Not only is comic book collecting fun for enthusiasts, there’s a robust market for used comic books on sites like eBay.
However, if your comic books aren’t in good condition, you could be missing out on money, according to Robert Scott, owner of Comickaze Comics Books and More and head of the Comic Book Industry Alliance. Every drop in condition from, say, good to fair to poor “reduces the value about 60 percent on most comics,” Scott said.
Whether you plan to sell your comic book collection one day or you just want to enjoy your books for years to come, here are six tips for storing them.
1. Clean Your Hands.
If your hands are dirty or oily, you can transfer the muck onto your comic books. Take the extra time to wash and dry your hands before packing up and storing your collection. That way, you avoid staining the cover and inner pages.
2. Support the Backs.
The spines of your comic books are particularly important. To help protect his comic book collection, which consists of every issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” ever published since 1963, Mark Ginocchio makes sure “every comic has an appropriately sized backing board”—a product that keeps comic books from bending. Ginocchio chronicles his comic-collecting adventures at ChasingAmazingBlog.com.
3. Bag Them Up.
Mylar sleeves are the best type of bag for storing comic books because they “minimize the amount of air that can reach the comic and cause the paper to yellow,” Scott said. Other types of comic bags use materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene.
4. Use Archival Boxes.
If you’re going to keep your collection in self-storage, put your books in acid-free boxes. Once the comic books are in the bags, the boxes will add yet another layer of protection.
5. Consider the Environment.
Comic books should be kept in an area that’s dry and maintains a steady temperature, preferably between 60 and 70 degrees, according to Scott. For that reason, a temperature-controlled unit would be best if you’re going the self-storage route.
Also, be wary of other environmental factors. For example, when storing his comic books, Ginocchio makes sure “the boxes are elevated off the ground via milk crates to help protect against any flooding.”
6. Do a Regular Checkup.
Out of sight isn’t just out of mind. If you don’t check on your comics regularly, you won’t know until it’s too late whether they’re beginning to turn yellow or whether they’ve become contaminated with mold or mildew. If you check your stored collection and smell mildew, change the bags and boards as soon as possible.