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View Full Version : Mylar sleeve vs. PSA holder for preservation


JWBlue
10-30-2014, 12:34 PM
I want to distinguish between preserving and protecting the card. The card will be put in a safety deposit box so protecting is not a huge concern. Most important is preventing the card stock from deteriorating. The card I want to preserve is from 2007.

I have read the best way to preserve something made of paper is using Mylar/polyester sleeve. The Library of Congress uses Mylar to protect paper documents.

Another option is a PSA holder. Does anyone know if a PSA holder preserve a card better than a polyester sleeve?

Does anyone have any Mylar trading card sleeves I can buy? I don't believe they are made any more.

http://www.the2buds.com/sumytrcd.htm

cardinalcollector
10-30-2014, 04:19 PM
I've been collecting since 1968 and I haven't seen a card deteriorate yet. I think a 2007 card in a penny sleeve and a plastic holder should be fine for a few lifetimes.

the 'stache
10-30-2014, 07:26 PM
The only thing I'd be concerned about is moisture. If the card is stored out of sunlight, and in a dry place, the card is not going to deteriorate, at least not in your or my lifetime.

steve B
10-30-2014, 09:56 PM
Mylar is the best plastic sleeve out there. Dupont isn't using the Mylar name anymore if I recall it right, as they have a "new" version of polyester that's supposedly better.

Some cardboard can deteriorate a bit, but the process is pretty slow in most cases. Light, heat and being too dry or too moist are the big culprits in deterioration of anything. All that can be hard to manage, excessive cycling of heat is probably worse than a consistently high heat.

I used to have concerns about cards in slabs. And still have some slight concern. As the wood fibers break down which happens with time, one byproduct is acid. (Varying types and degrees depending on the wood pulp content and exact chemistry. ) Newsprint is a great example of a paper that degrades somewhat rapidly. In a confined space with little ventilation that acid can remain, and accelerate the degradation.

Some cards will be fine for a long time, many T and E cards are on stock that I believe doesn't have much if any wood pulp, so it's not particularly acidic. And most modern cards since the change to white cardstock, right from the restart in 81 for most companies or whenever they started, and 93 for Topps are probably not acidic if not acid free.

On the good side, there are cards that I'd consider the most vulnerable that have been slabbed for a long enough time now to get a feel for whether it's ok or not. And they seem fine.

I'd check with an archival supply place to see if the Mylar sleeves are available. They should be, as they're made in a lot of sizes for the archival market. Polypropylene is nearly as good, not quite as clear, and flexible rather than slightly stiff. But usually about half the price.

One caution. Putting Mylar sleeves into toploaders while very effective is challenging if you want the card out after a few years. a couple of mine I had to cut the toploader to get the sleeve out. The mylar is smooth enough that over time pressure forces the air out from in between them and then they're stuck. The force sticking them is around 130Lbs. They'll slide eventually, but it's like trying to pull a sleeved card out from under someone's foot.

Steve B

the 'stache
11-01-2014, 12:10 AM
I'd check with an archival supply place to see if the Mylar sleeves are available. They should be, as they're made in a lot of sizes for the archival market. Polypropylene is nearly as good, not quite as clear, and flexible rather than slightly stiff. But usually about half the price.


Here you go. You want the sleeves listed as polyester (mylar) on this page:

https://www.bagsunlimited.com/c-540-single-card-sleeves.aspx

From the catalog I received with my last order (#38), here are the codes:

SNCDPET 2 3/4 x 3 3/4" 100 @ $23.00 current regular sized cards
S1950PET 2 7/8 x 4" 100 @ $26.00 1952-1956 Topps
STCDPET 2 5/8 x 4 7/8" 100 @ $24.00 GameDay, Fleer Extra Bases, Topps Tall Boys

I am a pretty big fan of Bags Unlimited. They were recommended to me as a solution for my graded T202 cards. Code STT25 4 3/8 x 10". They work perfectly. They will send you their current catalog with your order. Highly recommended.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

Bill

the 'stache
11-01-2014, 12:13 AM
They have a wide collection of mylar supplies, including mylar tape. If they don't have what you are looking for, they can make custom items so long as you meet a minimum purchase.

https://www.bagsunlimited.com/c-306-polyester-mylar-backings.aspx

Volod
11-01-2014, 08:15 PM
Thanks for another great post, Steve - interesting info. I am wondering about:

"Newsprint is a great example of a paper that degrades somewhat rapidly. In a confined space with little ventilation that acid can remain, and accelerate the degradation."

Since comicbook pages are probably similar to newsprint, would the acidic degradation factor not argue for forgoing sleeves altogether in the case of books? That is, apart from protecting the covers, squeezing the interior pages tightly would seem to accelerate the process to some extent. I have always inserted the recommended nonacidic buffer board in my own comic sleeves, but can't see how it would protect all the pages, instead of just the two it is between. Any thoughts on that?

steve B
11-01-2014, 10:20 PM
As I understand it, the comic grading companies put buffer paper in between the pages and may even recommend reslabbing periodically to replace the buffer paper. Whether the paper will degrade is a real puzzler. I have a couple 1906 newspapers that almost can't be handled because they've become brown and brittle. I have bound newspapers from the 20's that are browning around the edges, but are pretty much ok inside. I believe air and light may have a lot to do with it. Other stuff Like old SCDs are doing fine stacked in paper bags in the garage.

