffs, checklists, etc.) at the back. Sure, we used rubber bands, but they never hit card #1, they hit the A's or Angels team card.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:05 AM
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I am not sure how many kids did it, but it was a very common practice among dealers. Even into the early 2000s, there were at least two dealers at the Wilmington MA show that had most of their wares (all pre 1970 including prewar) in piles with elastics around them (usually sorted numerically for Topps). These piles included cards worth hundreds of dollars. It was much more common in the 70s and 80s. I would guess most dealer stopped the practice in the late 80s/early 90s as Copeland and other buyers were focusing on condition to a greater extent.

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Old 04-22-2017, 10:56 AM
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I used a card locker like this one on ebay--which I ordered through my mom's Harriet Carter mail-order gift catalog:


Mine was first used in 1968, and although the Ebay listing claims this to be from that year, you can tell from the inner doors that the expansion Royals and Pilots have been given slots, so it clearly was made in 1969. In mine those bottom slots were used for checklists, league leaders, etc., at least the first year. After that I used it for a few more years and did rubber-band the "misc" cards.

I popped the doors off almost immediately because it was otherwise difficult and sometimes damaging to remove the cards. Also, when a slot was full those notches you see that hold the slats would dig into the cards at the top--for me the team cards and managers.

As the new season began the old cards were put away in those boxes that held bank checks-- I had dozens of them--which in turn were put in larger boxes.

More to the OP's question, though, I never sorted them in numerical order and thus never would have had rubber band marks on card #1.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:55 AM
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Always sorted mine by teams in alpha order by league.
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  #7  
Old 04-22-2017, 12:07 PM
Zach Wheat Zach Wheat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyElm View Post
...Sure, we used rubber bands, but they never hit card #1, they hit the A's or Angels team card.
We used tacks and staples on all of our cards....and then to make sure we could identify all of our cards so they would not get mixed up, wrote our names in bold letters on the front.

Z
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Old 04-22-2017, 01:19 PM
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I used cheese boxes that I got from the local Butcher in the early and mid 1970's
No rubber bands on my cards
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Last edited by rgpete; 04-22-2017 at 01:28 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-22-2017, 03:04 PM
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My cards were also kept in numerical order by series with a rubber band wrapped around them. However, once I got the checklist card, that always went on top.

Kept them in a shoebox. At sometime in the middle of the 7th series, grouped them by team with the team card on top, of course with a rubber band around them.

So, my checklist cards and team cards were the most damaged.

Still have them all today and they are priceless! My checklists I marked as an 8 to 14 year old are in a binder right next to their better condition cousins that were purchased years later.

Mike
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  #10  
Old 04-22-2017, 03:31 PM
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Interesting question; there may be a generational factor involved because kids in the early '50's also had to deal with the conundrum of different sized cards from the big two manufacturers. In the spring of '52, I saw many stacks of cards held together by rubber bands simply because the larger Topps cards allowed the smaller Bowman cards to slip out and away more easily, and as a result, kids had to use bands to keep them together - of course, many kids simply resorted to taking a pair of scissors to the Topps product - yikes - to trim it down to Bowman size. Strangely, I haven't noticed many of those butchered Topps cards showing up in the market in later years. I suppose most dealers simply tossed them out in the decades after the '50's.
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  #11  
Old 04-22-2017, 03:51 PM
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But, in regard to the numbering issue, the practice of using a major star player on the first card in each set definitely affected a kid's tendency toward banding the stack. I imagine that many '52 Topps Pafko cards suffered banding damage simply because Andy was a common player, not deserving of the respect shown to cards of guys like Berra, Robinson, Rizzuto, Williams, et al. that were more likely to occupy the top position. Still remember rubber-banding my stack of '53 Bowman cards and not worrying about damaging that other Williams, though. Did George Moll really think that Davey was a budding superstar?
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  #12  
Old 04-22-2017, 06:09 PM
Lueth2048 Lueth2048 is offline
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From 1972 until about 1976 I used rubber bands and sorted by team. As the season went on the first card in each team's stack would be either the team card or, in the years that they were issued, the team checklist card.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:16 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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When I started getting a lot of cards in 74 I ended up putting them in number order. Before I had about 300, I had them by team but stopped when it just got too hard to know which ones I needed since I didn't have all the team checklists. But the Aaron was relatively safe, since I didn't get it until after I got a binder and pages.

I've put them in number order ever since, with one in front and the last card at the back. Passed on a few junk era sets once when they were new because they were stacked with the last card in front and the first in back. It was too much of a nuisance to reverse an entire 700+ card set.

