Watch Your Thumbs!
Posted: 2/10/2002 by Steve Borock
Among the many advantages of seeing the thousands of books submitted to CGC, is that
you start to spot trends and patterns in the condition of books.
Weve all been doing it for years... when
you remove a book with a backing board from its mylar
sleeve or put it back in, you place your thumb at the
top middle of the book to hold it in place on the board
as you slide the book in or out.
Problem: As this process is repeated over and over
again, damage is developing in the top center area of
the cover of books. Look at the close-up picture and
youll see the developing thumb mark on this book
caused by the repetitive stress of gripping the book
at the same place many times.
From a grading standpoint we consider thumb damage
just as we would other types of stress damage such as
staple pulls, stress marks, creases, and fingerprints,
which when taken together can significantly effect a
books final CGC grade.
With care, this kind of damage can be avoided.
When removing or replacing books, hold them gently.
Let the weight of the book cause it to slide into the
sleeve instead of you shoving it in. Avoid wiggling
the book as youre inserting it. Be sure your hands
are clean and cool before handling books. Avoid mylars
that are overly tight for the size of your book. And,
consider not allowing anyone to handle your books that
you dont know as a careful hobbyist and that you
trust implicitly! The damage weve seen is across
Gold, Silver, Bronze and Modern age books, some of them
extremely valuable copies where this type of damage
can mean a difference of a grading point.