- 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 usually
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
- - 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 example:
- - 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. And those are normally organized
by lodge #.
- - 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,
while S&L's and Credit Unions form another.