Is there perhaps a "moral obligation" to conserve deteriorating classics?
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As I've been getting deeper and deeper into the Golden and Atomic Ages, I've naturally begun to encounter books in various states of irreversible decomposition. Many times, I will pass. For example, I was offered a classic with rusted staples. The rust had migrated deep into the surrounding paper, and the cover was completely detached. I refused the deal as a result. 

I recently purchased a beautiful book with white pages. The comic is nearly 80 and is in fantastic shape, except for some light rust on the staples. The rust has yet to migrate to the paper, and the staples have retained their structural integrity.

From the standpoint of value, it will likely be best to leave the book alone in order to obtain the blue label. 

From the standpoint of long-term preservation, and from the standpoint of doing what's best to save the book, it might be prudent at this point to replace the staples with vintage, non-rusted examples. Rust is an irreversible process. Over the years, it will only get worse, even sitting inside of a slab. 

Does one allow the book to deteriorate out of greed, or does one conserve the book by replacing the staples? I assume such an action would warrant a conserved grey label if performed professionally with the correct staples? 

Also, how long would the rust really take to migrate? Another 20 or 30 years? 

How much of a hit does this sort of action take on the value of the book compared with a blue label? 

I almost feel a moral obligation to save the book, even if it would cost me an extra 10-20% in the long run. 

Lots to think about and discuss here, I think. What are you thoughts? 

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3 hours ago, newshane said:

As I've been getting deeper and deeper into the Golden and Atomic Ages, I've naturally begun to encounter books in various states of irreversible decomposition. Many times, I will pass. For example, I was offered a classic with rusted staples. The rust had migrated deep into the surrounding paper, and the cover was completely detached. I refused the deal as a result. 

I recently purchased a beautiful book with white pages. The comic is nearly 80 and is in fantastic shape, except for some light rust on the staples. The rust has yet to migrate to the paper, and the staples have retained their structural integrity.

From the standpoint of value, it will likely be best to leave the book alone in order to obtain the blue label. 

From the standpoint of long-term preservation, and from the standpoint of doing what's best to save the book, it might be prudent at this point to replace the staples with vintage, non-rusted examples. Rust is an irreversible process. Over the years, it will only get worse, even sitting inside of a slab. 

Does one allow the book to deteriorate out of greed, or does one conserve the book by replacing the staples? I assume such an action would warrant a conserved grey label if performed professionally with the correct staples? 

Also, how long would the rust really take to migrate? Another 20 or 30 years? 

How much of a hit does this sort of action take on the value of the book compared with a blue label? 

I almost feel a moral obligation to save the book, even if it would cost me an extra 10-20% in the long run. 

Lots to think about and discuss here, I think. What are you thoughts? 

Pictures available showing the staples and surrounding paper, please. As close and as focused as possible.

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Also, where will this book be stored, encasing in a CGC slab does not offer any better protection than proper storage in a Mylite and Acid Free board taking all storage conditions/factors into consideration.

https://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/paper.html

https://www.domtar.com/en/resources/paper-information/paper-insights-library/four-tips-proper-paper-handling-and-storage

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/03/02/cgc-insider-5-rusty-staples/

Also, this is from this thread...

"When I asked a comic restoration person about replacing the staples with rust migration, he told me if the rust migrated it's too late for replacement or cleaning. Even if you replace the staples, the rust is still in the paper and can possibly spread."

 

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22 hours ago, newshane said:

I almost feel a moral obligation to save the book, even if it would cost me an extra 10-20% in the long run. 

 

Here's an imperfectly similar situation (non-comic-book):

Years ago I bought an old Land Rover Series 11A for $5000.

The previous owners should have taken better care of it... I could have run it into the ground, and still gotten maybe $4000 for it.

But I really wanted to do a lot of work to it to make it look great and for it to drive better.

So I did... about $15K worth. Roof rack, winch, overdrive, new transmission, great yellow paint job. And my boys and I had some good times with it. :bigsmile:

Ten years later, I sold it for about $10K. New buyer was thrilled with it, which was nice. If I had it to do over, I'd probably do it again.

If you feel you'd get that kind of enjoyment from it, then sure, do it. But you certainly aren't required to right the previous wrongs (or, really, in your case, more like 'childhood usage mistakes') of the previous owners.

IMHO the only moral obligation you are under in buying and selling comics is to treat the other person in the transaction the way you'd want to be treated. :)2c

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216 posts

No, I don't believe there is any moral obligation to restore a comic you bought.

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I certainly feel the need to "work" on certain books for the sake of conservation.  They better deserve it though.  How often do you think the Mona Lisa gets a cleaning?

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that universal book with rusted staples wont get market value, and will take longer to sell in all liklihood than a conserved copy that got rid of the rusted staples and retained the grade.

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If the staples have a slight / moderate rust, but the book is now stored and protected in ideal conditions, will the rust ever then migrate and stain the pages? Pulling and replacing staples when everything is nice an intact, I'd rather not. Keep it how it is.

What comic is it?

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