Even from an early age, I was anal about my card collection's cataloging system. From the collection's inception, there have been a variety of unofficial storage systems. Long gone is my dad's Etonic shoebox that served as my cards' first temporary residence. Within this old box of running shoes one would have found a complex (not really) network of Zip-Loc bags, each housing all the cards I had of two separate teams, sorted alphabetically. The Brewers I owned were given their own separate spot in a Ghostbusters pencil pouch that was gotten as a fast food prize.
Holy living fuck, here's a picture of it from eBay! The Slimer pencil topper also kicked its way around our house for several years, though I never owned any of the Stay Puft menchandise.
As my collection expended, I grew into more traditional means of storage. However, there was little to guide me on my collecting journey in the realm of keeping straight what I had and what I needed. One of my first attempts can be seen below.
That was the hand-written checklist from 1990 Donruss. This thing is frighteningly complete, with player, team, and position listed for each card. For a short period of time I used a non-Beckett price guide (not Tuff Stuff, either) to record the ever-fluctuating prices of my cards. We were all going to be rich, remember?! It astonishes me to this day that there was a time when a John Smoltz MVP was worth $0.75 while Bo Jackson's was only fifty!
Lookit...lucky 11-year-old Thorzul snagged the elusive A. Bartlett Giamatti card, clocking in at a buck-fifty. It may as well have been Michaelangelo's original carving of the Pietà as far as I was concerned. Bart Giamatti was going to pay for college! Looks like I never finished my Yaz puzzle, though. For shame, as now his good name is being used to peddle birth control.
Up next is the list for a set that I'll never get around to finishing, 1991 Leaf.
I was a straight up baller when it came to card organization. There's even 9-card-pocket guidelines and everything! Look for these to come to my blog's trading post in the near future. Sometimes the wisest among us just know when to give up.
Lastly, it looks like I finally got smart around 1992 or 1993. Here's my 1993 Topps Baseball list. I bit the bullet and made a real nice 900-card template, then begged my dad to take it to his work and make photocopies of it. To his credit he did, and the copies he made lasted me through to the original collecting death rattle sometime in 1994.
It makes me happy that I still own these lists, along with several others. Surprisingly, I still use the template for some sets I'm trying to build. I'd still love to know what the name of that other price guide was. It was printed on cheap newsprint, and one cover from 1990 had Eric Anthony, Ben McDonald, John Olerud, and Todd Zeile on the cover. Man, I wish someone could help me out on this.