Chief Wahoo's Collecting Tips: Protection
With the baseball season behind us, I will have a bit more time to focus on the hobby and hopefully passing on some tips to help collectors make the most out of collecting sports cards. This will be a multiple segment posting trying to give tips, tricks and advice regarding some of the easily overlooked "basics" to prevent damage and protect collections.
To start this segment off, let's talk about baseball card protection. Different people have different thoughts on how to protect cards from damage. This is only one persons advice, take it how you will. But, this is just a helpful post to expand on what I've learned in my 35+ years in the hobby; both mistakes and winning strategies.
The hobby has come along way in regard to protection. The days of non-UV protectant cases, screw down holders and sticky sleeves are gone. We as collectors are afforded much better options for our collections that provide better protection and a longer lifespan.
There are three basic necessities when it comes to card protection:
Penny sleeves are a thin, minimal form of protection that helps prevent cards from scratches and in some cases, corner wear. They can be found at your local card shop, eBay, Amazon and a number of online and local retailers. (If you can support a local card shop, please do) Penny sleeves can be a great way to protect singles, complete sets or bulk lots that you may not want in individual top-loaders (discussed later). Penny sleeves are also a big recommendation to use before placing cards into top-loaders. They are also a good suggestion to use before placing high gloss cards into One-Touch holder to help prevent scratching during shipping and handling. Simply place the penny sleeve on top of the card before closing the One-Touch case, no need to insert the card into the penny sleeve. In most cases, it is suggested to use a penny sleeve along side your next layer of protection, top loaders.
A top loader is a more rigid, hard plastic form of protection that should be used in conjunction with a penny sleeve. This dual layer of protection is a great way to prevent an OOPS moment when card protection is important. Too often, collectors fumble a card in their journeys and a corner is ruined. Top loaders can help prevent such problems. Most top loaders also add an unseen level of protection by adding UV protection to the list. This helps cards keep their original color and sharpness that can be damaged by UV rays. Most have seen a sun damaged card; faded, blurry, bland. A high quality top loader can prevent a lot of those issues. The best practice is to add a card to a penny sleeve and then immediately to a top loader.
One-Touch cases are a thick, hard plastic case that comes in two pieces, and secures itself with magnets instead of the outdated screws. These cases are great for an almost flawless form of protection. Not to mention, they allow cards to stand out and showcase a bit better than traditional top loaders. As stated above, if putting a high-gloss or easily scratched surface style card (Topps Chrome etc.) a penny sleeve laid on top of the front of the card before sealing is suggested.
One very important note is to make sure you use the right size (thickness) penny sleeve, top loader or One-Touch for all of you cards. NEVER force a card into any kind of protective case or sleeve as it may increase the chances for damage. Most case brands have a guide that will help determine the thickness of your cards. Penny sleeves come in a standard an thick version for this exact reason.
Pro tip: if the card you're trying to protect is in-between a standard and thick penny sleeve, and you want to prevent corner damage, before inserting the card, take a pair of scissors and cut a small slit on each top edge, at the seam, about a quarter inch down. This will help prevent a corner from catching the penny sleeve and possibly doing damage. I have "softened" a few corners in my day by not paying enough attention to this.
I know this may be a bit long or maybe redundant for some, but I just wanted to put something out there to help those that may be new to the hobby and don't have anyone to turn to for advice. I hope this helped some in their future collecting. If there are any questions, please reach out via our social sites or email. Thank you to all who have helped our business grow over the years. Stay tuned for the next Chief Wahoo's Tips.
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