Storing and Archiving Baseball Cards
While most baseball cards are collected for the enjoyment of the collector some cards can appreciate in value over time. This makes storage an issue for the collector. In the past a shoe box was the accepted method to store a collection. In recent years the emphasis on card condition has become more prominent and variances in value seems to have reflected that emphasis in prices. Keeping your cards as perfect as they were when you carefully pulled them from the original packs may be the goal. In that case a shoe box will not do. Cards can shift and rub each other causing wear and chips and other types of damage.
There are many options available for storing card collections each has merits but which one to choose will depend on the collectors goal. If you have thousands of common cards it would be expensive to archive each one individually. In a case like this a monster box designed to hold thousands of cards may do just fine. You can purchase boxes like this in a hobby shop or online.
The Monster Box
These boxes are designed to keep cards from moving around damaging edges and corners. They provide nice rows and dividers can be added for further organization.
For collections that are intended to be viewed more often the most popular and practical storage is in pocket pages that can be placed in 3 ring binders. These provide nice organization with full and easy viewing of the cards front and back. Great option for the collector that enjoys viewing and showing off his collection.
For the collector that is looking for more protection for individual cards the addition of penny sleeves can provide some additional protection. These soft plastic sleeves fit to cover individual cards protect the surface while the cards are being handled. Sleeving each card will keep them from directly rubbing against one another while in storage.
Another step in protection after sleeving is use of a top loader. These are rigid plastic holders that fit single cards.
The top loader and sleeve combination provide adequate short term protection as long as cards are carefully placed in the sleeves and top loaders. Yes, edges and corners on cards can be caught and chipped or dented while being placed in these protectors. For long term storage cards can still move around in these holders and may cause wear over time.
Rigid PVC holders that have screws allowing you to pressure seal the cards in very thick plastic holders are also used by many collectors. They are much more expensive than top loaders but provide more protection.
Screw Down Holders
One noted problem that can occur with these types of screw down holders is that if too much pressure is used in the screw down the card may be pinched and the surface may stick to the holder over time. The card may not be able to be removed without lifting off some the surface. As you can imagine this would ruin the card.
Some collectors believe the best storage methods for valuable cards is using a semi rigid PVC holder. These holders allow for easy addition and removal because they can pinched open. They grip the card so that it will not move around and become damaged in the holder. Some grading companies highly recommend these types of holders for submissions and will only guarantee cards that arrive in these holders from damage when they are removed for the grading process.
Semi Rigid Holders
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