Protecting Your Baseball Collectibles: Organizing Your Collection Of Baseballs

There are a lot of ways to organize, store, protect and display your baseball collection.

Who would have thought baseball items would become such collector items? Not me, but they are. People like to display their collections for others to see. But how do you organize and display your baseball collection? Try some of these organizing ideas.

You might organize them according to categories. One section might be sentimental. You know, the foul ball you caught at the playoff game. The ball your child threw at his/her first Little League pitching start. The ball your Dad passed on to you as part of the family tradition. The sentiments can be many. You get the idea.

Another category might be Major League baseballs. They could be foul balls you caught (or wrestled for). Or balls that hitters tossed to you after batting practice. Or if you are really lucky, homerun balls hit into the stands. Or if you were completely out of luck this category could also include the souvenir ball purchased at the gift shop after the game. If you tell the story well enough, who has to know it came from the shop and not a great one handed catch in the stands.

Then there are the autographed balls. These are the hallowed items of baseball memorabilia. Balls signed by professional players can be worth a lot of money. You may want to hold on to them for your own enjoyment. Or you may want to enter the world of sports memorabilia and offer your signed baseballs for sale. Their worth depends on the fame of the ballplayer. The more famous the ball player the more expensive the ball. If you are a big time fan, you might also gather autographed balls from professional minor league players either for your enjoyment or your selling.

This autographed category, if you have lots of them, could be subdivided into more categories. You know - balls signed from players on the same team, balls signed by players who play the same position, balls arranged in chronological order according to the player's era, balls signed by players who were all-stars, etc.

Some people even collect balls from different historical baseball eras. According to the era the balls have different covers, insides and even sizes. Again, this can be for your enjoyment or your business.

Now your baseballs are organized. But how do you display the balls? Or do you even want to display the balls? Some like to hold onto them, store them away, and hope they increase in value. This would be true only of the autographed and historical balls. Some like to store them away and only pull them out occasionally to view them with their kids or when friends come over for the summer barbecue.

If you do store them away take precautions. Years ago people used to shellac or varnish the balls thinking it would protect the autographs. Unfortunately it didn't. The shellac or varnish yellowed the baseball's cover and in some cases even caused the ink to blur, thus decreasing the ball's value. Stored baseballs should be individually wrapped in a nice clean (non-inked) paper or clean cotton cloth. The paper or cloth should be white to guarantee that no color might bleed off the paper or cloth onto the ball. Then the baseballs should be stored in a box to help prevent accidental damage to the baseballs. You know, like a suitcase falling off the closet shelf onto the baseballs. When you take them out of storage to look at, if you are a real fanatic, you should wear some white cotton gloves to handle the baseballs. This guarantees that your body oils won't damage the ball's cover or smear the autograph's ink. And for heaven's sake keep the barbecue's cold ice soda and the dripping mustard hotdog away from the baseballs. If you know you have a very expensive autographed baseball, and some can become very expensive, then you might want to store it in a bank's safe deposit box.

Another way to display the baseballs is to simply place them on a shelf. Again, if you are interested in their value or their sentimentality don't do anything to them that would damage the ball. And if you don't want them touched by passer-bys think of some way to protect them from their hands. How about a warning sign with some dire consequences?

Some folks build or purchase shadow boxes and display the baseballs in the boxes. This is ok, but a bit difficult; because you want to keep the baseballs as pristine as possible you don't want to glue or tape it to the shadow box's inner vertical wall. But if you don't use some adhesive, when you hang the shadow box on the wall all the baseballs will fall to the bottom of the shadow box. Shadow boxes only work well when they can be placed on a horizontal surface.

Finally, the most popular of displays these days is the clear plastic ball container. It is in a global shape. The globe sits on a stand. And the baseball fits inside the globe. The globe is split in half for easy removal and return of the globe's top half. Removal of the half globe makes the baseball's insertion possible. These baseball globes can be purchased, fairly cheaply, at many big box sport stores ands certainly at almost any sports memorabilia store.

Oh yes, no matter how you store your baseballs, keep them out of direct sunlight. The sun, over time, will yellow the cover and fade the autograph.

Now that you have organized your baseball collection you probably have some new space for some more baseballs. So get out there to your favorite baseball park and grab a few more for your collection.

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