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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Torn Apart

Sometimes as a collector you have some bad luck, books gets lost in the mail, you just a miss a super bargain by seconds, someone overcharges you for a book that turns out to be lower grade than you paid for...or you just do something stupid or have bad judgment.

A lot of people bag and board books, comic on board, then insert in bag and then tape the bag shut..safe and sound. Trouble is after a while you need to take the book out and you experience "tape pull" The tape which seems to have a mind of its own gets stuck to the comic while your halfway taking it out and it it won't come off..only way is to pry it loose and take a piece of the cover with it. Your VF+ $350 book is now a $150 FINE book or worse.

I've always been careful and don't even use tape to close my bags, I read the expensive books flat on a table and always use Mylar for the good books...and yet it seems I'm not immune to bad luck.
My most expensive book, the pride an joy of my collection has taken a big knock. My Amazing Fantasy #15 has separated from the cover :(
After only a few months in my possession, I've managed to lower the value by about $1000 and to be honest I didn't really do anything.
I got the book and HAD to read it, most people say I'm crazy to read 45 year old expensive books when I have the reprint, but nothing beats the feeling of opening up a comic some boy bought off the stands all those
years ago and I won't stop doing it.

Anyway, I carefully took the book out of the mylar/fullboard, put it flat on the table and very carefully read it. Now at the time the book had a three inch spine tear, but both staples were still secured and it graded out at 3.0. Once I finished reading (I only read the 8-page Spider-man story, not the two other stories) I put it back in the collection.
Fast forward three months later, I open the book again and to my shock the cover has split in two and has separated from the book itself...I felt sick in my stomach. I talked to some people and then explained that by reading and opening the book I had put some minimal stress on the fibers that still were holding the book together, chances were that the book hadn't been opened in decades and that the paper fibers were nothing more than hardened dust by now. This sudden stress caused them to break down and make the cover separate from the book.

A nice and logical explanation, but I was still screwed. I did the math and found out the book was now a 1.8/2.0 which a better change of getting a 1.8...meaning a $1000 loss in value
So I'm getting the book restored, I got some advice from my buddy Kenny who is training to be a comic restorer with Matt Nelson, arguably the best restoration expert out there.
I sent my book to Kenny and he took it with him to work on while visiting Matt in Texas. Both had a long and hard look at my book and told me some good news, with the proper work the book would again be whole and grade out at 4.5 to 5.5...

I'm going for moderate restoration including solvent and wet wash the cover, wash all interior wraps.and repair all the bent interior corners. and then repair spine, fix tears and other minor things.
If I get lucky the book will get a 5.0 and I should break even (purchase price + resto price = selling price), a 4.5 will mean a small loss, a 5.5 a small profit.
But you never know, the book might look so good that I decide to keep it after all. When he accident happened, I was so sick of the book I couldn't even look at it any more and it my love for collecting took a large blow.

Just like the book my heart got torn apart haven't bought any keys or expensive books since it happened, but Kenny's enthusiasm and his firm belief he'll make the book pretty and presentable again has given me a positive outlook again.
I should have more news in a month or so when the book is finished. Once all work is done, I'm sending it in to CGC and then wait anxiously until I know the grade.

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