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    • Brittany M.

      CCS - Updated Turn Times!   03/28/2017

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How to spot restoration....?
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281 posts in this topic

...........obviously, restoration is more prevalent in gold books, but really applies to all ages of books..............(even moderns??? confused.gif )

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There's been a multitude of topics regarding detecting restoration please run a search on it. smile.gif

 

Brian

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Even if u had a portable black light, ooo.gif u won't be able to catch all the color touches or reinforcement that cgc can w/ their black light scan bed.

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1) Black light - yep - but do it in as dark a room as you can and edge the book towards the black light source and very slowly rotate it.

 

2) Trimmed. If you press the book flat on a hard smooth surface and look along the edge, if the edges are all even the book HAS been trimmed. If you still think the book is trimmed after it passes this test then open the book up to the centerfol. Try very gently pressing it flat and see if there are signs of cutting (lighter edge colors, slight roughness, differences in overall color)

 

3) Get a good ground glass loupe. Examine the staple area. See if the depressions match the staples. See if slightly darker (aka metallic) stains match where the staples are now. Then ignore the impressions on the inside pages and look to where the stapels are embedded in the book. Be sure they align with the depressions on the TOP pages.

 

4) Take special care with the centerfold. Examine it carefully for replacement or reinforcement. Slight areas that have different reflectivity can indicate archival tape or japan paper.

 

5) Check for any color from the cover that has bled into the pages below or the back of the cover. Thi8s can indicate magic marker ::shudder:: desecration.

 

6) Examine the inside back and front covers for a green ink transfer stain. If it appears mottled it has proabbly been subject to removal but has proved too extensive for total removal. If you find this is the case, re-examine the staples VERY carefully as ink transfer removal generally means dismantling.

 

7) FEEL the surface of the book. Should it have a gloss cover? If so does it feel slightly slick or dioes it feel slightly rough? If rough again angle it to a light and see if it appears matted. That could be age or it could be a wet wash.

 

8) Then examine the inside cover. If it seems unnaturally white with a slightly rough "tooth" to it, It may have been "float rinsed".

 

9) Examine the corners and and the staple areas for a slight dulling or difference in reflectivity. This can again indicate archival tape or japan paper as in step 4 above.

 

10) Check for white paper areas that are whiter than the immedate areas. That could be leaf forming.

 

11) Try to get either the same book or a book an issue or two above and below. Check the height of the book. If the book you are looking at is unnaturally thcik, it could have been subject to methyl cellulose vacuum impregnation probably followed by a freeze-dry process (unprobable in all but the pricier books as the costy of this equipment is slightly prohibitive).

 

That's all for now. Probably more later.

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..........fantastic, that's really helpful info povertyrow.............. cool.gif

 

......thats actually the first time i've heard about a way to detect trimming that didn't involve measuring the comic (which seems unreliable)...............

 

........i will test it on two books i have that i suspect might be trimmed............ frown.gif

 

 

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......thats actually the first time i've heard about a way to detect trimming that didn't involve measuring the comic (which seems unreliable)...............

 

Yep - as you say that is unreliable due to printer's innacuracies. The thing is that in trimming, when a book is cut properly, the closer you get to the centerfold the WIDER the pages are. Now some folks who know this will try trimming by holding the book open at the centerfiold and pressing it as flat as they can. Then they will razor the edge. Repeat for the other side. This is harder to detect because once the book is folded back. the inner pages actually WILL be longer.

 

A classically untrimmed book, when the book is folded shut and held to the light, will usually show a slight triangle with the tip of the triangle being the centerfold.

 

A book trimmed in the manner I described above will also show the slight triangle, but, especially depending on when the trimming is done, will show a lighter color on the edges than the flat of the pages. A definiftely suspicious thing.

 

(edited - replaced "shorter - which is incorrect - with WIDER - which is correct)

Edited by povertyrow

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What triangle are you referring to?

