• 0

Important information about storing comic books in fire proof/resistant safes
13 13

Question

sborock   
  • Member
  • 7,578 posts
  • Location: Franklin's Tower

It has come to CGC’s attention that certain safes may be harmful to comic books.

 

Over a year ago, CGC received a call from a collector stating that he had some books with rust growing on staples of a few comics. There had been no rust when he last saw the books. We asked that the owner send the books to CGC for inspection. When the books came in, we were very surprised to see extremely rusty staples that had not been rusted a few years prior. After a long investigation and with the help of the collector, we learned that rust could have developed because of the chemical compound used to make his safe fireproof or fire resistant. But because information was limited, at that time, we suspected that heavy moisture in the room where the safe was located contributed to the poor storage conditions for these books, not just the safe itself, since we have never heard of this happening before.

 

Just a few days ago, we received another call.

 

A collector, well-known to CGC, called to ask about the same problem affecting a single book. He was told to send his book in so that we could see it. After thinking about it that evening and remembering the “safe” incident from the year before, I called him the very next morning. I asked him if his comic was stored in a fireproof safe, and his answer was “yes.” I then asked him if it was a safe made by the same company. His answer again was, “yes.” Subsequent examination revealed that not just a single comic book was affected, but a few had rusted staples.

 

Coincidently, both reported incidents involved the same brand safes. We have strong reason to believe that ANY fireproof or fire resistant safe might create a harmful storage environment for your comics. Yesterday, we also learned that fireproof/fire resistant safes are prone to develop moisture. Many fire resistant safes contain insulation, which in turn, contains water crystals; thus the high content of moisture.

 

The collector who recently contacted us furthermore revealed this statement from the owner’s manual for his safe: “Inside of the safe is subject to humidity. If you wish to store stamps or other items which may be affected by moisture, place them in an air tight container before storing”.

 

If you have a fireproof or resistant safe, or if you are thinking about buying one, PLEASE do as much research as possible to determine if it can be harmful to non-precious metals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

219 answers to this question

  • 0
Jolly Roger-migration   
  • Member
  • 235 posts

I don't own a safe, but I use one frequently at work. I had thought it fairly common knowledge that a metal safe in not a dry environment. Most safes owners utilize silica gel packets to absorb moisture/humidity. More silica gel would be needed based upon the interior size of the safe in question. I don't know about the life of such packets, but I would recommend changing them regularly.

 

It sounds like the 2 collectors in the example did not take such precautions and paid the price for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


  • 0
OldGuy   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 16,446 posts
  • Location: Santa Fe

893scratchchin-thumb.gif Gun safes don't seem to have this problem. Guns will rust in a heartbeat, especially older guns.

 

No worries thought, my comics will burn, burn, burn if my house goes up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
blowout   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 12,347 posts
  • Location: Beyond The Horizon

 

No worries thought, my comics will burn, burn, burn if my house goes up!

 

If the house went up in flames, the last thing I would be worried about is my comics. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
comicseekers-migration   
  • Member
  • 4,013 posts
  • Location: California

 

No worries thought, my comics will burn, burn, burn if my house goes up!

 

If the house went up in flames, the last thing I would be worried about is my comics. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

Depends on what comics you own. Action #1-10 9.4 cloud9.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
divad   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 38,255 posts
  • Location: bolinas lagoon

 

No worries thought, my comics will burn, burn, burn if my house goes up!

 

If the house went up in flames, the last thing I would be worried about is my comics. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

Depends on what comics you own. Action #1-10 9.4 cloud9.gif

 

You obviously don't have children . . . 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
comicseekers-migration   
  • Member
  • 4,013 posts
  • Location: California

 

No worries thought, my comics will burn, burn, burn if my house goes up!

