So, you have just opened up a new box of cards, come back with some goodies from your local card shop or received a nice present in the mail from a recent online purchase. Now what do you do? Often, collectors place them in a convenient stack among hundreds of other cards or randomly in a shoe box. Instead, collectors should organize their cards in a way that not only allows them to know what they have. Cards should also be organized in a way that collectors can quickly and easily find what they want to sell or look at. Sports card software can help.
As a player collector, organizing my collection is very important. I need to know which cards are already in my collection so I know whether to go after a card or not. The same holds true for set builders and team collectors. With all the parallel cards out there today, it can be confusing to know which ones are missing from your collection.
The first order of business is to group your cards together. This is typically done by sport (if you collect more than one sport), then by year, then by set. It's helpful to have a large table or flat surface to get started. Using cardboard boxes specifically designed for sports cards that can be found at your local card shop or online, store your cards in those groups. The last step is to take the cards from each set and put them in numerical order.
Now you have your cards in order by sport, year, set, and number. But you're not quite done. Sure, with some reasonable effort you can find a specific card (or see if you are missing a particular card) by locating the proper box (assuming you have taken the time to label them) and flipping through the cards. But there is an easier way. The final step is to record your cards electronically using sports card software.
Here is where you will need to decide what level of information you want to have for your collection. When I first started recording my collection in an electronic format back in the mid-90s, I used a simple spreadsheet. I could enter basic card information and sort the rows. This gave me a better idea of what was in my collection, but after entering thousands of cards, I still had to scroll through all the information to locate a card. Plus, printing out a list of a specific player or set wasn't very easy. So the next step I took was to create a basic database. Here I was able to query the card data easily so I could see specific areas of my collection.
But I wanted more. As a result, I built a more complex database with forms and reports. I was now able to not only enter a current price of a card, but I could keep track of past prices as well. I could also add a scanned picture of a card. This way I could keep my cards safely in their cardboard boxes and still enjoy looking at the different designs of the various cards in my collection.
After other collectors had seen what I had created for my collection, I took things one step further and created a standalone piece of sports card software called Sportscard Organizer 3. It features everything I could think of that I and other collectors would want to have to keep track of their collection. I now have over 140,000 cards entered into my sports card software. Although there are other programs out there, most are dated. Not only is Sports Card Organizer 3.0 the most current sports card software available today, it also has the cleanest interface so it's easy to use.
So what are the benefits of having your collection stored in an electronic format using sports card software? Here are just a few:
Easily Find What You Have
With a few clicks I can see all the cards I have of a particular player or set. I can even quickly find how many certified autograph cards I have featuring New York Yankees that have a print run less than 25.
Print Out Reports of Your Collection
What good is having your collection entered in an electronic format if you cannot print out reports showing what you have? A good piece of sports card software will have multiple reports that you can print out and take with you to your next card show or hobby shop. For set collectors, some sports card programs out there allow you to print out a report showing what cards you are missing to complete a set.
Know the Value of Your Collection
Do you know how much your total collection is worth? What about the value of just your Michael Jordan cards? With a sports card software program you can easily find out. A plus is you can store how much you paid for a card. This could be helpful when deciding how much you would ask if you were to sell the card.
Scan Pictures of Your Cards
Collectors should be able to see their cards, even when they're being stored. The better sports card software out there allow for two pictures to be added, one for the front of the card and the other for the back. If you buy cards online, a card's listing might not exactly match the official description of the card. By having scans of your cards, you can see whether a card you have matches what is being sold, again, without having to dig through your boxes of cards.
It's Essential for Insuring Your Collection
I have my baseball cards insured. If you have a decent collection you should consider doing the same as most homeowner's insurance does not automatically cover collectibles. I provide a digital copy of my collection to my insurance agent annually in case, heaven forbid, I would need to make a claim. Having detailed information and pictures of your cards stored with sports card software could also help to prove that you were, in fact, the owner of that Payton Manning 1/1 autograph card if it were ever stolen.
Sports Card Software Makes the Hobby More Enjoyable
While I enjoy flipping through my cards to enjoy all the different designs and works of art that card manufacturers have come up with, I like to be organized. By having my entire collection entered into a piece of sports card software, I can take my hobby to a higher level by easily finding what I have, what they're worth, or what I'm missing.
All collectors are different. But one thing we have in common is that we enjoy the hobby. A good sports card software program that helps you organize your collection is one way to enjoy it even more.
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