 

The inner pages of the book are slightly wider than the outer pages. So if you look along the long edge (opposite the spine) of a book you will see a slight "tip" at the centerfold that sticks out a bit more than the rest of the pages. If there is a slight spoine roll you can see this more readily. You may also notice a slight "fanning" along either side of the centerfold as the successive pages get justa titch shorter as you appraoch the cover.

 

If someone trims a book by keeping it closed and just slicing a bit of the long edge, suddenly all the pages are trimmed flat and when you look along the long edge it will be like looking down the edge of a paperback book. Just a flat even surface.

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A good comparison I've found is to think about a Sunday edition newspaper. When you look at a Sunday paper, the interior sections stick out up top in a similar but more exaggerated way than the inner wraps on a comic stick out on the side.

 

Great info, povertyrow! Where'd you learn so much about the topic, just by chatting with other collectors? I strongly believe that if someone would get an EXTREMELY detailed guide to restoration detection out, a lot of the mistaken impressions that people have about restoration would start to go away. Restoration has gotten a bad reputation over the last 5-10 years because of all the slight-restoring greedy insufficiently_thoughtful_persons trying to make 8.0 to 9.0 comics look like 9.4 to 9.8 without disclosing the work having been done. Once high-grade collectors are able to assess that kind of work having been done, I strongly feel that the market for restored comics will begin to recover a bit. In today's market, 99.5% of collectors are clueless about restoration detection. And quite often the way they discover the need for it is when they learn that a comic they shelled out Overstreet NM or better money for is really only worth half of what they paid!

 

Steve Borock said that the majority of the restoration they see is of the slight variety on books that didn't need it in the first place. That kind of work is almost ALWAYS done out of greed by people who rely upon the ignorance of others. Once the mass ignorance of restoration detection starts to go away, the negative feelings about restoration hopefully will also.

 

I've talked with Tracey Heft and Matt Nelson about educating others about restoration detection, and they both generally agree...they both said they wanted to contribute to the upcoming Overstreet Grading Guide revision. And I PLEADED with Blumberg to allow and encourage those guys to include VERY detailed info about it. The sooner that happens, the sooner restored comics will lose their bad rep!

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Great info, povertyrow! Where'd you learn so much about the topic, just by chatting with other collectors?

 

Thanks. I got fascinated with the concept of proper conservation restoration around 1985. While no longer in the biz, I was in the 4-color press industry for years and basically "like paper". I read as much as I could on the subject, talked to dealers and collectors, and experimented on junk books at home just to see what would happen if this or that were done, and what signs the "finished product" would reveal. There are some older texts out there that, while not specific to comics, deal with paper. Both restoration and conservation. Restoration doesn't really trouble me a lot. Considering the age of the books I collect - all precode - there is going to be some restoration - some done properly and some done so badly it looks like a five and dime blonde toupee on a guy with black hair. So I also wanted to prepare myself as best I could. Ultimately I spend some time with one of the leading restorers and learned some hands-on techniques in her studio. This really helped in identifying not only what the restoration I am looking at is but how it was done.

 

Some of it is remarkably benign and some is like radical surgery. I neither condone nor oppose it. It is what it is and is up to the individual to decide how they feel about it. What I am really opposed to is undisclosed restoration of any kind, no matter how slight. The pro restorers provide a detailed checklist of what has been done. Unfortunately, that checklist doesn't always stay with the book, if you get my meaning.

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Do you remember the names and authors or publishers of the books on restoring/conserving paper that you read?

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Do you remember the names and authors or publishers of the books on restoring/conserving paper that you read?

 

I still have three of them. Got a a library sale. the rest I checked out of the Boston ublic Library many years ago.

 

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CONVERSATION - VOL1 & VOL2 - Cunha and Cunha

PRESERVATION OF LIBRARY MATERIALS - Merrily A. Smith Editor

 

These are VERY dry texts from symposiums etc. I can grab some web links later tonight or tomorrow and post them as well.

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What does a tear seal look like? feel like? Is there an obvious way to tell? What about cleaning? Spine unrolling?

 

A tear seal. There are four main techniques used.