I haven't damaged any with rubber bands, but I have in other ways. I got a file cabinet that has shallow drawers and used it for cards. I had to put them in sideways, but it worked great. Except the screws that hold the drawer handles rubbed on the cards at the front. After a couple got wrecked I put some 3x5 cards in there to take the scuffing.
And I've lost a few last cards to spills. Juice or milk, then soda and eventually beer. (That was a sad sad day, wrecked a few cards and spilled a good beer. )

Steve B
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:18 PM
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Out of all of my friends in the neighborhood and all of the kids in the Card clubs in school I was the only kid who did not use rubber bands to help keep my cards organized. I always kept my cards in numeric order but the majority of kids kept theirs in order by team. But every card show in the eighties had their cads in numeric order with most in rubber bands? But I have always felt first and last card was more of a myth as far as hard to find in top condition?
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  #15  
Old 04-23-2017, 05:56 AM
David W David W is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Wheat View Post
We used tacks and staples on all of our cards....and then to make sure we could identify all of our cards so they would not get mixed up, wrote our names in bold letters on the front.

Z
Organized by teams in rubber bands inside any box close to the right size, but preferred writing on the back, like this......
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  #16  
Old 04-23-2017, 12:30 PM
Troy Kirk Troy Kirk is offline
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I used to buy collections of cards from the 1960s and 1970s and they were almost always organized by team with rubber bands around each team. I don't think I ever bought a collection where the cards were organized by number.

I think the #1 cards are beat up because they were in the first series and first series cards were played with all summer whereas the higher series are usually less beat up because they were bought at the end of the season.

I have bought some complete sets of cigarette cards from England (usually 50-card sets) and often they put the #1 card behind the #2 card and have the set wrapped in a paper strip. Those small sets are always saved in numerical order and the #1 cards do get more wear in that type of set.
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  #17  
Old 04-23-2017, 05:34 PM
Bcwcardz Bcwcardz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolemmings View Post
I used a card locker like this one on ebay--which I ordered through my mom's Harriet Carter mail-order gift catalog:


Mine was first used in 1968, and although the Ebay listing claims this to be from that year, you can tell from the inner doors that the expansion Royals and Pilots have been given slots, so it clearly was made in 1969. In mine those bottom slots were used for checklists, league leaders, etc., at least the first year. After that I used it for a few more years and did rubber-band the "misc" cards.

I popped the doors off almost immediately because it was otherwise difficult and sometimes damaging to remove the cards. Also, when a slot was full those notches you see that hold the slats would dig into the cards at the top--for me the team cards and managers.

As the new season began the old cards were put away in those boxes that held bank checks-- I had dozens of them--which in turn were put in larger boxes.

More to the OP's question, though, I never sorted them in numerical order and thus never would have had rubber band marks on card #1.
Here is something I used in the early 80s. Although mine is actually long gone I wish to purchase a clean one for sentimenatal reasons.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
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  #18  
Old 04-23-2017, 06:53 PM
Kurri17 Kurri17 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bcwcardz View Post
Here is something I used in the early 80s. Although mine is actually long gone I wish to purchase a clean one for sentimenatal reasons.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
Actually found a couple of these lockers in a hobby (i.e. models) shop recently. Never got one as a kid despite always kind of wanting one, so picked one up in pretty nice condition. A nice remnant of the era.
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:27 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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I have a couple of the hard plastic storage boxes shown, both with and without the expansion teams. One red , one green.
I thought they were the ones offered on the wrappers, but hearing they were bought at retail makes me wonder.

I also have one of the other ones, it's not in great shape, but it's still pretty cool.

Just by having been around a while I've built up a fairly nice collection of hobby supplies. - Being too lazy to toss them all or crazy enough to keep a few of each when I switch to something easier/newer/better doesn't hurt.

Steve B
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:26 PM
Bestdj777 Bestdj777 is offline
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Really appreciate the stories everyone! It looks like there were at least a couple people storing in that matter, so maybe there is some merit to the theory. Either way, it's great to hear about card collecting before the binder days of the 90s and grading companies today when they were simply childhood treasures.
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  #21  
Old 04-23-2017, 09:43 PM
Lueth2048 Lueth2048 is offline
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As I got older and I got closer to completing a set I would shift my collection to number order to keep an easier track of what I needed. For some reason I never really liked checking off cards on a checklist.

When I was the in the eighth grade (1977-78) a comic book store opened in my neighborhood and I began buying boxes specially made for trading cards. From then on it was always number order for me.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:55 PM
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I always kept my cards separated by teams - a stack of Reds, Dodgers, Yankees, etc. Each with a team card on front and a rubber band around the stack. Team card, manager, pitchers, infield (1B to 3B) and then finally the OFs in that order. And if someone got traded, then all of their cards went to the new team.

