- What exactly is comic book pressing?
- What exactly is dry cleaning as it relates to comics?
- Is pressing safe?
- How do you press a comic book?
- How long does comic book dry cleaning & pressing take?
- What is your turnaround time? How long until I can expect my books to be shipped back to me?
- When should a collector consider having a comic book pressed?
- Do third-party grading services like CGC, CBCS & PGX consider pressing and minor dry cleaning restoration?
- How can I tell if my comic is a good candidate for grading?
- What comic book condition is best for pressing?
- Does SinCityCollections submit comics to CGC or CBCS once they have been pressed/ cleaned.
- I am ready to submit my comics for pressing and cleaning (if needed)…what do I do?
- How much do your services cost?
What exactly is comic book pressing?
Simply put, comic book pressing is the application of heat and pressure (and in very rare cases, steam or humidity) with the goal of removing certain imperfections in comic books. A collector will have his/her comics pressed in order to try and improve the overall appearance of the comic, and in doing so, its value. This is especially useful when sending books out to companies like CGC, CBCS & PGX for grading.
What exactly is dry cleaning as it relates to comics?
Dry cleaning is a process that is used to remove excess dirt and pencil marks from the interior as well as front & rear covers of a comic book, particularly in the white areas. Dry cleaning means just that, no liquids (including water, peroxides and/or solvents) are introduced to the comic book during cleaning. Instead, gentle dry methods are used to remove as much dirt deposits from the book as possible. Dry cleaning will not remove tanning, stains, pen, marker, sun shadows or foxing.
It is particularly important that a book be thoroughly dry cleaned if steam or humidity is going to be introduced to the book during the pressing process in order to prevent the excess debris from liquifying & permanently staining the book.
Is pressing safe?
“…While there are no specific studies on comics, there is past research data regarding similar 20th century papers and inks. This data shows that there is a measurable correlation between exposure to heat and humidity and the effect on paper.
Effective pressing requires comics to be subjected to low levels of controlled heat or humidity. Applying the available data on newsprint and color inks, we suggest that the remaining lifespan of printed newsprint is reduced 57 days during pressing. This same data suggests that newsprint has a useful lifespan of approximately 50 years. The age and condition of the comic should be considered when applying this data, but assuming a comic which is 30 years old has 20 years of lifespan remaining, pressing reduces this by .008% (57 days.) A comic which is 45 years old has 5 years of lifespan remaining; pressing reduces this by .03% (57 days.)
In comparison, storing a typical book in an improper, uncontrolled environment may affect useful life at a rate of approximately 2% per year loss, if not more. To clarify the extremity of this, consider our useful lifespan of 50 years is reduced by an entire year for each year it is neglected, giving it a total of only 25 years of useful life if subjected to poor storage. It is well known that proper and controlled storage can ultimately extend the lifespan of any book, pressed or not – improper storage will ensure or accelerate the destruction of paper.
The assumption of a 50 year lifespan is problematic because it applies to newsprint alone; comic covers are a much higher quality paper and the book is treated while still assembled, so this will mitigate the effect of pressing, but there is no data for this kind of composite result. A typical comic collection is now in a controlled (if not ideal) environment, and it is not unusual to find comics well past 5o years in very nice condition, and with continued conscientious storage books may still double that lifespan. In this case, pressing may reduce a still remaining 5o year lifespan by only .003% (less than 4 months of a 100 years total useful life.) This ideal example, and any other pressed comic book, is far more affected by future storage and handling than by its one time pressing treatment.”
Heft, Tracey. “Is Pressing Safe?” Eclipse Paper Conservation. Allwebco Design & Hosting, 2010. May 1, 2014. http://www.eclipsepaper.com/pressing.htm
How do you press a comic book?
I have invested much time investigating and exploring the technique of comic book pressing. That being said, I would prefer not to reveal how I press and clean books. I can say, however, that I do not expose comic books to any chemicals or extremely high temperatures. Additionally, none of my dry cleaning methods are overly aggressive or would ever be considered Restoration by grading companies such as CGC, CBCS or PGX. I am extremely careful when handling comic books & always use gloves.
The actual process required to dry clean and press a single comic book usually only takes approximately 24 hours. If more significant dry cleaning or humidification is needed, or additional pressing is required, the turn around time will likely be longer. If a comic is heavily soiled, cleaning will often become quite time-consuming and require much more attention.
Due to the number of comic books that we are sent for grading, our typical turnaround time is 8-10 weeks. That said, we also offer upgraded grading tiers that allow for 5-week, or even 2-week, turnaround times as well.
Please see our Services & Pricing page for details.
When should a collector consider having a comic book pressed?
Comic book pressing should be considered anytime there is a desire to improve the overall condition of the book in question. This can either be for resale purposes, grading and encapsulation purposes or simply to improve the appearance of your collection at a minimal cost instead of spending time, money and effort in acquiring new, higher grade/better condition issues.
From the moment a comic book leaves the press, defects (both small and large) can occur to a comic which will result in a lowered appearance/lesser grade. While there might be some advantage in pressing books in any condition, the best results will usually be seen when pressing books that are already in better shape.
The kind of the damage that can be addressed utilizing these kinds of techniques is limited to non-color or non-image breaking defects such as light creases, slight surface dents & dings, light scratches, subtle folds, minor spine rolls, ripples or waves, light surface dirt & pencil marks, smudges, fingerprints & skin oils and other disruptions in surface gloss.
When you send your comic books into us to be pressed, each comic will be pre-screened for free in order to ensure that pressing is actually needed and would be suitable for each book.
Do third-party grading services like CGC, CBCS & PGX consider pressing and minor dry cleaning as restoration?
No, grading companies such as CGC, CBCS & PGX do not consider pressing or dry cleaning to be a form of restoration since, if done correctly, it is undetectable outside of the improved appearance.
PRESSABLE DEFECTS typically include the following problems & DO NOT break color: dents, bends, folds, light creases, minor spine wear/roll, impacted corners/edges, warping, ripples, waviness, stacking bends, light cover impressions, light dirt, and pencil marks.
NON-PRESSABLE DEFECTS typically include the following problems & DO break color: tears/chips or missing sections, stains, detached staples/staple tears, spine splits, fading, spine stress that break color, rusted staples/rust stains, rounded corners, pen/ ink stains, brown. brittle covers/pages.
What comic book condition is best for pressing?
Almost any book can benefit from being cleaned & pressed, however, higher grade books will obviously see the most improvement after being pressed simply because they usually have only minor defects (non-color breaking spine stress, dents, bends, etc.). That said, I have also seen some amazing results occur from pressing and cleaning lower grade books as well. Often times these books show a more dramatic improvement due to poor the starting condition.
SinCityCollections is an authorized CGC submission agent. We generally send books into CGC once we have at least 5 to ship, although we do send books to them at least once per month, regardless of quantity.
I am ready to submit my comics for pressing and cleaning (if needed)…what do I do?
Please email or call us to make dry cleaning & pressing arrangements, prior to sending your comic books to us!
- eMail: email@example.com
- Phone: (702) 570-3880
How much do your services cost?
Check out our Services & Pricing page for a complete breakdown of the services we offer as well as their corresponding prices.