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  #1  
Old 12-14-2014, 11:28 PM
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Joe Gonsowski
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Default Safes - Fire Protection (Slabs?)

I have a good safe for the items I keep at home but could use a little more room (for guns etc.) and have been looking at upgrading over the last couple years. I have not yet found a good site that compares safes against one another in a consistent fashion. Liberty likes to rate their safes as a function of time at 1200F before internal temperatures hit 350F (I believe this is average internal temperature). A Liberty Lincoln, for example, can withstand 90 minutes at 1200F before internal temperature rises to 350F (absorbing 95k BTU in the process). Champion and others rate their safes at different temperatures and test procedures making it difficult to directly compare.

In trying to pick out the right safe for my collectables I'd like to better understand what internal temperatures I need to target. For example, I know the following:

Paper will begin to yellow at 150C (302F)
Paper will auto-ignite at 218-246C (424-475F)

Cardboard would be higher, not sure about thin albumen photos mounted to cardboard.

So Liberty and others who allow up to 350F internal temperature for their safe's rating allow some paper yellowing but stop well short of when the paper auto-ignites.

Now to the point of my post . . . Does anyone know what temperature our slabs can safely withstand? Will they damage our keepsakes well before hitting 350F? Is anyone aware of tests with SGC and/or PSA slabs (or NGC/PCGS for coins)?
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Joe Gonsowski
Collector of 19th century Detroit memorabilia and cards with emphasis on Goodwin & Co. issues (N172/N173/N175) and Tomlinson cabinets
Also collect N333 SF Hess Newsboys (all teams)

Latest Interest: Pre ATC Merger (1886-1890) cigarette packs and redemption coupons from all manufacturers
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2014, 11:36 PM
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Joe Gonsowski
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If good data isn't available, it would be fairly easy to run a test to better understand risks. A test plan could look something like this:
  1. Place 5 cheap/modern? slabbed cards in cardboard box in oven (boxed just as you would store in safe)
  2. Bake at 200F for one hour, pull slab and allow to cool
  3. Bake remaining four at 250F for another hour, pull slab and allow to cool
  4. Bake remaining three at 300F for another hour, pull slab and allow to cool
  5. Bake remaining two at 350F for another hour, pull slab and allow to cool
  6. Bake final card at 400F for another hour, pull slab and allow to cool
The slabs should then be inspected followed by popping the cards out and looking for any signs of damage (damage the slab imparts on card). One could also place a non-baseball cabinet cut down to the size of OJ cards along with some paper to see how the two compare at the higher temperatures. Would probably want to include a secondary temperature measuring device placed on the box that you can read during test.

Have fire extinguisher on standby and pick a day the wife is away
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Best Regards,
Joe Gonsowski
Collector of 19th century Detroit memorabilia and cards with emphasis on Goodwin & Co. issues (N172/N173/N175) and Tomlinson cabinets
Also collect N333 SF Hess Newsboys (all teams)

Latest Interest: Pre ATC Merger (1886-1890) cigarette packs and redemption coupons from all manufacturers

Last edited by Joe_G.; 12-14-2014 at 11:43 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2014, 12:58 AM
vtgmsc vtgmsc is offline
Mike P.ap
 
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Default close Joe...

Joe,

You are close but I think the real recipe is this:

#1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
#2 Grease slabs (BVG. PSA, SGC)
#3 In a medium bowl, stir slabs together until smooth.
#4 Beat them one at a time, then stir in the penny plastics and top loaders.
#5 Place slabs 2 inches apart onto the prepared tin sheets. Place top loads and penny plastics aside for later.
#6 Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow slabs to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Check for damage.

Love your recipe though but this one is a family holiday fave so just wanted to share it!

peace, mike
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2014, 01:07 AM
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Justin Burleson
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If you decide to run the tests, you should do some video documentation of the process. I would love to see it.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2014, 08:13 AM
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Daryl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburl View Post
If you decide to run the tests, you should do some video documentation of the process. I would love to see it.

+1
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2014, 08:58 AM
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Bry@n
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Have you tried contacting one of the TPGs? Different types of plastic melt at different temperatures. Given the amount of money TPGs have invested in the technology behind their holders I don't know that they would tell you the type of plastic, but they might give you an approximate melting point. From what I have read on Net54 I would start with SGC because you seem a lot more likely to get an answer from them than you do from PSA.

As you can see here:

http://machinist-materials.com/compa...r_plastics.htm

and here:

http://plastictroubleshooter.com/The...melt_temps.htm

there is a lot of variability in melt point. That said, it seems like most plastics have a melt point that is 325-350 or higher.
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2014, 09:07 AM
Texxxx Texxxx is offline
Bruce C@rter
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You can do what I did and get a 125 class media safe and not worry about it. They are expensive and you have to get one that pretty large for the space inside.
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  #8  
Old 12-15-2014, 11:35 AM
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Aaron Rothschild
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Default From experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texxxx View Post
You can do what I did and get a 125 class media safe and not worry about it. They are expensive and you have to get one that pretty large for the space inside.
The above is correct for protecting items made of plastic.