There are also different grades of newsprint. Some old comics I have are on paper that's maybe a bit above standard newsprint.

And of course really old newspapers like those from the 1860's and earlier are often on paper with a high rag content and are actually almost acid free.

Someday I want to test a few pieces by placing them under different conditions. I just don't have the time right now.

Film stock is related, being largely cellulose, and cellulose triacetate will break down and release acetic acid (Vinegar) Outside of serious archives, the process isn't well understood. My friend who collects films has noticed that metal cans are worse than plastic, and that it appears as if some of the cleaning processes contribute to it. But it's still variable. Some stuff stored poorly will be just fine, some stuff stored fairly well will be ruined.

Even the old nitrate film is a tossup (cellulose nitrate , so still related) There was a batch found in texas that had just been shoved into the back of a closet in a house with no AC and the films were in amazing condition. Yet professional archives note serious degradation regularly.

I'd say that getting as close to what the LOC recommends as is reasonable will have the best chance of a good outcome. Not all of us can keep our hobby storage at 40F and 40% humidity and hardly ever handle the items. (Might be slightly different for paper. )
My other hobbies are far worse because there's a mix of materials, some of them with very little track record of archival storage. Aluminum, with Kevlar epoxied to it and in places epoxied to steel, then add rubber and silk tires, and a plastic and leather seat, and paint and stickers.......plus probably a few bits I've forgotten.

Steve B




Thanks for another great post, Steve - interesting info. I am wondering about:

"Newsprint is a great example of a paper that degrades somewhat rapidly. In a confined space with little ventilation that acid can remain, and accelerate the degradation."

Since comicbook pages are probably similar to newsprint, would the acidic degradation factor not argue for forgoing sleeves altogether in the case of books? That is, apart from protecting the covers, squeezing the interior pages tightly would seem to accelerate the process to some extent. I have always inserted the recommended nonacidic buffer board in my own comic sleeves, but can't see how it would protect all the pages, instead of just the two it is between. Any thoughts on that?

JWBlue
11-02-2014, 01:48 AM
Here you go. You want the sleeves listed as polyester (mylar) on this page:

https://www.bagsunlimited.com/c-540-single-card-sleeves.aspx

From the catalog I received with my last order (#38), here are the codes:

SNCDPET 2 3/4 x 3 3/4" 100 @ $23.00 current regular sized cards
S1950PET 2 7/8 x 4" 100 @ $26.00 1952-1956 Topps
STCDPET 2 5/8 x 4 7/8" 100 @ $24.00 GameDay, Fleer Extra Bases, Topps Tall Boys

I am a pretty big fan of Bags Unlimited. They were recommended to me as a solution for my graded T202 cards. Code STT25 4 3/8 x 10". They work perfectly. They will send you their current catalog with your order. Highly recommended.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

Bill

Thank you.

the 'stache
11-04-2014, 04:25 PM
Thank you.

Welcome :)

jchcollins
02-06-2017, 12:57 PM
Is it safe to assume that cards in my collection are going to be "okay" in polypropylene sleeves and top loaders or Card Savers for at least the rest of my lifetime? I've read this thread and others including the SCD article on HOF preservation with Mylar with intrigue and interest, but I'm not exactly keen on going out and spending 4x the cost or more of regular stuff for Mylar.

I have some nice older cards, but no T-206 Wagner or '52 #311 or anything like that to where I would actually be that concerned that they are one day passed to my children's grandchildren intact. I do like that idea of "museum quality" preservation, but think that may be taking it a bit far.

Wouldn't even changing toploaders and penny sleeves out every 20 years or so be better than nothing?

Thanks,
-John

steve B
02-07-2017, 11:44 AM
That's probably fine. In most cases more than fine.

Baring fire, flood, tornadoes, small children etc what's truly archival and what's reasonable for most people have gotten a lot closer since the 80's.

We know now that tight screwdowns might cause damage, PVC pages do damage even more often.

The currently available stuff while it wouldn't be ok at LOC should be ok for a long time. My one T3 is still in a homemade screwdown from 1978 and hasn't gotten any worse. Not that it could get much worse, but there's been no change. I must admit I still have a handful of cards in the old PVC sheets and even those are ok. I just haven't gotten to transferring them into sleeves and boxes.


Steve B

Volod
02-07-2017, 01:38 PM
When I entered my second childhood back in the '80's, I put all my cards in mylar sleeves because they were relatively inexpensive - around ten bucks per K . Unfortunately, I stored many cards upright in boxes and noticed after a few years that they were bending noticeably from the effect of gravity. So, I have to agree that, while polyester sleeves may be more attractive, the best long-term storage method is a rigid or semi-rigid sleeve. If we're considering no more than a few prized cards, however, which can lay flat, this firm has many reasonably priced sizes of polyester sleeves: