Comic Book Sleeves For Large Collections

October 10, 2023

(Image courtesy Dustin Walker/FB. Protect old comics with comic book sleeves.)

When I was a child, a friend of my older brother gifted me several boxes of his old comic books. OK, it was actually a gift for myself and my other younger brothers, but I saw it as a gift for me. We got about 300 comic books and none of them were in protective comic book sleeves, which was a concept that I never thought about until I became a teen.

Almost all of those comics are in good reading condition today, but they are yellowing and beginning to become brittle. I put them in comic book sleeves long ago, but by that point, the damage had already been done.

Comic Book Sleeves 101

Comic book paper, like all kinds of paper, is made from plant matter. After plant matter is pulped into paper products such products become extremely fragile and brittle over time. If you are old enough to remember buying a newspaper every day, then you understand this point even if you don’t understand the science.

If you have ever kept piles of newspaper in a corner or closet, then you should remember how quickly they yellowed in aesthetics, became brittle, and began disintegrating within months or a year or two. (I’m a writer and I have done this before.)

Until the 2000s, comic book paper was always printed on the cheapest types of paper pulp. Prior to 2008 before the first Iron Man film was made, comic books were seen as being for children mostly. And investors selling comic books for millions of dollars was seen as a rarity when it wasn’t.

Whether you want to protect a large comic book collection for sentimental or investment purposes, you should always bag them in comic book sleeves with protective backing boards. This is especially true if you have a large collection of comics numbering the hundreds or thousands. Unprotected comic book paper can disintegrate within years or decades depending on the severity of exposure to the elements.

If you have a large comic book collection or were recently gifted one, then you will need hundreds of comic book sleeves at once to protect them. You will learn about three comic book sleeve brands that manufacturers sell in bulk at reasonable prices.

Firstly, here is what you need to know about why it is important to protect large comic book collections from the elements.

How Comic Book Paper Self Destructs

In January 2022, a copy of Action Comics #1 sold for over $3.18 million. It’s the fourth largest price ever paid for a single comic book. There are many reasons why collectors and investors pay such sums for a comic book.

For one thing, it’s old. Action Comics #1 was printed in 1938 as World War II was beginning. The older and rarer a comic book is, the more valuable it becomes. But that is not always the case as Batman and Booster Gold comic books published 20 or 30 years ago became valuable when they were announced as the source materials for upcoming DCU films.

For another, a pristine and perfect copy of an issue of Action Comics #1 is rare. You may have heard about book burnings in the news recently, but it is not a new activity. The government believed that comic books caused moral depravity in children and many people staged public burnings of comic books in the early and mid-20th century. These moral panic episodes made comics like Action Comics #1 even more rare.

What really makes early 20th-century comics rare is that they were printed on the cheapest kinds of paper stock possible. This is a problem inherent even in the best-quality paper stock.

The wood pulp that is used in paper and food products is called cellulose. (Look on the ingredient list of toothpaste and food products – check for yourself. Cellulose is used as a filler in many food products. Your parmesan cheese is mainly dried cellulose filling.) The two most abundant elements in plants are cellulose and lignin.

Lignin is an organic polymer in wood that provides structural support in wood. Lignin makes cellulose and wood fibers feel sturdy and rigid. When wood is pulped into paper, lignin is exposed to the elements.

When paper is exposed to sunlight, heat, oxygen, and exposed bare to the elements for long periods of time the lignin will start causing the paper to become yellow, brittle, acidic, and then slowly deteriorate. This process can take years or decades depending on the severity of exposure.

If you have a large comic book collection then you need to do everything possible to protect it. Here are three manufacturers who sell comic book sleeves in bulk at affordable prices.

Leffis 100 Comic Books Sleeves and Cardboard Backing Boards

Leffis transparent acid free reuseable bags

Leffis sells 100 comic book sleeves that are acid-free, meaning that the sleeves are coated with 3% calcium carbonate to help slow the lignin deterioration process and to prevent UV light from fading the comic book.

Even though these comic book sleeves are made from polypropylene, a less durable plastic product than Mylar, the acid-free coating will help protect your comics longer.

This product is designed to store Modern Age comic books. Here are the dimensions of the product: 7.2 X 10.5 inches – Boards: 6.5 x 10.5 inches

You also get 100 cardboard backing boards to add extra protection for your comic books.

Get it now at Amazon for $21.07.

Kosiz 200 Transparent Comic Book Sleeves

Kosiz Transparent Protector Resealable

Kosiz is a manufacturer that sells 200-count comic book sleeves made from polypropylene. While polypropylene is not as good as Mylar, which lasts longer, it is good enough to protect a large collection for a few years while you assess its value.

This is a great product to get if you need to protect a large collection at short notice.

Here are the dimensions of the product: ‎13.89 x 9.17 x 0.79 inches

Get it now at Amazon for $16.19.

Citadel Collectibles Archival Quality Comic Book Sleeves (300-Count)

Comic book bags collector bundle

The manufacturer states that each sleeve is coated with 3% calcium carbonate and is made of a high-quality polymer plastic without specifically stating that it is Mylar. Archival-quality comic book sleeves are usually made of Mylar or similar materials.

These comic book sleeves are designed to store comic books published in the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Ages.

Here are the product dimensions: 13 x 8 x 1.5 inches

Get it now for $29.99 at Amazon.

Conclusion: Mylar Vs. Polypropylene

Mylar is a plastic that is used by the American Library of Congress to store papers because it is designed to last 150 years or more before needing to be replaced. Polypropylene comic book sleeves are made from a cheaper plastic that might last anywhere between three to five years. It may last longer if you keep them in airtight containers and away from light.

If you will invest in Mylar, use it for your most valuable comic books. Use polypropylene sleeves to store your sentimental and less valuable comic books.

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