HOW TO STORE
AND PROTECT YOUR
you build up your comic book collection or maybe youíve
been collecting for years, one of the things that gets
overlooked is ensuring your collection stays in the same
shape you originally purchased them in.
Protecting your collection may not have been a priority
initially, but it should be a very important part in your
collecting habits as you continue to grow your collection.
books are made of paper which is susceptible to a different
set of elements and factors.
The first enemy is sunlight. Natural sunlight can affect
comic books forever. The rays can age comics and can cause
permanent fading and discoloring to your books. Covers that
once had brilliant shine and luster can become dull and
lighter than its original look. Paper brittleness can
result from long-term exposure to sunlight.
Paper brittleness is also a result from exposure to heat.
Heat can age comic books. Not just heat from the sun, but
heat in general from a non-ventilated room or having the
issues in close proximity to heating devices.
Pollutants in the air can affect and age comic pages and are
Dampness from cold and dank places can affect comics as
Iíve seen and held many comic books in my experience that
you can easily tell by the storage. The owners had not
taken the time to provide a good area in their home for
their collection and kept them in a damp attic or basement
leaving the comics to have that musty smell and other
noticeable signs on the covers and on the pages.
Water is an obvious destroyer of comic books as too often
Iíve seen other sellersí issues that came in contact with
water at some point in the issuesí lives. Over a few years
the damages start to show on the cover or pages where the
water made its mark. Wrinkling becomes evident and with the
contributing factors of sunlight and heat, water damage can
actually quicken the process for destruction to any comic.
Stains from other liquids like beverages or coffee or
cigarettes or glues and even moisture in the air can inflict
its toll on comics.
You would think with all of this around in our world how
would comics survive all of these years and stay in as
closed to original shape as possible.
There are obviously things that we collectors can do and
purchase to ensure that the aging process is slowed down
dramatically so our valued treasures will not come in harms
first thing we can do when handling our comics is to ensure
our hands and fingers are clean. By doing this simple step,
we prevent the covers and bottom edges from getting trace
dirt and soiling.
Iíve seen way too many issues where there are heavy
fingerprints on the comics and had the owners taken a small
precaution, the issues would not have accumulated those
Handling your comic with utmost care is very important and
the less often you handle your books the better. The oils
on our fingers may not show in the next 10 years, but
eventually they will. If you limit the amount of time you
actually hold your comic in your hands and when you do hold
them in your hands, make sure the comic rests within the
palms. I still see people treating comics like itís some
kind of rag toy. Remember comics are made of paper and not
very thick paper. Handling them gently will prevent
unnecessary stress and wear on the spine and corners.
Making sure your comics are not exposed to sunlight goes a
long way in slowing down the aging process. By keeping them
out of the sun, you help prevent the possibility of tanning
on the top edges as well as the other aging discussed above.
Making sure your comics are not stored in the aforementioned
environments (dank, musty, moist and heated areas). Comics
need to be in a cool and dry area of your home and away from
heavy sources of sunlight.
You should try and press out any excess air between the
pages and covers as you store your books away in a
protective holder (more on those in the next section).
Long-term gaps of air between the pages and covers can lead
to shadowing on the borders and edges of the pages and
covers due to the pollutants in the air. Studies have shown
that comic book pages towards the middle tend to not have
this occur as typically air that was trapped in that area is
pushed out towards the borders and edges. By pressing out
any excess air throughout the book, you do your part in
helping limit this.
Keep your comics above the floor if possible by at least 18
inches to 2 feet is very helpful in case you ever encounter
any flooding. Itís not foolproof, but will be a small
safeguard that you can implement.
are many storage supplies that all collectors can acquire to
provide protection and proper storing for your books when
they are not being handled.
Back in the late 1960s an avid collector named Robert Bell
took two pieces of clear plastic and secured them on three
sides with an opening and thus was created the very first
comic book plastic bag.
Since then many manufacturers have come out with similar
designs and marketed them as comic book bags.
Some were made of different types of plastic like
polypropylene and polyethylene. These are still being made
today under different brand names which you can find at your
local comic book store as well as on the internet. You can
do a quick search for comic book plastic bags and you will
find many options.
These bags however have acidic properties in its makeup and
thus will eventually harm your comics in the long-term. I
recommend using them for approximately 1-2 years before
replacing them with another batch should you decide to be
conservative on your supplies spending.
