Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right Protection

by Ariel Lazo

images Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right ProtectionBags, boards, and boxes. Three words every collector knows and has an opinion about. Some say you should Mylar everything, others say a regular bag and board will do, and a select few only live by front-loaders. Although encapsulation is one of the best ways to protect your investments, it is also costly when you try to slab everything. Like I said, we all have our opinions on how to best protect comics, but if you want to compare notes and save some money, keep reading below!

Before anything, I am not jumping into which age bag and board you should get. If you have modern books, get modern bags and boards. Getting the exact size for you book will help keep it nice and snug inside the bag. Some people like having a little wiggle room within the bag. This could be due to it being a thicker book or just personal preference. If you want the extra wiggle room, just upgrade your bag to a different age, i.e. a Silver or Golden Age bag and board. Personally, I have used Silver Age bags for my modern books because I feel they fit a little better. I don’t want to risk damaging my book just from trying to slide it in a bag.

Speaking of Bags, here are the 3 main types of bags you will find:51QOPQ3F0eL._AC_-199x300 Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right Protection

  1. Polypropylene Bags – Very clear which makes it great for visibility. This also makes it not as good from protection against the sun. This is more for showcasing than it is for protecting.
  2. Polyethylene Bags – This material is strong and flexible. It is transparent which allows you to see what is inside very easy while also having some UV protection. This is what is mostly used by comic collectors. It also has a low static charge and is resistant to dirt and dust.
  3. Mylar Bags – As Justin Hammer once said, “These are the Cubans, baby. This is the Cohibas, the Montecristos.” This is the best bag you can get to protect your keys and grails. This bag is sturdy and strong. It resists diffusion of gases like oxygen and Carbon Dioxide, as well as resists mildew, moisture, acid, and oils.

*Tip: If you watch Regie Collects on YouTube then you will know the importance of this tip. USE PAINTERS TAPE! When closing the flap to secure your book, regular tape has the tendency of just twisting, turning, and sticking to every part of the comic. Avoid this by using Painter’s tape. It comes off very easy and helps keep your comic from getting torn.*

So which should you use?

This depends on what you want to do with the books. If they are high valued books (FMV of $100 and above), I say use Mylar. Especially considering that a change in grade could mean the difference between hundreds if not thousands of dollars, it’s worth it to splurge here. For your regular books, storing them in a Polyethylene Bag will work just fine. I had my Batman #612 in one of these that went through hell and back for 4 years. When I finally had it signed by Jim Lee and graded, it came out as a 9.8 through CBCS. As you see they do work. Now for Polypropylene Bags, I say these are good if you have nothing else left. They work great to cover your comics till you get them in a better bag. Only leave books in these bags for a few weeks at most.

MipIt Sheets and Boards

71YvcF4XdL._AC_SL1500_-239x300 Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right ProtectionThese two items are very much needed to help fully protect your comics. MipIt sheets are micro-chamber paper sheets that remove and neutralize acids and the harmful by-products of your book breaking down.  Although not many collectors have heard of this, many of us have it. Most grading companies like CGC place one of these sheets in the front and back of each comic before it is encapsulated.

A bag is not complete without a board. The main purpose of the board is to add rigidity to your comic as well as help protect it. There are two types of boards:

  • Basic Boards – help provide stiffness to the comic to help avoid any bending or warping. They have a “shiny” side which is coated with a very thin 3% calcium carbonate buffer. The shiny side is the side that should be touching the book.
  • Acid-Free Boards – Also known as Full/Half Backs cost more than regular backing boards but also provide better protection. These boards are coated throughout with 3% Calcium Carbonate. This means that both sides are treated and either side can be placed directly on to the book.

Obviously the best combination is the use of Acid-Free boards with the MipIt sheets, but not all of us can afford to re-bag our entire collection. Just like above, I would use the basic boards for your poly-bagged books, Acid-Free for mid-high end books in Mylars, and the MipIt sheets for the ones that are very valuable or appear to already be aging. It won’t reverse the aging process but it will stop it from continuing.

Boxes and Folios

Now that you have your books covered and protected, you need to store them. Folios are just simply awesome. It’s a small rigid box with a flap that allows you to carry about 10-15 comics. These are great to take to cons, hauls, or just to protect your new books from the LCS. The Folio boxes also can be purchased with various designs. 1-sfc-15-art-twd-2_1_1-300x257 Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right Protection

Boxes are no different from bags and boards. What I mean is, you will find a variety of boxes to suit your every need.

