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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

To press, or not to press? That is the question...


By Gerry D. 


There is a big debate going on out there about whether or not you should have your comic books pressed. I know that there's a large group of people that want their comics without any cleaning, pressing, or any other kind of modification done to it at all. I can understand where they're coming from, but if you can have your comics dry cleaned and pressed, it can add a lot of value to your comic investments.

There are some that think that the heat and moisture of having a comic pressed does further damage to the book. There has been testing done to measure the amount of damage, if any, that pressing does. You can read the results of that test by clicking this link.


Before & After
I am of the group that doesn't mind a comic that has been dry cleaned or pressed. Think of a comic book as if it were a car. If your car is dirty and you wash it, do you consider it to be restored? No. If you pull a dent out of your fender, do you consider it restored? I don't. It's when you start adding Bondo or a fresh coat of paint that it's considered to be restored. The same goes with comic books. CGC and CBCS doesn't consider dry cleaned and pressed comics to be restored, so why should you? 

I recently sent a few comics out to Mike DeChellis at Hero Restoration to be dry cleaned and pressed. One of the comics I sent was a copy of Strange Tales #126, the first appearance of Dormammu. It had a few creases, some that broke color and some that didn't, and it had some overall wrinkling on the front and back cover. It took about two months to get my comics back, but when I did, I was quite happy with the results. Most of the creases came out of the cover and the overall wrinkling had completely disappeared. Obviously it's not perfect NM copy, but they look much, much better. I've included some before and after pictures so you can see the difference.


Before & After
I had estimated that the grade of this comic before I sent it in was about a 5.0. Recent sales for this comic at that grade are only going for between $115 to $150. After being pressed, I'd say it's close to a 6.5, which I could probably sell right now for $260 to $300. So, I doubled the value of my book and it was only $20 to have it cleaned and pressed, that doesn't include shipping.

Let's say you have a copy of The Incredible Hulk #181 at those same grades, a 5.0 that was returned a 6.5. Have a look at the difference in value. If you're lucky, you might be able get $1000 for graded 5.0 copy. Move the grade up to a 6.5 and you're looking at a possible $1300 in your bank account. Making and extra $300 for a $20 investment sounds like good math to me.

There are many companies out there that offer cleaning and pressing services, but choose wisely. You don't want to send in your valuable comics to someone that's just getting started and doesn't have a lot of experience, they could ruin them and you'll be left with worthless piles of paper. Do a little research first. I was very happy with the work from Hero Restoration and all of my books were insured while under their care. I will definitely be sending more books to them in the future.

Click the link and check out my new site Graded Key Comics.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. We've been talking about how much effect pressing has on value at work for a while now. I had Green Lantern 76 sent for pressing and CGC grading. I'm hoping a 7 becomes an 8.5.

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    1. I was debating on sending comics in to be pressed for a while before I actually did it. I wasn't sure about it either. One day I said "hell with it" and tried it out. GL 76 is a perfect example of a comic to send in. The difference in value for a 7.0 compared to an 8.5 is not minimal. You took a $500 comic and turned it into a $900 comic if it does come back an 8.5. I hope you get that grade you're looking for.
      ~Gerry D

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    2. Just sent my babies in the mail today. Will have to see how it goes when I get them back.

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  2. I think it's also important to note that not all comics will receive a grade jump after a press. And not all books are candidates for a press especially those that have color breaking creases, missing chips, tears, and CB spine creases. I think if someone is serious about pressing they should reach out to the few professional companies and talk to them about their specific books and benefit from getting a pre-screen. And don't just send your books to any old Joe Schmoe on Facebook that claims they press but are really just using their Grandma's old clothes iron! HAHA!!

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  3. I just don't get how adding water in any way is good for the long term health of the book. I guess I don't understand science. But I've always thought cool and dry was the key to preservation. This adds hot and wet.

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    1. Paper like our skin needs a certain amount or moisture or it cracks. Adding heat and moisture softens the fibers to its original state. It's not the heat and wetness you are thinking about.

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  4. I bought a press this past year and I never add water to the mix. You'd be surprised the results you get with just heat and pressure.

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  5. What kind of press did you buy? I've been considering buying one but don't know what kind or brand. Advice?

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