The bags tend to yellow after housing a comic for more than
a few years and can stick to your books too.
At the advent of the plastic bag, comic book boxes came on
the scene. These were made of a thick and durable cardboard
and came in two sizes. One holds 300 comics and the other
1000 comics. There are magazine boxes that hold
between 150 to 200 comics that has more room on the inside
right of the issues that gives you more operating room to
put issues in the box and remove from.
These boxes have acidic properties and
keeping them in regular bags and in these types of boxes are
meant more for short-term storage. I recommend checking
your boxes after a couple of years to see if they are aging
and change them out if they are.
When storing your comics for extended periods of time, you
always want your comics to stand upright vertically inside a
comic book box.
You do not want your comics to lay down flat on top of one
another. These will in a few years start to curl up leaving
them in a state referred to as a ďspine rollĒ. Another
thing that happens when stacking books on top of one another
is they will invariably be uneven in the stack and thus you
will see quite a few issues out there that have an
indentation parallel to the spine that runs from the top
edge to the bottom edge of the spine. This is referred to
as stacking flaws.
There were times that even using plastic bags and a comic
book box that issues would still have defects from storage.
Some comics simply started to have a curl beginning at the
middle towards the right corner or the spines would take on
In the late 1980s comic distributors started to market
backing boards which you could slide one board right behind
the comic inside the plastic bag. The boards are made of
different types of wood materials and are usually white.
Some would also come in the brownish cardboard color.
This added support provided comics the necessary support to
stand upright within a comic book box and prevented any
stacking and corner or spine issues. It allowed almost
uniformed alignment of multiple issues in the box. If you
remove one or a few issues, you should still be
conscientious in straightening out any of the remaining
issues so the entire groups of issues are perfectly lined up
in the box.
These boards have some form of acidic properties like that
of the plastic bags and boxes and need to be checked on in a
couple of years and changed out.
There are a few manufacturers that have taken comic book
supplies very seriously and produce products that the
Library of Congress use to store some of the most important
paper documents in the world.
the best producers of comic book supplies I buy from is E.
Gerber Products, LLC. They produce acid-free products made
from Mylar. They call their holders ďArchivesĒ. This
product has been proven time and time again to be the only
safest product to store all paper documents including comic
books without the possibility of acid properties affecting
They produce acid-free boards and acid-free boxes. All of
these products can be found on their web site. These
products are more expensive than the regular plastic bags,
boards and boxes you find at your local comic book stores,
but if you have books that you truly treasure then thereís
no reason you shouldnít invest in the best products.
They provide a thinner version of the Mylar sleeves called
Mylites which is about 1 Mil thick and are a little cheaper
than the Archives. This may be an option if you have a lot
of issues say 1000 or more that you want bag up and donít
want to spend a lot of money on.
I store the majority of my comic book collection in their
products. For the less expensive items I use the typical
plastic bags, boards and boxes that are found at my local
comic book store. I change out the bags and boards every
1-2 years to ensure the plastic bags do not become yellow
and acidic to those books. I also change out the boxes once
they show signs of aging.
The books I use in the E. Gerber products I donít have to
worry about at all. I know that they are safe for a long,
I have found similar Mylar products available through my
local comic book store and Iím sure they are offered at
yours too. Just make sure that they actually say Mylar and
guaranteed to be acid-free on their packaging.
One of E. Gerberís competitors Bill Cole Enterprises is
another great source for acid-free supplies. They have their
own design for their items and are just as good. They
produce boxes and other supplies to store your CGC books.
some of their products before and highly recommend them as
You can easily compare prices between the two manufacturers
and check shipping costs to your location to see what the
overall total will be and make your decision, but I think
you'll find that either one will preserve your valuable
collection for years to come.
have a very valuable collection or a large collection that
youíve spent quite a bit of money on, it might be
advantageous for you to insure them either with your current
insurance company or an agency that deals with insuring
You obviously value your collection and donít want anything
to happen to them and having that peace of mind knowing that
your collection is protected financially makes sense.
Traditional insurance companies may be tough to deal with
since they have no idea on the value of collectible items
like comic books and trying to convince them using various
price guides may not be sufficient information that they can
with your current insurance company first to see what they
can offer you and if they donít have an applicable plan,
then there are choices you can find on the internet that
One such company has been insuring collectibles since 1966.
A simple Google search will find them for you. Just type in
collectibles insurance in the search window.