 

The first (no particular order) is to use glue( preferably archival glue with a neutral PH but no way to tell except to trust in the restorer). Use a silicon release film (aka dry mount release) - it holds up to dry mounting heat and will factor into the spine roll removal below. It is like thick, stiff saran wrap. Place some of the glue on a surface - a paper plate - whatever. You only need a bit. Take a toothpick. Dip it in the glue. Swirl it around the edge of the paper plate (or whatever you put the glue on). Place a small square of the silicon release film under the area you are going to seal. Then carefully lift a torn edge towards you. With the tip of the toothpick, drag the glue along the very edge of the tear. I mean literally only the edge should have a tiny bead of glue. (lots of practice on pieces of paper to get it right). Then hold the two edges of the tear together. It is ok to let them touch the release film - glue won’t stick to it. After a minute or two the seal is done. This type of seal is easily identified as a slightly greyish line along the edge of the tear. The line is usually a slightly twisty line that follows the angles of the tear.

 

The second - the most acceptable amateur restoration - is to use real archival "tear repair tape" - you can get it in most art supply stores, and just add as small a piece as you can to the tear. Just like using a piece of scotch tape to tape paper together. This is easily detected by a dulling on the side where the paper has been taped and the back side displaying no dulling. (The tape is quite transparent but does not reflect light the same as the plain paper does.)

 

The third is using Japan Paper and methyl-cellulose or wheat/rice paste. The pastes are basically water soluble fine powders that, when mixed with water, act almost like wallpaper paste. Methyl cellulose is almost "powdered paper" that is also water soluble. Thi8s is applied much like the archival tape. But the Japan paper can be a LOT finer (thinner) than the tape. It can be a bit hard to detect but look for a slightly dull "sheen" that reflects light differently than the rest of the surface.

 

The fourth is "heat seal" paper. This is very fine Japan paper that is coated on one side with a heat-meltable adhesive (always neutral ph). A "heat iron" - basically a plastic handle that stays cool with a few inches of very smooth metal rod (tapering almost to a point) that gets hot when you plug it in. You can place the heat-seal paper on the tear and gently glide the heat iron over it to seal it. Again, depending on the quality, it can be hard to detect but look for that slightly dull "sheen" that reflects light differently than the rest of the surface.

 

Cleaning can be VERY difficult to detect. It is usually performed on the cover since the cover is primarily used to determine grade. There is dry cleaning and wet cleaning. Both require very carefully removing the staples and separating the cover from the book. Wet cleaning entails immersing the cover in a suitable bath. Then placing it between sheets of acid-free blotter paper (you can buy acid-free "sketch books" from most art stores - a tip - you can also get alkaline buffered ones that that neutralize airborne acids - they make excellent buffer sheets when framing paper- things like movie posters or lobby cards). Anyway, after the cover is blotted relatively dry - just damp, it is placed between another sheet of acid free paper on the bottom and a sheet of release film on the top (so the heat from the dry mount press does not cause anything to stick). Use lowish - 200 or so degrees - for maybe 15-30 seconds. The cover will be pressed flat, be dry with no dimensional changes, and ready to re-assemble.

 

Spine roll removal. Not difficult but takes real care. Dismantle the book. Get several sheets of acid free paper and "spritz" them with a plant sprayer or similar thing using distleed water. They should be just damp. Take the interior pages and layer them - damp paper - page - damp paper - page etc. This basically "humidifies" the pages. Then press each page in a dry mount press under low temp with an acid free paper on the bottom and silicon release on the top. This will make the pages flat and remove the spine roll areas. Do this for every page. Take the centerfold. VERY carefully fold it in half (do NOT apply pressure to the center folded edge yet). Align the top, bottom and edges top be sure they are square and then very gently slide along where the fold should be. Repeat for the rest of the pages. Do not make a real impression in the edge. You just want to :"gauge" where the fold should be. The start with the centerfold and add a page. Gently slide along the edge to begin to establish the correct fold. Repeat for the rest of the pages. Then take the "sandwiched" pages and press them - paper below - release above. Next take the cover and do the same thing. Gently align and then make a mild fold along the edge. Then press. Then start adding pages to the cover and finally press the whole book. Last thing is to add back the staples.

