What are the best ways to preserve a comic book collection?
This blog will focus in on your comic book collection. Your collection and how to maintain its condition. As is every single thing ever written in this blog and or the InvestComics.com website, it’s opinion based. Nothing is factual. Unless of course it’s noted.
Every hobby has their way of protecting their valuables. A car collector has a car cover and stamp collectors have special tools to handle their valuable assets. Each making sense in the protection of their items. Some in protect their couches with a plastic covering. Deeming their furniture as a valuable asset. The plastic couch coverings might be a thing from the old days in Brooklyn, not even sure older people even do this anymore. Yes, it definitely IS and WAS an “older persons” thing to do. Anyone remember coming in from outside during the summertime and sitting on one of those plastic covered couches? Wasn’t that the weirdest thing sticking to that thing? Okay, going off course here! So where were we? Oh yes, protecting one’s collection.
Comic books are no stranger to having been destroyed or altered in a bad way due to certain conditions or poor maintenance. Over the years as technology has progressed, so have the actually psychical ways of maintaining the comic collection you have amassed. Common sense rolled in as well regarding the actual temperature and conditions of….paper. Paper gets old. Paper does not like certain conditions and it will let you know it….quick. Contrary to certain beliefs, if left unintended, paper will be very mad and turn on you, literally.
Much of collecting comics is common sense too. Leaving a comic book underneath your bed on the floor or on your shelf will obviously damage in no time. The comic will inform you of it’s unhappiness by curling at the spine. Then later on start to turn that unwanted yellow color too. So we all know this, right? So some may throw the comics into a individual plastic comic bag and still leave it on their desk or their closet shelf. Another obvious no-no. The comic will curl at the spine still and the bag will yellow if not the correct type. So not only will your comic be mad at you, so will that cheap plastic bag.
Here’s the thing, all kidding aside. A collector will have to realize that their comics need to be in the right setting to preserve them. A regular maintenance will also have to be in order. Throwing a comic in a plastic bag with a backboard in a comic box and leaving it for a year without touching it is not recommended. Several things going on here. First off, if you are going to cut corners and buy the cheaper brand of plastics or a cheaper brand backboard or comic box, you get what you pay for. Yes you will achieve a first step in maintenance, but the maintenance will be more-so because of the “cutting the corner” a bit to save money. Nothing wrong with saving money if you simply do not have it, but be prepared to change out bags, boards and boxes a bit more than you’d like. The natural progress of plastic and paper deteriorating is inevitable.
Yes, the right temp and conditions count here, but the progression happens. Bags Unlimited is the place to get your supplies, let’s understand this. Their prices and products are stellar. Not just saying this because of a written blog here, stating this because of the reputation Bags Unlimited withholds. Their customer service is top notch as well. A collector of any hobby need not to look any further but Bags Unlimited for their supply and protection needs. Seriously. That being said, their acid free comic bags and backboards is a “must” place to begin if you value your comic collection. The same goes for the comic boxes. Buying acid free gives a collector a bit of piece of mind knowing their comics are locked away within a safe haven. Must stress here though, as a hobbyist, you cannot become complacent. Do not think your comics do not need the care to be maintained regardless of anything you buy. You must maintain. Bags Unlimited always provides top notch products, you must provide top notch care. It’s as simple as that.
Each Compact Comic SafeSpace® Bag pack comes with supplies to store TWO comic boxes and the appropriate number of desiccants, relative humidity cards, and oxygen scavengers.
Many comic collectors always run into an issue of running out of space. Buying lots of comics, this can happen. Some may walk down to their basement or up to their attic and began the life of their comic books there. Very bad idea for obvious reasons.
The basement may get flooded or if the temperature is not maintained, the condensation will kill every single comic book you own. Even if you have an elaborate basement, try to not store your comics there. A simple water main break occurs and it’s over. I actually know collectors this has happened to. Everything destroyed. Never think it cannot happen to you.
The attic is also a haven of all sorts of atrocities. Termites being one, heat, humidity, dampness and the list goes on. Again, if your attic is temperature controlled, all well and good, but what if a storm rolls in and creates a leak you’re not aware of?
Here’s the bottom line, keep your comic collection in the middle of your home (even if you have a ranch style home) and in a controlled environment. Storing your comics near an opening of a back door or front door invites possible water, insects or rodents to get at your paper home. If you’re living in an apartment with your collecting nearer to a front door, thieves will get that booty first. Bye-Bye comic books.
Gauging the temp, maintaining the integrity of a floor, ceiling or a wall are extremely important in where you are settling for your comics to call home for a little while. This is until you need to think about other avenues of storing when the collection becomes too large. Enter your local storage facility….
Storage facilities come in all shapes and sizes. They also come with or without filth and bugs. As with anything in retail or life itself, you get what you pay for. When you’re in the market for a storage facility, you will in fact find cheaper units to rent than others. There are several mitigating factors for the price differences. The area you store in factors in crime rate as a reason to be a bit cheaper than another area. Know this. Do your research. It’s cheaper for a reason. Another reason is the maintenance of the facility. Take a look at the storage unit hallways as you are brought to your possible rental unit. If you notice bugs, droppings, dust bunnies, soda stains, etc., it’s probably best to come to the conclusion this is not the place for you. Nine out of ten times the climate control area will cease to work. You get what you pay for. Climate control NEEDS to work all the time. It cannot go down for a week here or there, it’s simply not conducive with the proper maintenance you will need for your collection. When it comes to a rental storage place, it’s best to spend a little extra per month to ensure the safety and the condition of your comics. You get what you pay for.
When storing your comics in an acid free comic box, be sure to have them in the box in a snug state. Never overstuff a comic box or not put enough. Doing either or will damage your comics. Being able to stick your pointer finger in the middle of your full comic box without losing blood flow to your finger is the way it should be. If a forcible fight with two comic books prevents you from getting a finger in there, it’s too tight, need to loosen the reigns a bit. Let those comic books breathe a bit.
This Comic Box Scored Panel Box Spacer is made from 200-lb-test white-two-sides B-flute corrugated cardboard. Our new design safely keeps equal pressure across the entire comic. Fold on scores as box fills up. Sheet : 22-5/8 x 8″ Front Panel : 7-5/8 x 8″ Scores : 1-1/2, 3, 4-1/2. 6.
If you feel compelled to read one of your key books, there is a way to do this without laying any fingerprints on the book. Take the comic book out of the plastic bag along with the backboard. Set the backboard aside. Take the protective plastic bag and cup it in your hand, making a “U” shape. Place the comic within the U shape and after 2 minutes of holding your comic you will feel the wetness of the sweat and oil from your hand that would probably end up on the comic, but isn’t. Thank goodness for that!
While some methods and some advice was offered in this blog, I would love to hear what you can add to this. What are your methods? Do you have advice to offer to fellow collectors? Please weigh in so that we can all get educated on this topic. Shine a new light on something I can use myself too.
Until next time. Stay real, stay true and be good to one another.
Jay Katz, a comic book collector since 1983, is the owner/creator of InvestComics LLC since 2005. InvestComics LLC was originally a magazine before the website launched in 2005.
InvestComics LLC is the number one speculative/entertainment comic book source on the internet. Their motto is: Invest wisely. Read comics.
Follow InvestComics LLC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and many other media outlets. Find us, we’d love to hear from you!
Be sure to visit www.investcomics.com for new content all the time.