I've mentioned my unique checklist book briefly in previous posts, but have never really elaborated on it. This series of books by Frank Slocum is truly a must-have for any vintage baseball card collector. Having been a collector for over 28 years, I only recently discovered these books just a few years ago at a used book store near the Potomac Mills mall outside of D.C. called 2nd & Charles. For less than $10, I acquired one of the best baseball card checklists I will probably ever find.
This particular book is called, 'Topps Baseball Cards: The Complete Picture Collection (A 35 Year History, 1951-1985)', or something like that. It's a long title for a big book. There are quite a few versions of this book. I also have the 'Classic Baseball Cards, The Golden Years 1886-1956', which covers all of the Bowman and other pre-Topps cards. There is also a 40 year history book covering 1951-1990, a 1960's specific book, and a 1950's specific book.
For vintage set builders just getting started, what can become most overwhelming is the significant cost of compiling a good number of these great cards. It requires a lot of patience, or you'll end up either overspending, or just giving up. This book serves as a type of pacifier--allowing you to view all of the cards in numerical order from some of the greatest collections of all-time while you try to collect them.
I'm sure many people treat these books as collectibles themselves, but as you can see below, I've used it as a checklist. I mark all the cards I've acquired to include the price paid. The book has become torn and taped from extended usage. It's truly become a valuable resource. Below, I've also included pages from the 1962 Topps set, which is nearing completion for me. It represents a significant achievement, being my favorite vintage set of all-time. As of today, I'm only missing 33 of the 598 total cards in the set.
These days, the Fifties and Sixties-specific books would probably be more suitable to my collecting needs, but at the time of purchase, I was still working on the sets of the early '70s. I certainly don't look at the pages from the cards of the 1980's, and would tear them out if I could. What this book also allows you to do is feel free to put your sets in an order that suits you knowing that you can always view it in numerical order here. I don't think you truly get the full value out of a set if you leave it in numerical order. The only thing that's good for is resell. Try to find an order that works better for you besides numerical order.