  • Standard Cardboard Comic Boxes – These are your long and short boxes. Long boxes can carry about 250-300 comics while shorts can carry 150-200 comics, obviously all dependent on the thickness of the comics, bags, and boards. These do become heavy and have a HUGE weakness to water. 1-bx-short_1_b-300x300 Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right Protection
  • Plastic Comic Boxes – These are similar to the cardboard ones except they are made with a more durable corrugated plastic material. Although they provide a little more protection compared to cardboard, they are still very heavy and cumbersome. 1-bx-short-art-bld_box_1-300x300 Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right Protection
  • Hard Plastic Comic Boxes – This is my favorite! Yes they are much more expensive (approx costs: Cardboard box-$9 and Hard Plastic-$28) but they are worth it. These can be stacked with no worry about the box placing pressure on the bottom. They are also very durable and can withstand some abuse. Granted these are not waterproof but most of these boxes do come with a small sliding lock. 1-cbb-short-blk_1_open-300x300 Bags, Boards, and Boxes: Finding the Right Protection

Bottom Line

At the end of it all, no one can tell you how to collect and store your comics. From personal experience, poly-bags and boards are good for all around protection, while Mylar is King for the keys and grails. I think boxes are a must to store your comics unless you have another location that will protect them from the elements. I have the majority of my collection in cardboard short boxes (I feel the shorts are better to move and store) and a regular and graded hard plastic box. Some people use filing cabinets or make their own boxes. The best thing about this hobby is that there is no real wrong way of doing things. Obviously placing your comic in a paper towel is absolutely wrong (Someone shipped me a book JUST LIKE THAT!), but you can mix and match these items to whatever suits your style.

Hope this bit of information helps you all or refreshes your memory in the least.

Till Next Time, Happy Hunting!

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20 comments

T La Ross June 17, 2020 - 10:02 pm

BCW Regular/silver bags and full back standards are the best regular bag/board combo. Anyone who disagrees probably hates Del Taco and has terrible taste. DEL SCORCHO POR VIDA!!

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Ariel Lazo June 18, 2020 - 2:39 pm

Boom! There you go!

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Andrew R Farmer June 19, 2020 - 7:12 pm

I just re bagged and boarded 800 of my best books with the polypropylene bags.If not exposed to sunlight is this OK.Or are there other problems with the bags other than UV.

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Ariel Lazo June 22, 2020 - 7:31 am

Hi Andrew! Wow that must have taken some time! Polypropylene bags are not horrendous, but personally I don’t like them. As you stated they have no UV protection at all, plus they do not help to keep dust and dirt out when compared to the Polyethylene and Mylars. But to be honest it also depends on the environment that you keep them in. As long as it is a dry, cool, dark place they will last. Also to minimize the dirt and dust issue, I would make sure they are books you won’t be pulling out often and completely tape shut the flap with painter’s tape. My routine is: whatever I buy online gets a brand new bag and board, whatever I buy at the shop comes with new bag and board, and every 5 years I change EVERYTHING. It sucks and is tedious but keeps my books in pristine shape. Hope that helped! Thanks for reading and for the comment!

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and1far June 22, 2020 - 7:29 pm

Thank you for the response.I love your site and look forward to receiving your Gocollect e-mails.Over the years I have even invested in many of the books new and old that you have written about having investment potential and have been very happy with the outcome.Keep up the fine work and I will keep reading and investing in my collection.You are a great source for information on comics.Take care,
Andy

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Ariel Lazo June 26, 2020 - 10:50 am

Wow!!! Thank you so much for your kind words!! I hope to never let you down! If there is anything you would love to see more of or have any questions, by all means let me know and I will tackle it for you! Again Thank you for those amazing words, people like you keep me motivated!

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eprise01 June 24, 2020 - 11:31 pm

I recently had a bad water leak in office at my house. I have up to 2 inches of water on the floor at one time and had several of the BCW short boxes on the floor full of bagged and boarded comics, most notably my Ultimate Spider-Man collection and several other Ultimate Universe titles. While the boxed suffered the most damage, I only lost 2 comics out of 5 boxes that sustained water damage. While they may be the cheapest boxes to hold your comics in I can highly recommend them for your collections, just don’t get them too wet! LOL!

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Ariel Lazo June 26, 2020 - 10:36 am

LOL! What a story!!! I am so glad only 2 were damaged compared to what could have happened! I agree they are cheap but hey they get the job done!

