Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shoebox Legends World Headquarters - The Card Chest

In an effort to get myself motivated with the blog here in year nine, I'm going to be featuring some "behind the scenes" posts this year.  A look at what happens here at Casa de Shoebox Legends beyond the keyboard to help produce the stunning, award-winning blog material that maybe 100 people will read (and that's a good post lately!).

For the first of these posts, we're looking at this relatively empty corner of my office/hobby room.  This photograph was taken probably a year ago, or maybe even longer now.  Sadly, my pal Eli there in the foreground is no longer around to protect the place with bark and bite.  What I want to focus on today though is that little end table.

The table served as the end table next to the bed in my very first apartment, when we eventually upgraded I claimed it for my hobby room.  It's nothing special, in fact I'm pretty sure it came from Target, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that two row monster boxes fit so nicely on the lower shelf!  Those three boxes hold the majority of my autograph collection, plus some other really significant cards.

What always bothered me was the top of the table, it was a little too low for a guy my height since it's meant to be a bedside table, and not very ornate or interesting looking.  Well, browsing around an antiques store with my wife one weekend I found the perfect solution...

A card chest!  Pretty cool, huh?  All four drawers pull out and are completely removable.  This thing is solidly constructed and much more interesting to look at than the plain tabletop.  Obviously it was not created with the intention of storing sports cards though.  Any guesses?

As you can see from this photo of a removed drawer, this was actually used to store sewing needles back in the day.  I think it's awesome that the label is still (mostly) intact, I'm definitely leaving it just the way it is.  You can click the image for a larger view, but according to the label this stored Wilcox & Gibbs sewing needles.

I don't count "sewing enthusiast" among my many hobbies, but in researching it Wilcox & Gibbs seemed to be the big names in the business (along with Singer) in the very early days after the sewing machine was invented.  The Wilcox & Gibbs company produced machines from the late 1850s all the way through the 1940s.  I don't know how old this particular chest/cabinet is, but it's certainly safe to say it's a lot older than I am.

Here's a drawer loaded up with cardboard.  As you can see, there's plenty of height when the cards are placed in vertically, but the width isn't perfect.  Slanting the cards just a bit does the trick.  I only put sleeved cards in here, and I keep one of those "pack searcher decoy" thick cardboard slabs at the front and back of each row.  When the drawers get a little empty, I drop a hockey puck right in the back.  It fits perfectly, has a good amount of weight to it, and easily slides up or down to hold whatever cards are in the drawer in place snugly.  Seems to work great, haven't had a single damaged card yet.

Here's a look at the drawer full of cards from above.  I sound like an old crank saying this, but this chest is from an era where they just plain made better quality stuff.  There's not a piece of metal or a screw anywhere on this thing, just good old fashioned workmanship and jointed wood.  No particle board either!

In the top two drawers, I keep cards from COMC.  In the bottom two, cards from the quarter box at the local hobby shop.  Anytime I get back from the shop, or the few times a year when a COMC package arrives, I shuffle up the contents and drop them all randomly into their appropriate drawers.

Whenever I'm pressed for time, or looking for something a little more unpredictable and exciting, I pull open a drawer and select a couple of cards at random.  They may have been placed in there just weeks before, or maybe many months, and it won't be long before I can say years.  Usually I've forgotten I even had the cards I end up pulling, so it's almost got that "grab bag" element, except that I know they'll all be cards I hand selected and obviously like.  My "Quarter Box Quartet" posts all come about in this manner, and for times when I've got just a couple of minutes for the blog the COMC drawers make for great One Card Posts.

Here's the corner now.  It's unbelievable how well the chest fits, it's practically the exact length and width of the table I had, and the color's not too far off either.  I couldn't be happier with how this turned out.  It's not saying much but this is far and away the best $75 I ever spent on a piece of furniture.

As a working example of the card chest in action, I went ahead and grabbed a single card from the left COMC drawer for the conclusion of this post.  It ended up being a damn good one too:

This is one I definitely did not forget purchasing.  It's one of the only times I ever spent more than $10 on a single card on COMC (though just barely).

Anyway, that's a wrap.  That old sewing chest, combined with a little bit of patience, should provide me with a lot of entertainment for years to come.  There are hundreds if not thousands of cards stocked up in there at this point, I could stop filling it today (more on that soon) and still have enough content to blog for years.

How about you?  Are you storing any of your cards in something that was never designed for that purpose?  If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments...

11 comments:

Tony L. said...

No, everything I store cards in was meant to house cards -- at least for now. Soon, I may be expanding into a "Christmas Storage Box."

That chest you got, though, is awesome simply as a piece of furniture!

JediJeff said...

Look at Eli being a good boy!!!!

That is a sweet looking sewing chest and good repurposing. I have a tall drawered cabinet from my mom's house that would work with cards. That was the plan, and I really need to make it happen. I should Pocket this post to keep me motivated.

JayP said...

I've always wondered if there was some large, fancy card storage product out there for collectors. What you came up with is awesome!

Angus said...

I really need to find some storage method. Yours is really cool!

shlabotnikreport said...

That's a nice cabinet! My guess had been a card catalog from a library... Which I kind of miss, now that I think about it.

The closest I've come to having an unconventional way of storing cards when I was a kid I vacated one of my dresser drawers of troublesome bits of clothing so that I could keep stacks of cards in that drawer, one stack for each team.

Nick said...

"Behind the Scenes" posts are often among my favorites to read. Can't say I've ever seen a card chest before, very cool! Hope to see more of these posts on your blog.

Mark Hoyle said...

Love the pieces of furniture. As a contractor/cabinet maker it is indeed fine craftsmanship. I'm still working on ideas for my card storage. My room also houses my music collection.. The music collection has custom shelving. That cabinet gives me some ides. Thanks

GCA said...

The bulk of my boxed sets are stored in two china cabinets. There are cabinet doors on the bottom that enclose a space divided by a shelf. That's where my bigger boxes are. The top half is cabinets with glass in the doors so you can see inside. I put smaller and more colorful stuff up there (traded sets and smaller sets I'm still working on.) And in the middle, there is an open space for one row of binders, and two drawers - one is a double that I generally use for storage supplies, and another that has built-in dividers for silverware that are just the right width for toploaders. This makes a really nice way to store four rows of gamers, autos, and other toploadered series.
I got the first cabinet when my grandmother moved. I then got the matching unit when she downsized some more. One is dedicated to baseball, and the other to football and hockey.

Adam said...

That's a great use of old furniture. I think you've officially motivated me to figure out some sort of organization for my cards this year. Right now, all my boxes, binders, and loose misc items are shoved in the top of the closet in our spare bedroom. Not ideal, but the only place to put stuff for now.

Fuji said...

I still throw unwanted sports cards in shoe boxes that I bring to work and share with the kids. As for my own collection, I use a Harry & David pear box to store extra supplies... and when I was a kid, my mom would buy a block of cheese that came in nice cardboard boxes. I used to store my cards in there until I started working at a card shop.

Mark Kaz said...

Love the behind-the-scenes! More please!

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