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The Proper Care Of Sports Cards
By Daniel Smith
We have all heard with heavy hearts the stories about how our great grandfather carried around a Honus Wagner Card in his back pocket until the corners wore off and his mother threw it away when she did the laundry, or how our father put a Mickey Mantle in the spokes of his bicycle wheel, just to hear it click as he sped down the street. The fact that a Honus Wagner recently sold for $600,000 makes you cringe at Great Grandpa’s carelessness and wonder just what you would have done with all that money, but in reality it should make you think about what you are doing to protect the Mickey Mantle and Honus Wagner cards of this generation.

There are certain players in any sport that command the world’s attention even before their rookie season begins. When a player of this caliber is about to begin their career in professional sports, people snap up their cards and try to keep them pristine. While this is a smart move, all sports cards should be carefully stored, because you never know what the future holds for any player. Even notoriety outside the playing field can generate interest in a player and make the value of their cards go up. Wouldn’t you hate to have your grandkids shaking their heads in disbelief because you let the Mickey Mantle of your day slip away?

Even if you don’t put your favorite sports cards in between the spokes of your bike wheels, improper storage of your cards will cause them to deteriorate over time and when cards deteriorate they go down in value. In today’s world, cards are much more than the prize you get with a stick of gum. Serious collectors consider sports cards to be an investment and it is important to protect your investment with proper storage.

Cards can be stored in one of two ways. They can be stored so that they are protected but still able to be viewed and enjoyed or they can be stored away archive style. Which way you choose to store your cards really depends on how often you are interested in looking at them and whether or not you want to take them out of their


original packaging.

While the days of throwing your cards into a cardboard box are long gone, archive boxes are modeled after the shoeboxes of yesteryear. These special boxes are made to hold specific numbers of cards, ranging from 250 to 1000. Unlike traditional shoe boxes, these cases are sectioned off into compartments that are made to each hold a specific amount of cards or card packs. Whole unopened packs of cards can easily be stored in these boxes that keep dust and light away from your cards. These boxes are usually marked with the number of cards they can hold so that one glance at the box on the shelf should tell you how many cards a full box contains. If you don’t have enough cards to fill the box, you need to pack the cards you do have tight, using the foam jam pads that wedge into the empty spaces.

Another popular way to store cards is in plastic coverings. You can buy plastic cases for each individual card or you can buy binders that hold plastic sleeves which display several cards to a page. The plastic on these specially designed holders never contains PVC’s because as polyvinalchlorides break down they produce gases that can cause your cards to deteriorate. These plastic cases are also UV protected so that the sun can’t do damage to your cards. The biggest thing that these covers protect your cards from is you. The acids on your fingers can do more damage to your cards than you realize.

It doesn’t really matter which system you choose to protect your favorite sports cards, as long as you do something to protect them. Just make sure that as you make the effort to protect your cards, you take time to enjoy them as well. Great Grandpa may not have been the best keeper of his Honus Wagner, but you can be sure he enjoyed owning it.

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This page was updated on Nov 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.

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