- In any hobby where you're dealing
with thousands of items, organization is a necessity of the first
order. Eventually, you're going to want to find that one cover,
check to see if you already have that cover, etc. Thus, your
covers need to be organized in some efficient way in order to
facilitate you working with them over and over again. Since they're
your covers, you can certainly organize them in any way, shape,
or form you wish, but most collectors over the years have gone
with the following:
- Generally, alphabetizing within
your various collections is the way organizing is generally handled.
So, for example, if you have a collection of covers from your
hometown, you'd probably want to simply house them alphabetically
by the business name. If you have a series of covers from the
same business, I always like to arrange them from oldest to newest.
This not only enables you to view the covers chronologically,
but also lets you see how the business evolved. A particular
bank, for instance, may show 3 locations early on, 6 locations
a few years later, and 9 most currently.
- Still, there are many instances
where, owing to the exigencies of the particular collection,
simple alphabetizing is either not enough or is abandoned entirely
in favor of some other approach.
- Size of the collection is certainly
a prime factor here. If you're dealing with a collection of thousands
of covers (anywhere from several thousand to tens of thousands---Hotels,
Motels, Restaurants, Banks, etc.), the 26 divisions afforded
by the alphabet are still far too large for efficient organization.
In this type of situation, collectors normally opt for first
organizing by state, and then alphabetizing within each state.
If that doesn't go far enough, then you could organize by state,
then city, then alphabetizing.
- There are a number of categories
where alphabetizing isn't used at all or is used secondarily.
- - Categories that are collected
by catalog listing #. There are lots of categories for which
lists exist, but only a relative few that are almost exclusively
collected by catalog #. It's almost impossible to deal with Navy
Ship, Girlie, and American Ace collectors, for example, if you
don't work by the listing as they do. Thus, you'd have to have
such collections arranged that way, your want lists would be
by catalog #, and so on. That's why those categories, when offered
in the weekly auction here, are almost always identified solely
by catalog #...because I know that's the system used by collectors
in those areas.
- - A collection of Dated covers would
ordinarily have the dates as of primary importance, so they would
be organized by year, and then, perhaps, alphabetized.
- - A collection of Dated Auto could
be organized first by year, then by make...or first by make,
and then by year.
- - Match Company covers would be
arranged by manufacturer. The same would go for Manumark collections.
- - World's Fairs would usually be
arranged chronologically by year.
- - Mileage Chart collections and
Map collections would be organized by location.
- - Sports Jewelites feature teams
as the main item, so they would be sorted by team first, then
chronologically by year (most have dated schedules).
- - A collection of Sets, or Sets
& Series, would quickly grow to otherwise unmanageable numbers
if alphabetizing was the sole method of organization used. So,
here, you'd probably want to break down the collection into various
subcategories first, such as Banks, Store Sets, Gas Stations,
Chain Hotels, Girlies, etc.
- It should also be noted that some
categories are traditionally collected ( and thus housed) separately
from the larger category that they would normally fall in. For
- - Fraternals, for example, refers
to all issues from fraternal organizations. In practice, however,
the larger fraternal organizations (Elks, Moose, American Legion,
VFW, etc.) are seen as separate categories and are collected
and housed as separate collections.
- - Military is not seen to include
US Navy Ships, an entirely separate category.
- - Hotels/Motels/Restaurants are
generally not seen to include the large chains in those areas
(Holiday Inns, Sheratons, Best Westerns, etc), all of which are
collected and housed as individual collections. The same can
be said of the smaller, specialized chains, such as Dave and
Buster's, Planet Hollywood, Outback Restaurants, and so on.
- - Financial Institutions would include
Banks, Trust Co's, S&L's and Credit Unions, but, traditionally,
Banks and Trust Co's form one subcategory, which S&L's and
Credit Unions for another.