My Name/Number Collection Dilemna


I have been collecting OA since I first got into the order back in 1986. Like most I started with my home lodge and then eventually branched out to my state. In college I took on collecting my entire OA section which currently covers the 11 lodges of SR-5. As for collecting OA issues from every lodge in your typical name/number set I got interested in that pursuit in 1997 while visiting the Jamboree. With a stack of pretty Muscogee 221 55th Anniversary flaps I walked the patch trading trail for one day and crossed flaps off the reference book that I had with me. This was the flap guide that TSAP (Roy More) put out prior to the pocket Blue Books. I decided to start with lodges 1-100 because I think I had read this in another collectors guide as being a common starting place for those pursuing a name/number collection. Being nieve I didn’t realize that for some of those early lodge #s there are as many as three different lodges that have laid claim to the lodge number over the years. While walking around for a one-day trading binge at the Jamboree this wasn’t a big concern but later I began to realize that filling in 1-100 was going to be a chore!

So over the years I stuck with this idea – slowly mostly – filling in needs when I got interested in the collection or had some extra cash to pursue it. At some point I made a decision to change the focus of the collection towards pre-fdl, Swiss embroidered flaps – preferably S1 issues. One of my favorite flaps is a classic old S2 from my home lodge, Santee 116. This is the flap my lodge used from the mid-1960s to late 1970s. Something like holding onto your first sweetheart – I had always been in love with the classic old flaps that had the raised embroidery and clean cloth backs. So I began reshuffling my collection and spinning off the issues that were not going to fit my new requirements.


As the years went by my collection grew but I was presented with another challenge – how to display it. I have always been a “notebook” guy if there is such a think in the hobby. I prefer using a 3-ring binder, card stock, and a little bit of masking tape to mount and store my lodge specific collections. However, the problem with collecting names/numbers is that I have so many holes and gaps in the collection that any effort at mounting them into a notebook would become impossible to maintain. Every time I picked up a new need I would have to reshuffle the pages or worse – set the new finds in a pile until the stack got big enough to warrant a reorganization.


Another problem I tried to face was what was the best way to organize the collection. Any collector who has listened to the recent debate about numerical versus alphabetic lodge listings will know what I’m talking about. For me the dilemma was I wanted the patches to be displayed nicely so they told a story. This meant with all the mergers and superseded issues how could I display them where it all made sense. There are plenty of examples in the lower lodge #s where a “dead” number was picked up by a new lodge on the other side of the country and taken for its own. While that’s not a tragic injustice I wasn’t thrilled about having two lodge flaps sitting next to each other that had nothing in common except the poached #. So I decided to go a different route and organize my collection by the old regions that the BSA had prior to 1972. You still hear people talk about “region collectors” and so it made sense to put together my collection according to states/geographic areas rather than the numbers which already were becoming meaningless for new lodges. Being a little bit of a nut about organizing things with spreadsheets I crafted one that sorted out the lodges by states and then grouped the states by regions. I worked on this perhaps five years ago and have let it languish a little. While going against the current in the hobby wasn’t easy (little reference material to work with) I got a basic list done. I’ll attempt to post these lists as an attachment to this blog post. In the next installment I’ll pick up the story and reveal the novel way to historically display my patches that I’ve come up with.




one last book to complete the EBL boy scout series looking for White Fang by Jack London crica 1933?

By fred manss on February 22nd, 2015 at 10:22 pm

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