Avoiding PLOD for Mystic #5?
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The cover and every interior wrap were completely split, staples were missing and paper was getting brittle. As a sort of experiment, I’ve tried to do enough to save the book while avoiding a “restored” label — hoping for “conserved” instead. So, the ONLY things done were leaf-casting a new spine for everything, and reassembling it all with two vintage staples. Would this be enough to do the trick? I remain genuinely puzzled about CGC’s distinctions in this area, having seen some books that I’d swear warranted a grey label but got purple for no obvious reason…

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Edited by Grottu
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In theory I could see this being conserved, though I have a feeling simply due to the amount of needed leaf casting will be what pushes it out into restored territory. I have had books conserved before that CGC initially said would be fine conserved, but once graded they decided the amount of work done was slightly more than expected and thus deserved restoration classification (in my case it was reinforcing both cover wrap and centrefolds, on each side of the wraps)

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I suspect that would be restored, not conserved, but that's a personal guess.  Genuinely curious how much it would cost to get somebody to do something like this... I've got a Venus 18 in similar condition (it still has staples and a couple inner wraps are still connected)  where it would probably be well worth getting done, even if it did qualify as restored.

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On 11/6/2021 at 3:12 PM, Sauce Dog said:

In theory I could see this being conserved, though I have a feeling simply due to the amount of needed leaf casting will be what pushes it out into restored territory. I have had books conserved before that CGC initially said would be fine conserved, but once graded they decided the amount of work done was slightly more than expected and thus deserved restoration classification (in my case it was reinforcing both cover wrap and centrefolds, on each side of the wraps)

Interesting. Where that line is, between the two classifications, feels very subjective and I suppose in some sense it needs to be.

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On 11/6/2021 at 4:07 PM, OtherEric said:

I suspect that would be restored, not conserved, but that's a personal guess.  Genuinely curious how much it would cost to get somebody to do something like this... I've got a Venus 18 in similar condition (it still has staples and a couple inner wraps are still connected)  where it would probably be well worth getting done, even if it did qualify as restored.

No idea what others would charge. I’m crazy enough to do this stuff myself as a hobby, and it took quite awhile doing every wrap, plus the brittleness was a big X factor in determining whether the leaf-casting succeeded. To my pleasant surprise, it did. Would love to see pix of the Venus 18!

Edited by Grottu
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On 11/6/2021 at 1:57 PM, Grottu said:

No idea what others would charge. I’m crazy enough to do this stuff myself as a hobby, and it took quite awhile doing every wrap, plus the brittleness was a big X factor in determining whether the leaf-casting succeeded. To my pleasant surprise, it did. Would love to see pix of the Venus 18!

Just happy I have a copy at all these days, at least it’s readable (with extreme care).  Really wish Marvel would release a second masterworks volume finishing the run:

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On 11/6/2021 at 5:10 PM, OtherEric said:

Just happy I have a copy at all these days, at least it’s readable (with extreme care).  Really wish Marvel would release a second masterworks volume finishing the run:

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Wow, that Everett cover is just a stunner. Congrats. Leaf-casting is certainly doable, in my opinion, and the only question would be how far you’d want to go into the restoration zone. Beyond the spine, the missing chips on the cover could all be filled in, and because they are limited to mostly plain areas (black/green in upper right and blank on the inside), color touch would be relatively easy for someone who knows what they’re doing.

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On 11/6/2021 at 4:28 PM, NotOnDrugs said:

Is leaf-casting considered conservation or restoration?

Depends on what it’s used for. If it’s to reinforce the structural integrity of the book, and no other “cosmetic” or chemical enhancements have been used, it should be considered conservation — although there seems to be some thought that too much of it could tip into restoration.

Edited by Grottu
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Am I the only one who thinks it is insane that you can artificially create a spine for a book and that is conservation, but if you trim off a hanging corner, it is restored. Even on the exact same book.

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On 11/10/2021 at 8:48 AM, shadroch said:

Am I the only one who thinks it is insane that you can artificially create a spine for a book and that is conservation, but if you trim off a hanging corner, it is restored. Even on the exact same book.

Don't get me started. The distinctions drive me nuts. At its most basic, conservation is stabilizing an artifact or artwork in a way that is reversible; restoration is returning the object as close to its original appearance as possible. So, removing anything for appearance's sake (trimming) wouldn't be conservation. What I don't quite get is the general aversion in comic collecting to restoring books that otherwise would never rise above a poor or fair grade (my personal practice is to not monkey around with books above a 1.5). In high-end art collecting, restored paintings are valued and accepted as routine.

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Imagine if the Sistine Chapel was given a PLOD and it's value crashed 80%?   I think when Steve B gets around to writing his autobiography, that putting restored books in a different color label will be his biggest regret.

