Putting OA in Toploaders - Concerns?
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17 posts in this topic

So, I have my unframed OA in toploaders, but my concern is the possibility of ink lifting off the page onto the inside of the toploader after long-term storage. Honestly, I didn't think about it until I had recently pulled a book from a toploader that been in there since the late 90's. When I pulled it out, I could hear it peeling from the inside and it did leave a light ink impression that lifted it from the book.

I know a lot of people store pages in portfolios, but my guess is that that will also cause the same issue long term as well.

I spoke with Gator about his method of storing pages (which was insightful) - looking at his OA, it appears that he uses a black mat over the art to create a 1/32" gap between the paper and the outer bag - so that there is nothing touching the surface of the art. Not sure if this was by design, or just a benefit of matting and bagging the OA.

Any comments as to putting OA in toploaders?

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Top loaders are not safe for long term storage. They are not acid free and will harm the art eventually. I use Mylars or portfolios to store my unframed art. I know some folks who have had art in portfolios for a very long time with no ill effect, but I'm not sure of the specific risks.

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Toploaders always seem to generate a lot of static/cling for some reason (Don't know the science behind it, just my experience), I don't think you'd get the same clinging effect from leaving art in a portfolio and especially from leaving art in a mylar bag. The comic book you had was just raw in the top loader, not in a bag/board within the toploader?

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On 11/19/2022 at 3:45 PM, Dr. Balls said:

I just picked up a few Itoyas, so I’m going to try that. I’m trying to find that happy medium  of being able to store my art, look at it and make sure it doesn’t get damaged long term in a way that I like and doesn’t seem cluttered. Portfolios might be the way to go for me.

Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place. I had put away some art years ago, and basically forgot about it (I thought it had been destroyed). The art was in cheap plastic frames and glass. I found it about 20 years later. While one piece had a little yellowing, it otherwise survived nicely. One of them is my avatar, and that was done with markers. Not a recommended approach, but the surrounding conditions really mattered.

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Short term for transport/protection is all I would consider. Paul Pelletier ships in them which I keep around for short term needs. One caveat - if you have art with paste ups, you might not want to use as it can pull word balloons, etc. off

I would recommend mylar - better for the art, and it looks better

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On 11/21/2022 at 4:36 PM, JadeGiant said:

Short term for transport/protection is all I would consider. Paul Pelletier ships in them which I keep around for short term needs. One caveat - if you have art with paste ups, you might not want to use as it can pull word balloons, etc. off

I would recommend mylar - better for the art, and it looks better

Yes. Toploaders can have sharp edges and can be a tight fit. I sometimes use them for transport and noticed one was chipping off a tiny amount of white out on a page as it was going in. I don't really bother with them much now since that happened.

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Don't use them, at all.

Storing art in portfolios will absolutely not result in the same issues - putting them in toploaders is a more guaranteed way of trying to cause damage though. From causing unintended damage because of how tight the opening is, so getting art in and out of them, to how they retain moisture. 

On 11/19/2022 at 8:45 PM, Dr. Balls said:

I just picked up a few Itoyas, so I’m going to try that. I’m trying to find that happy medium  of being able to store my art, look at it and make sure it doesn’t get damaged long term in a way that I like and doesn’t seem cluttered. Portfolios might be the way to go for me.

I definitely recommend checking out the Itoya Advantage line over the Profolio, as they present beautifully (as a much stronger/cleaner kind of plastic is used); get a 13x19, not a 11x17 (as pages tend to be way too snug and will sit kind of wavy once you fill it up); and something I do with the art I want to flip through and keep in a portfolio is put the art into a plastic sleeve, with a piece of thin cut to size mat board (that's archival, acid-free, yadayada), not as a mount but to act as a backing board; and centered on the black lining paper with framing corners (to stop the art shifting around and add to that presentation feel).

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Got the portfolios in, and I like how everything fits in them. I got 11x17s and they fit nice, but I am also going to try the suggestion of a 13x19" (thanks barneythecantankerous) and see how those looks (I have some oversize art anyway. They present well, especially DPS. Plus, reasonably priced. I paid more for 50 toploaders than I did for 3 11x17 portfolios. :mad:

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This thread finally inspired me to reorganize my Itoyas and move some pieces that had been sitting in toploaders for a long time.  Now I only have two really large over-sized pieces that I had to keep in toploaders because they didn't fit in my existing Itoyas.

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I always wondered about this... when you go to a dealer's booth at a con, you see plenty of high end OA in toploaders. It seems like the most expensive pieces. Are the dealers really moving art from Itoyas to toploaders and back to Itoyas for every show? That seems like a lot of touches on the art because it can be a bit fussy inserting and taking out art from a toploader. Or are dealers keeping these pieces in toploaders year round?

Edited by PixelPusher
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I have all my DPS' in large top loaders going on near 20 years for some. No issues , but i do replace the loaders every few years. Also i join 2 art size acid free fullbacks together and place behind the art. Ordered a huge amount of those custom cut boards 12 years back from gerber.

All my non double page art is in mylar w/fullbacks or myler inserted into portfolio sleeves. 

Edited by MAR1979
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On 12/5/2022 at 12:56 AM, PixelPusher said:

I always wondered about this... when you go to a dealer's booth at a con, you see plenty of high end OA in toploaders. It seems like the most expensive pieces. Are the dealers really moving art from Itoyas to toploaders and back to Itoyas for every show? That seems like a lot of touches on the art because it can be a bit fussy inserting and taking out art from a toploader. Or are dealers keeping these pieces in toploaders year round?

I'd love to hear an answer to this - as I also believe that handling the art repeatedly would cause a lot of future problems with skin oils, dirty hands, etc.

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