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and1far June 26, 2020 - 6:16 pm

You know it is kind of funny,but it is you that keep all of us motivated.Lets face it comic collecting can be a lonely affair,even my wife and family think I am a wee bit crazy.But I can always rely on your blog to keep me going and keep me excited about my collection.DO NOT STOP,Keep us all motivated.
Thanks Andy

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Ariel Lazo July 3, 2020 - 8:14 am

Wow, Thank you so much again Andy! Sorry for the delayed response but was working on a research paper. I’ll have some good ones out very soon for you! Is there anything in particular you would love to read about? Any special characters or story arcs? Your words have truly lit a fire under my bum and will be working on a few blogs this week! You are the best!

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and1far July 3, 2020 - 7:45 pm

You have one hour to stop telling me i’m the best.As far as anything in particular,no.The best part of your sight is you do not know what you are going to get until you open it.You have given us blogs about things we know and you have opened our eyes to new things.Like I have said it makes it exciting.Keep up the fine work and we will keep reading(and maybe even investing)You have not failed me yet.
Thanks Andy
PS,Good luck with the research paper!!

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Ariel Lazo July 6, 2020 - 10:30 am

lol no problem and thank you again!

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Birawa Sena November 26, 2020 - 9:36 pm

First of all thank you for amazing insights and informations! I just got back into collecting a comic book, and I stumbled about a product named gatorguard comic case. I like the looks of it but for the purpose of protection I feel naked because the book not bagged in conventional way if that makes sense. So what do you think about those kind of product for protecting a comic book? Thank you sir!

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Ariel Lazo December 23, 2020 - 4:46 pm

Hey Birawa!

I have heard of this product. In a way, it protects your comics like a slab would, but unlike a slab, you can open it up and still read your book. I think it’s a pretty good product. I wish it offered more with UV protection but overall, it is a durable product from what I can see.

Glad you enjoyed the article! If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me!
Ariel

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and1far December 29, 2020 - 12:53 pm

When you send a book to cgc and it comes back saying the cover has been reinforced what does that mean exactly.

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Ariel Lazo January 4, 2021 - 6:50 am

Hi And1far!

From what I can gather on the CGC boards, it is when someone has used a tissue mending paper along with cellulose and/or wheatpaste in order to strengthen the comic cover. When done professionally it is almost invisible. Amateurs will be more obvious and may not have used archival quality paper or adhesive.

Hope this answers your question!

Thank you for reading and commenting!

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and1far January 6, 2021 - 6:31 pm

When in comes to high end books that say cover reinforced is this a big deal as a book being graded restored. Does it retract a lot from its value .If I had say Amazing Fantasy #15 cgc 5.0 blue label and the same book 5.0 purple label “cover reinforced” How much would it lose value. Keep up the great work love the site. Andy

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Ariel Lazo January 7, 2021 - 11:15 am

Hey Andy!

Thank you so much! Also EXCELLENT question and a tough one to answer. Restoration is an issue that isn’t cut and dry. Much of it depends on the amount of restoration that has been done on the book. The more restoration, the less money people are inclined to pay. I took your example of a 5.0 blue label and put it against a purple label using the CGC Census. On 4/15/20 a 5.0 purple sold for $16,750 citing only a “small amount of color touch” as the restoration factor. A 5.0 blue label sold for $26,100 on 3/23/20 and another for $33,405 on 7/20/20. As you see, even with minor work being done, a purple label still loses almost half its value to collectors. Another book labeled with “Very small amount of color touch”, very being the keyword, sold on 2/23/19 for $25,100.75. Still not the amount obtained by a blue label, but at least it comes close to it. So with everything said, a cover being reinforced would take a hit like the other books, the amount would depend on what was used and how much it was reinforced. I always stick to blue or yellow labels personally. However, if it is a grail book, go with what makes you happy.

Hope that helped!

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and1far January 7, 2021 - 4:38 pm

Could not have had a better answer.Can restoration be reversed ,undone, other than the book being trimmed.Can small things be fixed to the point you can resubmit them to get a blue label. if you had a book that has small color touch on spine and tear seal,can thay remove the color touch re tear the seal. Thanks Andy

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Ariel Lazo January 11, 2021 - 10:58 am

Thank you Andy! To answer your question, minor stuff can be reversed. It all depends on what was done and who did the work. Amateur work is touch to remove due to many of them using the wrong tools for the job and sloppy work. Most small professional restoration like color touch can safely be removed. However, it is good to know that sometimes to remove the restoration the comic might become even more damaged. At times it takes scraping, digging, and cutting to complete the removal, which in turn might damage the book more. Hope that helps! If you have more questions, keep them coming! 🙂

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