 

This can be very difficult to detect depending upon the degree of spine roll. One thing to look for is a slight dulling of the cover. This can be caused from the "hydration" process of placing the cover between slightly dampened sheets of archival paper. This can remove a bit of the gloss. Also, look to the interior pages for a line - not really a "line" but an "area maybe 1/4 - 1/2 inch or so in width - maybe wider for a bad spine roll - but look for a "width" running along the edge of the spine that has a slightly "maneuvered" look. I cannot put it better than that. It is actually an area that reflects light differently because it contains paper that HAS been maneuvered. The bulk of the pages remain intact - it is only the areas that have been rolled then unrolled that display this discrepancy.

 

Feel free to ask for more details. It is a most fascinating topic.

 

(edited a few mins later to add "with distilled water" to the spine roll removal process.)

 

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I'm still reading, pov, but when I finished the tear section, I had to recheck that Brave and Bold. I now think I know what it is! I'm almost certain it's a fold. A defect in manufacturing kind of thing. There is an identical looking thing on the back cover -- same place, same length -- but neither had any appearance or feel of glue. (the special kinds of restoration were too advanced for what this looked like). Yet there appeared to be a definite line disecting an area that had absolutely no separation. When I realized there was no glue, I looked again, and I'm now certain the cover stock got folded in production, with maybe a millimeter of actual fold, but it's enough to make it appear like a sealed tear, and to feel a raised area on both sides of the front and back cover. It's definitely not a tear seal.

 

Thank you so much! I'm now going to read about cleaning.

 

-- Joanna

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Wow, all I can say is no wonder CGC is finding restoration when most people can't.

 

It now makes me wonder: Meth is being characterized as "Mr. Restoration" yet how is he supposed to be able to spot it? Why is he more liable than any other seller? Lots of people sell books here, but if you're selling CGC, you don't have to worry. It's the raw booksellers that have the potential to be 'caught' selling restored books, yet if they're like all but 2% of comics people (it appears), then they wouldn't recognize it either. IOW, someone sold me every book I own. Now, take out the books I bought as a kid and have owned since then, and I still have thousands of books. Not once did any seller tell me a book telling me it was restored. Never. And yet, I wonder how true that is? Not with my beat-up silver stuff -- obviously unrestored (or the restorer was as good at his job as that DD 9.8 guy is at grading). But my golden age books -- I paid a lot of money for those. And I have a doubt or two about some. I'm going to use your post as a guide and relook at several of them.

 

-- Joanna

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Not only that Joanna, but now I'm going to be accused of silicon film repairs, tear repairs with cellular patches, k-narf rafflings with zorfed-end wraps over easy and swab swibbling endemetriol alterations as well as the more commonly known color touch with all the trimmings!!

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Now Meth, be honest -- you've been swibbling your zorf-ends all over the place! I've seen the pictures.

 

-- Joanna

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I can swibble a zorf-end in three slanks flat without even as much as using a kletching pail (almost always used in conjuction with, and as an absolute, recommended necessity for swibbling in temperate climates, by expert swibblers)! Pretty impressive, if I DO say so myself and.....HEY! Wait a minute......it's 5:05 AM EST!!! What are WE doing up while the Board sleeps? Are you up, plotting the downfall of the hobby as well?? Just start swibbling the zorf-ends undetectably like I do and the end of all creation, let alone the end of the hobby, will soon be at hand! Eventually, as your confidence builds, you won't even bother to keep kletching pails around the house!

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I'm now going to read about cleaning.

 

Rats - I forgot about dry cleaning (no, not your clothes!). But it is too late now - after 2:00AM here - so tomorrow. Dry cleaning is most interesting.

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There's a section on dry-cleaning RATS????? Now yer' talking. Clue me in! I always wished I could do something about those unsanitary little ghetto pets. Oh BOY!!!

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