 

If the house went up in flames, the last thing I would be worried about is my comics. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

Depends on what comics you own. Action #1-10 9.4 cloud9.gif

 

You obviously don't have children . . . 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

you're right, in that case Detectives 1-27 devil.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Darthdiesel   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 14,652 posts
  • Location: Centreville, VA

Thanks for the good info Steve. I'm wondering if the OVERuse of dessicants such as silica gel might in any way possibly be detrimental to current condition of the comic? Probably not, I'd think. confused-smiley-013.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Warlord   
  • Member
  • 7,579 posts
I don't own a safe, but I use one frequently at work. I had thought it fairly common knowledge that a metal safe in not a dry environment. Most safes owners utilize silica gel packets to absorb moisture/humidity. More silica gel would be needed based upon the interior size of the safe in question. I don't know about the life of such packets, but I would recommend changing them regularly.

 

It sounds like the 2 collectors in the example did not take such precautions and paid the price for it.

 

I've got a fire resistant metal safe and have several LARGE dessicant packs inside it. They've been in there for, oh, at least 10 years. Also there's some other thick sheet of stiff paper-ish material with text on it instructing the owner to keep that inside. Metal items inside the safe have not rusted in all that time. The packs came with the safe! thumbsup2.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Ringfinger   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 12,068 posts
  • Location: Buffalo, NY

Man, better check for the rusty staple!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Scheradon   
  • Member
  • 4,969 posts
  • Location: Back Home Finally!

This may explain what happened to me. I had a 1980 Pittsburg Steelers unopened beer can that I had just stored on my bookshelf for years, then after I got my fireproof safe, I put it in there with some other valuables including one raw comic. As bad luck would have it, I discovered the can possibly due to slight rust along the seam, split slightly open and leaked the contents. My one comic was the only thing to get affected by the leakage. Lessen quickly learned there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Ares   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 27,130 posts
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
This may explain what happened to me. I had a 1980 Pittsburg Steelers unopened beer can that I had just stored on my bookshelf for years, then after I got my fireproof safe, I put it in there with some other valuables including one raw comic. As bad luck would have it, I discovered the can possibly due to slight rust along the seam, split slightly open and leaked the contents. My one comic was the only thing to get affected by the leakage. Lessen quickly learned there.

Its was the Iron man issue where Tony becomes an alcoholic wasnt it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
skybolt   
  • Member
  • 6,215 posts
  • Location: Chicago, IL

Steve,

 

Have any collectors had problems with storing their CGC graded books inside safety deposit boxes at banks?

 

As far as fire proof safes are concerned, I still remember watching a Judge Wapner People's Court episode where a comic collector was suing the safe manufacturer for the same problem described above. The guy's ASM #1 (among 24 other books) had either stained or had rusted staples because of the moisture within the safe. Since Wapner had no clue about how the comic book's condition had worsened, he dismissed the case and ruled in favor of the safe owner. This episode was at least 15 years ago, but I've always been weary of safes since that day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Norinn Radd   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 17,597 posts
  • Location: David

What if you could rig a humidor to be low temperature and low humidity (and low oxygen level)? 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

 

[Just a thought I've had for a while.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
topofthetotem   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 13,966 posts
  • Location: The land of Canada

I keep money in my safe! along with a 9mm pistol and a .22 cal snub nose. No rust on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Forbush-Man   
  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • 39,196 posts
  • Location: SECRET MOD 007
As far as fire proof safes are concerned, I still remember watching a Judge Wapner People's Court episode where a comic collector was suing the safe manufacturer for the same problem described above. The guy's ASM #1 (among 24 other books) had either stained or had rusted staples because of the moisture within the safe. Since Wapner had no clue about how the comic book's condition had worsened, he dismissed the case and ruled in favor of the safe owner.

 

 

Damn you, Judge Wapner! sumo.gifsign-rantpost.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
CW   
  • Member
  • 1,895 posts
  • Location: S.F.

Gun safes don't seem to have this problem. Guns will rust in a heartbeat, especially older guns.