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On 11/10/2021 at 8:10 AM, Grottu said:

Don't get me started. The distinctions drive me nuts. At its most basic, conservation is stabilizing an artifact or artwork in a way that is reversible; restoration is returning the object as close to its original appearance as possible. So, removing anything for appearance's sake (trimming) wouldn't be conservation. What I don't quite get is the general aversion in comic collecting to restoring books that otherwise would never rise above a poor or fair grade (my personal practice is to not monkey around with books above a 1.5). In high-end art collecting, restored paintings are valued and accepted as routine.

There is something of a distinction between art collecting and comic collecting insofar as art work (especially at the "fine art" level) is comprised of unique (or very nearly so) works. That's rarely the case with comics. In comic collecting (as with philately, numismatics, and many similar hobbies), some copies have been preserved in a better state than others and that makes the better-preserved items more valuable. I think that there eventually needs to be some better-standardized determination of what processes are considered acceptable conservation to maintain the quality of books that are faced with autocatalytic decay processes (in particular, the nearly inevitable decay of certain types of paper). But I think that comparing comic restoration -- that is to say, processes that turn back the clock on already-accumulated defects -- with art restoration fails to appreciate the differences between the properties.

On 11/10/2021 at 7:48 AM, shadroch said:

Am I the only one who thinks it is insane that you can artificially create a spine for a book and that is conservation, but if you trim off a hanging corner, it is restored. Even on the exact same book.

Although I'm pretty opposed to restoration in most cases, I'm in favor of certain conservation techniques, books that are both historically important and likely to degrade without conservatory work (which covers many -- as the years pass, increasingly so -- GA books in particular). However, I believe that the standard for the conservation label should have been the use of fully reversible archival conservation methods. I... do not agree with leaf casting as a "conservation" method.

Really, I think CGC's distinction between restoration and conservation is a good idea, but they really needed to do a better job bright-lining the distinctions.

To my personal dismay, my opinions on the matter are not taken as edicts by everyone else. :sorry:

 

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On 11/10/2021 at 5:31 PM, Qalyar said:

There is something of a distinction between art collecting and comic collecting insofar as art work (especially at the "fine art" level) is comprised of unique (or very nearly so) works. That's rarely the case with comics. In comic collecting (as with philately, numismatics, and many similar hobbies), some copies have been preserved in a better state than others and that makes the better-preserved items more valuable. I think that there eventually needs to be some better-standardized determination of what processes are considered acceptable conservation to maintain the quality of books that are faced with autocatalytic decay processes (in particular, the nearly inevitable decay of certain types of paper). But I think that comparing comic restoration -- that is to say, processes that turn back the clock on already-accumulated defects -- with art restoration fails to appreciate the differences between the properties.

Although I'm pretty opposed to restoration in most cases, I'm in favor of certain conservation techniques, books that are both historically important and likely to degrade without conservatory work (which covers many -- as the years pass, increasingly so -- GA books in particular). However, I believe that the standard for the conservation label should have been the use of fully reversible archival conservation methods. I... do not agree with leaf casting as a "conservation" method.

Really, I think CGC's distinction between restoration and conservation is a good idea, but they really needed to do a better job bright-lining the distinctions.

To my personal dismay, my opinions on the matter are not taken as edicts by everyone else. :sorry:

 

Comic books are sort of a unicorn among collectibles. Unlike text-heavy ephemera, or objects that are essentially two-dimensional -- baseball cards, coin, stamps -- they're booklets filled with pages of artwork (which makes slabbing weirdly inappropriate, since you can no longer appreciate what's inside them). I think that makes the issue of restoration fraught and complicated. You make a good case for distinguishing them from fine art. And I certainly agree that unrestored anything should command greater value. However, I would suggest that because a given comic is not unique -- that multiple copies were printed and are in circulation -- actually argues in favor of restoring only those that are in the worst condition, particularly if it saves them from deterioration in the process. But I respect and understand thoughtful objections to it.

I do have to quibble with your take on leaf-casting. It is actually the most reversible form of piece fill (re-wet it and it simply sloughs off, leaving the original paper unaffected), and is widely accepted by archivists as the preferred method of conserving paper artifacts.
Edited by Grottu
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On 11/10/2021 at 6:55 PM, Grottu said:

ou make a good case for distinguishing them from fine art.

I don't think any comparisons to fine are is of any value when discussing comic conservation/restoration, it would be better to compare it to other non-unique collectibles - in this case my go to is movie posters and lobby cards. These were printed in abundance as well, had a public circulation (at least being sent to theatres and handled often for setup and storage), and outside a few enthusiasts it wasn't something the general public collected and saved. Unlike baseball cards or other 'flat' paper items these often were folded for storage and handling, so you did have some level of 'interaction' with them that would impact the object. The restoration and conservation in this area is much less stigmatized and in fact often encouraged - as these are items that were meant to be displayed and so the goal is to have one that looks as close to how it would have in a theatre as possible. 

The big issue is that CGC went with only the word RESTORATION when it first came out, with no distinction between that and Conservation - something that has established standards in the industry. 

 

Edited by Sauce Dog
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