Collectible Storage Guide for Baseball Cards
Since the mid-1800s, people have been collecting baseball cards. What started as a giveaway by tobacco and confectionery companies has become a lucrative investment, with some collections outperforming the stock market in valuation. Here is a collectible storage guide for your baseball card collection.
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Type of Storage
Thousands of baseball card collections are wrapped in old rubber bands and stuffed in a shoebox in attics and basements across the globe. However, to protect your investment properly, invest in some proper storage materials. Here are some to choose from ...
Avoid using a regular shoebox or file box since the cards can move around and become damaged, bent or torn.
Any reputable sports card dealer will have a supply of cardboard boxes designed for sports cards. They range in size from one hundred cards to several thousand and are intended to hold large collections.
These boxes can be stacked easily on a shelf, although finding one card in several hundred will be challenging. They do, however, offer a budget-friendly option when the cost is a factor.
Consider plastic window pages that hold baseball cards and can be kept in a binder. Often referred to as “penny sleeves,” they are more expensive than a cardboard box but provide an easy way to display your cards. Make sure the sleeves are archival quality and acid-free.
Binders can be kept on shelves but can quickly take a great deal of room, especially if you have an extensive collection.
The most expensive option for storing baseball cards is a top-load plastic case that holds one card. Top of the line top loaders have a magnetic seal to seal the case securely. They are intended to protect the most valuable cards, but price and space will both be at a premium.
A popular storage case from the 1990s was a lucite case with four screws. The problem with them is the screws can put too much pressure on the card, causing it to stick to the case.
Over time, depending on where the cards were kept and the type of screw, the screw can rust or moisture can seep into the card, leading to mildew.
An attic, basement or garage are the wrong locations to store your baseball card collection. A closet in your house or a shelving unit in a closet are both good options since they are more climate controlled.
Baseball cards are made of paper, making them susceptible to extremes of temperature, moisture and humidity. Too much moisture can cause the cards to grow mould or mildew, while too little will make them brittle.
The biggest enemies to collector cards are heat, light, insects, moisture and direct sunlight. Treat sports cards like valuable photographs.
If you have a large collection, one option to consider is a climate-controlled self-storage unit. See: 3 Reasons You Might Need a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit.
Do’s and Don'ts of Collectible Baseball Card Storage
- Use proper storage materials to protect your card collection.
- Keep an inventory of your cards, with the name of the player, the team, the year, the manufacturer and anything unique about it (is it a rookie or all-star card, for example).
- Have your collection valued by a reputable dealer. You can also find books and online sources that give you approximate ranges of value. Baseball cards are graded based on several factors, and if your collection is extensive or handed down from your grandfather or father, you might have some hidden gems, so it’s worth doing the research.
- Check the reputation of the valuator before trusting your collection to them, and make sure you have a detailed inventory if you leave them with anyone.
- Consider renting a self-storage unit with climate control if space is at a premium.
- Store the card collection in a shoebox, file box or plastic container that will allow the cards to slide around. They could bend, rip or become stuck together or damaged.
- Keep your collection anywhere there are extremes of heat, humidity, temperature variations or could attract insects or rodents. Avoid the attic, garage or basement.
- Use lucite containers with screws on the corners. Transfer them to a top load case.
- Display your cards in direct sunlight. They will fade.
Baseball cards have been a cherished collectible since the 1800s. A little TLC and good storage will preserve them for years to come.