True but your average gun owner knows to keep guns well oiled. This can make all the difference between rust and no rust even in higher humidity. I don't know of any comic collectors who oil the staples of their comics. Well maybe that guy who is selling the X-men #1.(See personal lube thread in general. Insert puking graemlin here)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
richnerd   
  • Member
  • 3,692 posts
  • Location: IN
This may explain what happened to me. I had a 1980 Pittsburg Steelers unopened beer can that I had just stored on my bookshelf for years, then after I got my fireproof safe, I put it in there with some other valuables including one raw comic. As bad luck would have it, I discovered the can possibly due to slight rust along the seam, split slightly open and leaked the contents. My one comic was the only thing to get affected by the leakage. Lessen quickly learned there.

 

Yes but did you drink rest of the beer??

 

Oh and go STEELERS!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
underthebigw   
  • Member
  • 2,641 posts
  • Location: Somewhere between Boston & NY
hm Gun safes don't seem to have this problem. Guns will rust in a heartbeat, especially older guns.

 

No worries thought, my comics will burn, burn, burn if my house goes up!

 

Actually, gun owners can have this problem and it is fairly common to use dessicants, such as silica gel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
underthebigw   
  • Member
  • 2,641 posts
  • Location: Somewhere between Boston & NY
Thanks for the good info Steve. I'm wondering if the OVERuse of dessicants such as silica gel might in any way possibly be detrimental to current condition of the comic? Probably not, I'd think. confused-smiley-013.gif

 

Hey, Darth. You are correct.

 

Theoretically, silica gel should be conditioned to maintain a desirable RH. Too much silica gel not properly conditioned will not only suck the moisture out of the air, but paper as well. It is not only used for conservation work, but dried flower arrangers use it to completely dry out flowers and plants. The same effect can happen with paper, it's just less noticeable.

 

By the way, there's not easy way to figure out how to condition silica gel. Instead, there's a great product called Art Sorb that is pre-conditioned. It also costs a small fortune.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
13 13

  • Welcome! Sign up and jump in!

    Membership and use of the boards is FREE! The knowledge available on these boards about comic collecting is an amazing resource for less experienced collectors, and a great place to talk about expert topics with others who can appreciate it for the more experienced collectors. We hope that you find what you came looking for here, but more than that, we hope you find your new comic collecting home.

    After you sign up, introduce yourself! We'd love to know more about your collecting.

  • Upcoming Events

    • 22 October 2017 02:00 PM Until 08:00 PM
      0  
      On October 22nd join us from 10-4 at the Hasbrouck Heights Holiday Inn, 283 Rt 17 South (directly on the highway).for the ONLY comicon in Bergen County, NJ! Access from Rts 3, 46, 80, the GSP and the NJ Tpk is quick and easy!
       
      Admission is only $3, or buy 5 show passes that can be used at either of our hotel shows for only $10 (Admission is still free for kids under 12 and non-collecting partners). Parking is on site, easy and free.
       
      We'll have tons of comics as always! Your favorite dealers will be there, including some that ONLY do this show…  And our good friend Bob Fox returns!
       
      Our notorious no minimum bid auction is at noon.  Bob Fox pulled a complete but crispy Hulk 181 from the rubble of the home he lost to the fire... it will be featured in the auction.
       
      More info is on our website at http://www.njcomicbookshows.com
       
      “Like us” on Facebook at NJ Comic Book Shows
       
      NJ’s ONLY monthly comicons since 1991!
       
      Seeya at the show!
      JP
      Other upcoming shows:
      Clifton 11/12
      Old Bridge 11/26
      Clifton 12/10
      Wayne 12/17
    • 29 October 2017 06:00 PM Until 30 October 2017 12:00 AM
      2  
      12th Vancouver Comic and Toy Show. 2 sold out halls with over 11,500 square feet of vintage and new comics, pop culture, toys, Star Wars, cosplay, and $1 blow out comics. Croatian Cultural Center at 3250 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC. $8 general admission, kids under 13 free admission. Free parking or walk from Broadway skytrain station. Top door prizes will be two (2) $100 comics/toy gift cards. Local comic guests to be announced. More info and updates at Vancouver Comic Show & pics .