(10-17-2012 02:40 PM)shezdoni Wrote: It's not a quality control problem at Topps, it's the way people open packs, handle the cards, and put them in penny sleeves that cause most of the damage.
Too many people try to blame the manufacturers for something they did themselves by the way the open the packs
Here is a very good article written by Shelton Yuen back in 2008
How to Protect Your Sports Cards
S. Yuen, NCSP
S. Yuen, NCSP, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Aug 13, 2008
Any serious sports card collector knows that their cards must be kept in gem mint condition to maintain maximum value. In an age where cardboard shoeboxes are not good enough anymore, a wide variety of sleeves, toploaders, and card holders have appeared on the market. However, card protection equipment is only part of the equation; protecting your cards will require both technique and technology! This guide will show you how to protect your cards from its retrieval from the original wax pack and into its protective casing.
1. Busting Wax - Ripping open packs of cards is often the most exciting part of card collection. However, collectors, often caught up in the excitement, inadvertently damage their cards in the process. Opening a pack of sports card is an art, and collectors should relish this experience like a ribeye steak from a fine dining restaurant. While higher end quality cards are encased in elaborate boxes and packaging that will minimize damage, cards from lower end foil and plastic packs are at the highest risk of being damaged. The most common way that cards are damaged are when collectors tear the middle of the pack and then attempt to pull the remaining wrapper over the edges. Some collectors cut off the top with scissors and try to slide the cards out through the tiny opening; this also increases the risk of damaging the cards. The best way is to first cut the top off with scissors and then cut the foil right down the middle. The foil packaging will then fall smoothly off of the precious cards like a button up shirt and the cards can be safely retrieved.
2. Handling Cardboard - It goes without saying that cards should not be thrown around, drawn on, and most definitely not put in the spokes of your favorite bicycle. However, on youtube and pictures pictures, collectors' understanding of gentle handling varies and is often incorrect. Ideally, valuable cards should be immediately place in their appropriate card protective devices upon being removed from the packaging. However, if the card must be handled, the card should be held on lightly on the edges with the thumb and index finger, much like how one would hold a CD. Holding cards by touching their surface not only leave unattractive fingerprints, but can damage the constitution of your card through natural body oils on your skin. Dirt on your hands might also be smeared onto your cards lowering its value. Finally, never touch the corners of your cards. Never means NEVER. The corners are most sensitive and fragile parts of the sports card and frequent contact can damage them.
3. Storing Cardboard - Proper storing is the most crucial part of card collecting. While base cards with minimal value can be stored in cardboard boxes with no special protection, cards with higher value should be placed inside protective sleeves straight from the pack. There are four basic types of protective sleeves: penny sleeve, top loaders, screw down/magnetic holders, 9 card pages, and team bags. Generally, cards should be first placed in a penny sleeve and then a top loader.
Penny sleeves - These are the most basic and cheapest holders providing basic protection. A pack of 100 sleeves generally cost $1.00 and comes in two sizes. Use the narrower sizes for normal thickness cards and the wider size for thicker memorabilia cards. More often than not, placing cards inside penny sleeves can prove difficult and provides another opportunity to damage the corners of valuable cards. A neat trick is to snip off one of the top corners of the penny sleeve with a pair of scissors; doing so will allow collectors to place cards inside the penny sleeve with ease and minimize damage. Once the card is tucked neatly within a penny sleeve, they can be placed in a 9 card page or top loader.
9 card page - 9 card pages are the clear plastic pages that can be placed inside a 3 ring binder. These provide minimal protection but is nice for display. Be sure to place valuable cards inside penny sleeves beforehand as cards have a tendency to slide out of the page. In addition, be sure the pages are placed properly inside the binder and nothing is bent.
Top Loaders [b]- Top loaders are ever popular with collectors due to their rigid nature, affordability, and ease of use. Top loader comes in all sizes to fit cards of various thickness. Buying the correct size toploaders will minimize damage to your cards. Forcing a thick card into a thin loader will damage the edges and corners of the cards while thin cards placed in thick toploaders will slip out and become damaged.
[b]Team bags - Team bags resembles penny sleeves but are longer, wider, and can be sealed on top. Team bags are great for holding a small stack of 10-20 cards. Team bags can also be used to protect cards inside of a toploader to prevent moisture from seeping in and damaging cards.
Screwdown/magnetic holders - These are the best technology in card protection and will cost about $2 per holder. Usually saved for the most valuable and premium cards, screwdown holders are hard and air tight. There is no need to use a penny sleeve if you plan on using on of these holders. Like toploaders, these also come in different thickness. Finding the right thickness will ensure that your card will not shift around in the holder.
Card collecting is a fun and rewarding hobby. Following the above tips will help keep cards in their optimal shape and protect your investments. Until next time, collect well and prosper!