Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"The Dues We Pay"

"If I had back all the time I've spent fooling with my Comic Book Collections over the past 40+ years I'd be a young man again!"

I don't know about other collectors, whether it be of stamps, coins, cards or comics, put I seem to put a lot of my time into maintaining my comic collections. Here recently I finally was able to complete a trade deal that'd been going on for a few months. Out of several long boxes of comics I obtained, I kept over 400 of them. I believe that people who do not collect something actually realize how much an effort a serious collector takes in keeping his(her) collections in order.

When I get a large number of additions as such, the first thing I have to do is put all of them in alphabetical order due to my keeping both a hard list in a notebook (to avoid purchasing duplicates), PLUS I have the whole collection saved on a number of floppies.

The procedure goes something like this. First I write down everything in long-hand on a notebook tablet; this way I can go thru my notebook listings and do the additions by hand. Then, I use that list to go thru all the floopies and add those in as well. Then I have a "want list" on yet another floppy that I have to eliminate any issues from that I just obtained.

After all that's been done, I seperate books into three catagories: those with both a backing board and bag, those that are just bagged with NO board, and those that have neither. These stacks have to be alphabetized as well and kept seperate so that those ready to be added to the bulk of my collection boxes can be done so; those without the bags are kept seperate so that boards can be added, and finally, those without either have to have both boards and bags added.

This takes a lot of time.

A couple of days ago I started work on these 400+ comics at 11AM, taking a few short breaks granted, and finished at 9:30 PM (10-1/2 hrs.). This also included checking for the duplicates which had to be put to one side, to be checked against the ones I already had, to see which one was in the better condition, to be either put in my duplicate boxes or replaced.

Having done this for so very long now I've pretty much got the whole process down to a tee, but my collection of boxes are stacked due to lack of a room to put them all out individually, and there's much lifting and unstacking and restacking of heavy boxes. (I think a lot of comic book collectors probably have back problems of one sort or another because of that.)

Plus you got to remember that I have to do things like answer the phone, take snack breaks, go to the bathroom occasionally and put up with the cat who sneaks into the room from time-to-time wanting one-thing-or-another. Everyone always wants "something" right in the middle of what you're trying to never seems to fail.

The key to the whole thing is organization. And I keep a reserve of things around that I need to make this process a bit easier at time like these; a box with scissors (to trim backing boards that are too large for the bags), tape (to tape down the bag flaps), extra boards when I have them, lables for the bags, and always a couple of decent ink pens just to mark the lables, and naturally, a copy of an Overstreet Price Guide as a reference (mostly).

If anyone has an easier system, I'd really be happy to hear about it!


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