Taking My Hacks

Going up the Wall

Joe Orlando

Space ... the Final Obstacle. These are the voyages of the addicted hobbyist. Their ongoing mission ... to explore strange new websites, shows and dealers, to seek out new collectibles of all kinds, to boldly spend their life savings on what their wife cannot possibly understand or appreciate and, finally, to find out where the heck they're going to put all their stuff!

Yes, I know. That was a very cheesy introduction but space is a serious problem for most collectors, there's no question about it. Even if you live in a large home, no matter how much room you think you have, it never seems to be enough.

Here's an example. Recently, I had the privilege of visiting with Gary Cypres, owner of a simply amazing Los Angeles-based sports museum. Even with over 30,000 square feet at Gary's disposal, even he is running out of space and every single display was obviously planned in a thoughtful way.

So, no matter what your budget is; we all have space limitations. So, how do we cope with that fact?

The challenge differs depending on what type of items you collect. Here are just a few suggestions on how to address space issues from a collector that who shares your pain.

1) Stay within the confines of your collection theme. This is one of the hardest things to do as a collector. I have struggled with it my whole collecting life. If you don't stay disciplined, you will end up being frustrated for a number of reasons.

2) If you don't have a collecting theme, create one. Sometimes, constructing a game plan or theme is even more difficult than staying within a theme. It may take some time to come up with the right theme but it will be time well spent. Talk to collectors and dealers and gather as many ideas as you can before you decide to narrow your focus.

3) Stay away from making everything a wall display. I don't care how much wall space you think you have, the wall space will run out quicker than you think. Think of creative ways to display your collectibles. For example, some people display bats on the wall, which take up an enormous amount of space. As an option, you could buy or create free-standing bat racks that can hold up to 24 bats per rack. They are reasonably priced, look great and make tremendous use of space.

4) Think quality over quantity when it comes to displays. Since all of us have access to limited space, this is a crucial point. Some collectors are focused on quantity and that's alright but, instead of trying to hang all 20 of your Mickey Mantle signed photos in mediocre frames, find one or two that you like the best and frame them in a more ornate way, make the displays special.

These are just a few suggestions but I hope they might come in handy. Being a part of this hobby is a learning process for all of us so bouncing ideas off fellow collectors allows you to gain from their experience. We all want to enjoy the things we buy but, if we don't keep collecting under control, we will drive ourselves up the wall.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.