And all of those stacks of cards were stored in shoe boxes. 1977 - 1979.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:57 PM
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In the late 70's-early 80s I kept them in shoe boxes with rubber bands. Sorted by team but in no particular order. All my other non-sports cards were usually kept in paper grocery bags. When I got back into cards briefly in 1985 they all made it into proper card boxes, and then my vintage cards were stolen in 1995 in a move or where I was living at the time. The only ones I miss are my 72 football cards, where I had a bunch of them, including Staubach's rookie card.
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:39 PM
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When I was a kid in the early 80s I did not want to keep my cards in a shoe box. My father suggested a computer punch card box and brought one home from work. I kept my cards sorted by team in a single computer punch card box at first. From there, I added a second box, so the NL and AL had their own box. Then each division had it's own box and I was up to four. At one point, my father had brought home about 20 of these boxes which I had filled by the mid 80s, but now by year and number order. If I remember correctly, I stored the cards in two rows from the front to back. Each box could hold 1000+ cards....for me these were a precursor to the monster boxes.

Here is an example:
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  #25  
Old 05-02-2017, 09:52 AM
Kurri17 Kurri17 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigdaddy View Post
I always kept my cards separated by teams - a stack of Reds, Dodgers, Yankees, etc. Each with a team card on front and a rubber band around the stack. Team card, manager, pitchers, infield (1B to 3B) and then finally the OFs in that order. And if someone got traded, then all of their cards went to the new team.

And all of those stacks of cards were stored in shoe boxes. 1977 - 1979.
Very much the same here. Organized the same way (catchers after pitchers as well). No rubber bands for me though. I thought of players as being with a certain team, and that was just the logical way to me. Digging through for trading would have been a nightmare if organizing numerically it seems. '72-'79 for me.
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:22 PM
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I collected baseball cards primarily in the 1950s and I would agree with some members that cards were more often organized by teams, not by number. In fact, we did not even know all the cards in the set until 1956 with checklists, so we would have had less reason to organize numerically. And for some of us with modest means, we never dreamed of buying enough cards to get all the cards in the set. We were more interested in getting all the cards we knew existed of our favorite team.
Thanks to learning from the 1953 Topps issue that differentiated between players in the National and American Leagues, I would first organize cards by leagues, and then by my favorite teams in that league with my favorite players first and then put them in cigar boxes.
I only put rubber bands around cards when I was taking some out of the house. In addition to damage from rubber bands, cards, especially those on top or bottom, were not treated well when they were jammed into your pockets when you wanted to take them with you for a possible trade. A rectangular bulge in your pocket would occasionally prompt a warning from a teacher: Whatever is in your pocket stays in your pocket! Those were the days!!
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Old 05-21-2017, 12:03 AM
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You're right, 50's - that's why I always carried my stack in a back pocket!
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Old 05-21-2017, 09:41 PM
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I have almost the full first series of 1957 Topps in what would be EX to EXMT with the top right corner cut off. I did this back in 57 so my older brother would not claim them as his. It must have worked because I still have them.
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Old 05-23-2017, 06:59 PM
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I collected from 1974 to 1981. A friend of the family, who was a woodworker, made some sweet storage boxes for me that kept my cards in great shape. I always collected in numerical order going for complete sets. Never by team. Here is a photo of how I do it now, which is exactly how I did it when I was a kid.
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolemmings View Post
I used a card locker like this one on ebay--which I ordered through my mom's Harriet Carter mail-order gift catalog:


Mine was first used in 1968, and although the Ebay listing claims this to be from that year, you can tell from the inner doors that the expansion Royals and Pilots have been given slots, so it clearly was made in 1969. In mine those bottom slots were used for checklists, league leaders, etc., at least the first year. After that I used it for a few more years and did rubber-band the "misc" cards.

I popped the doors off almost immediately because it was otherwise difficult and sometimes damaging to remove the cards. Also, when a slot was full those notches you see that hold the slats would dig into the cards at the top--for me the team cards and managers.

As the new season began the old cards were put away in those boxes that held bank checks-- I had dozens of them--which in turn were put in larger boxes.

More to the OP's question, though, I never sorted them in numerical order and thus never would have had rubber band marks on card #1.
I still have my card locker, a couple vintage Cubs and Sox stickers on it, had them sorted by team, favorite players or coolest looking card on top. I recall the cards being difficult to get out of the locker. My overflow of cards were in a shoebox, all with rubber bands diagonally corner to corner.
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