I am clearly in a hobby that I cannot afford. At one time I thought spending three dollars on a back issue was expensive, and I had trouble parting with twenty dollars for my Sandman #1. I was not a fan of bagging and boarding when I was younger, which can be ascertained by the grade my New Mutants #15 received (a 4.5 from CGC) CGC grading was not even a thought, let along PGX. These two companies will not only grade your comic books but they will also encapsulate the book for future protection. Let’s pretend for a second that you are a server making $2.83 an hour plus tips (why oh why can’t I pretend to this), which are not only based on performance, but on the generosity of others, and you want to make sure your books are still protected to the best possible means. I use CGC to grade and preserve the highlights of my collection, but to grade every book would be a sign of either madness or a load of extra funds.
What do you do when you buy new books every week and you want to protect them better than the cheap poly bags and backing boards most comic shops sell individually? These shops usually sell a bag and board combo for between $.15 and $.25. Some comic book shops don’t charge you at all. I pay $.17.
Sometimes this isn’t enough to protect your books. Every year at Wizard world Philadelphia I stock up on both bags and boards, normally in the quantity of one hundred. I prefer to use E. Gerber Products, which I will refer to as EGP for the rest of the article. I have a four item system. This consists of the comic book being placed into a Mylar bag. I cut the flaps off because these two items along with the backing board are then placed into a Mylite bag. This bag is then folded shut and taped with two pieces of tape. The flaps must be cut off for the Mylar bag to fit properly into the Mylite bag so it can be taped shut.
EGP sells Archives made from 4 mm thick Mylar. I’ve called them bags in the past but I think a sleeve would be a better term, which is also what EGP calls them. I only place the comic book inside the sleeve for fear of the backing board eventually causing damage to the book. This helps protect the comic book under normal circumstances. But what is Mylar?
Mylar is also known as Biaxially-oriented Polyethylene Terephthalate (BoPET) which is a polyester film made from the stretched Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). I looked at what else this plastic is used for the purposes of this article, I will concentrate on that the comic book industry uses it for. It is used for its high tensile strength, chemical stability, and transparency, at least for comic book purposes. Oh yeah, and it gives off zero gas, so no yellowing paper. In other words, it is the best protection currently available apart from third party grading companies.
We are talking about comic books, which are not only slightly flammable, but also susceptible to moisture and mildew. For five years before my purge I had my comic books in storage. I chose the second floor in case of flood, and I don’t even live in a flood-prone area. The main issue I was worried by was the humidity, so I paid the extra per-month for a climate controlled storage unit. Humidity still worries me.
I don’t have the storage space anymore, and I don’t have the financial ability to keep my apartment the same temperature everyday of the year. I have 95 percent of my non-CGC graded collection bagged and boarded, but is this enough? I am slowly transferring all my books into Mylar bags, since one of the things that this plastic helps protect against is humidity. It also protects against oils, greases, mold, mildew, oxygen decomposition and acid migration. Those are just some of the things it protects against that I feel are important with comic books.
If I had the money, I might grade all my books up to a certain year. Currently I only plan on having my New Mutants and Sandman series graded by CGC. All my other books will be protected in the matter I described above. This year I won’t be buying at the convention, although I have a price list and as long as it doesn’t change I plan on ordering a 3000 piece order. Such an would contain 1000 Mylar sleeves, 1000 Mylite 2 bags, and 1000 fullback boards.
This breaks down to $.60 a combo, which is a great bargain since I remember paying $.55 a Mylar bag when I was just a teen. Of course if I had to pay shipping and handling, the full cost would be $.70 apiece, still a bargain. I could get it slightly cheaper if I chose to get halfbacks and Mylite bags. This would bring the total to $.65 apiece. I can’t help but wonder how much cheaper it would be to care for my collection today if I had put more thought into it when I was younger.
Would I even care about CGC if I had been more invested in protecting my collection? In all honesty, whatever ego I have would probably feel that I took care of my books better than their slabs could. With Wizard World arriving very soon, I am bringing 10 books with me. Three were already purchased as a 9.8, but I am bringing them for signatures, the other seven I graded myself and I am very curious as to what they will grade. I never bought my comic books for an investment. I bought them to read and enjoy and only recent in my comic collecting have I decided to really take care of them, as well as to collect the best I possibly good.
Bags and Boards might add up in price, but let’s face it, my New Mutants 15 was a 4.5 and my New Mutants #54, which was my favorite cover at the time, was placed into a Mylar bag and graded a 9.6. This showed at least that I can take care of my books. Let me know what you do, how do you protect you comic books. Are they in bags, boards, and boxes….. or your sock drawer.
So why encapsulate when it can severely deplete your funds. One word, because it’s fun.
Thanks for Reading