In a previous career I worked for a large safe and vault manufacturer. In order to properly protect media and items made of plastic you need a safe with a UL (Underwriters Laboratory) 125 rating.

UL 125 means the interior temperature will not rise above 125 Fahrenheit even if exterior temps reach 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This rating is the requirement for protecting digital information on magnetic media such as DLT or LTO tapes as well as CD's, DVD's and optical disks.

Temperatures inside the protected data safe or media safe must be held below 125-degrees Fahrenheit (51.7-degrees Celsius) for the time period specified, such as Class 125-2 Hour, with temperatures up to 2,000-degrees Fahrenheit (1,093.3-degrees Celsius) outside the vault.

The temperature reading is taken on six sides of the inside surfaces of the protective safe. Maintaining the temperature below 125-degrees F. is critical because data is lost above that temperature threshold, even if the media or hard drives appear to be intact.

They can be purchased online or from a local safe company. Be prepared to pay a large delivery and installation fee as these units are heavy and cumbersome.

If you live in New York City, Connetticut or New Jersey I would suggest calling Empire Safe Co.

Hope this helps.

Aaron
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  #9  
Old 12-15-2014, 10:46 PM
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Joe Gonsowski
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Nice recipe Mike

Good discussion points Bryan, Aaron, et al.

A UL 125 safe isn't an option for me given my interest to store large items (bat, rifles, imperial cabinets, etc.) at a "reasonable" cost. I may store digital media in the safe but realize that I'm at high risk if my safe is exposed to a long and intense fire. If my digital media becomes important enough I may invest in a small UL 125 safe.

The purpose of this post was really to try and understand where card slabs fall in the pecking order. If I had to care for a McGreachery OJ overnight, I want to know the risks and how to best protect it.

I do believe damage would occur to our cards within slabs before the plastic's melting point is reached. I know coin holders have wide range of melting points amongst TPGs although it may not be as important for coins since a melted slab may not damage the coin (one such story here). I would hope sports card slabs are held to a higher standard but they may not be. I did broach this subject with SGC at the National several years ago and didn't get much of a response (didn't appear they were hiding anything, but really couldn't answer my question). I suspect the ranking for most to least sensitive items in my safe would go something like this:
  • electronic data (safe at <125F, high risk of losing in house fire)
  • plastics (safe up to ???F; different results expected for various slabs, top loaders, plastic sheets, etc.)
  • paper yellowing (safe at <300F)
  • albumen print damage (safe up to ???F)
  • dry wood charring (wide range based on wood type, moisture content, length of exposure, etc. generally higher than paper yellowing)
  • paper combusting (safe at <424F)
I may run the test from post #2 and include expendable samples of items I will store to better understand what should perhaps be placed in a better safe, what should remain low in safe and what I can raise to top of safe (higher temps). This is just taking the responsibility of caring for my collectibles one step further. I'd hate to lose anything I place in the safe and a little knowledge could go a long way towards protecting everything.

If any TPG services are following this thread, I'd love to hear anything you are willing to share on this topic, either privately or publicly.
__________________
Best Regards,
Joe Gonsowski
Collector of 19th century Detroit memorabilia and cards with emphasis on Goodwin & Co. issues (N172/N173/N175) and Tomlinson cabinets
Also collect N333 SF Hess Newsboys (all teams)

Latest Interest: Pre ATC Merger (1886-1890) cigarette packs and redemption coupons from all manufacturers
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2014, 01:59 AM
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Bill Gregory
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Joe, if you were to look back through my posting history here, you'd see this was an issue I struggled with mightily. I wanted to keep my most valuable cards at home, and I found some really good, secure safes that would offer 2 hours of fire protection, and protect, too, against water. I wasn't worried about moisture, because I found a wireless, renewable dehumidifier that would work perfectly to protect my stored cards. Link on Amazon.com.

The stumbling point was always my concerns about internal temperature. At least early on, the majority of high value pre-war and vintage cards I've bought, and will be buying for the foreseeable future, will be slabbed, and any fire exposure would most surely melt the slabs, ruining the cards. The media safe was the only option I found, but I couldn't fund anything with over 2 cubic feet for under $1,400 delivered.

Eventually, I just gave up, and rented a sizable safe deposit box at my bank. It's only a few miles from my home, so I can see the cards any time I want. Once I get my new scanner, I'll be rescanning all the cards I have, and hosting high resolution pictures of them on the website I design.

I would love to see an entrepreneur develop a collectibles-specific safe, one that could be used by collectors of baseball cards and ephemera, coins, stamps, comic books, etc. But, in the mean time, my solution was the best, safest answer I could come up with.

I will be very interested to see what you end up doing. Good luck!

Bill
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