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Old 11-02-2020, 04:59 PM
Econteachert205 Econteachert205 is offline
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Default Star basketball sealed set discussion

Hi again. I thought it might be useful to talk about an experience I had with a sealed star set.

Since I've gotten back into star basketball my purchases have been sealed sets. My rationale was a combo of value and investment. There are three different types of bagged sets that I know of. The 1983 all star set which is essentially tight shrink wrap making corners condition sensitive and most other sets are either one of two variations of heat seal bags, looser or more form fitting.

Up to this point the bagged sets I had bought were in good shape with the plastic still being supple and clear. Then I received a set today that was my inspiration for writing this.

As many star collectors know the backs are susceptible to toning/browning. This experience gave me insight as to why and what it may mean for certain card values.

The bag I bought was an 86 Sixers, bought for the Barkley and Erving but had no intention to open. Upon receiving the bag (which was priced very low), I immediately noticed the browning on the bag, it's crispiness (dry plastic) and the toning on the back card (Leon Wood). Most, not all, but most star bags are the same sequence always. The front card (Mo Cheeks) also had one thin stripe down the back edge with significant toning as well.

I considered my options, and decided to try wiping the outside of the plastic to see if the surface dirt would remove. That's when the whole seal gave way, and believe me, I was being careful. It was so brittle.

At that point I was stuck and decided to take a look at the cards. Luckily for me, the Barkley and Erving are absolutely beautiful, with the tiniest amount of toning on Barkley but nothing significant.

From the original listing I could tell the bag had some age to it, but up close the fragility was much more obvious.

Long story short here was some of what I learned.
1. The first and last cards in a bag (especially the last/back card) are the best indicators to the health/condition of the bag)
2. These bags definitely had bad reactions to temperature, sunlight or both
3 sealed bags that have survived are of a fairly low number. Remember most star sets were only produced in numbers between 3500-10000.
4. Toning on these cards are good indicators of authenticity. This could be especially important with the Jordan's featured as front/back cards.
5. When buying sealed bags, don't be lulled into a false sense of security about condition and check scans closely.

While I will still continue to look for/ buy sealed bags, this experience has definitely pushed me back toward looking at graded singles. Given the low print runs and numbers with damage/issues, high graded singles are likely the safest long term bet and not subject to the problems of deterioration bags face.

Unanswered questions:
1. What exact factors cause these reactions in the bags?
2. What role does time play, and does it mean that certain bagged sets should be opened to protect the cards?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg star3.jpg (73.6 KB, 83 views)
File Type: jpg star2.jpg (73.0 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg star1.jpg (67.0 KB, 83 views)
File Type: jpg star4.jpg (71.1 KB, 83 views)
File Type: jpg star5.jpg (69.1 KB, 83 views)

Last edited by Econteachert205; 11-02-2020 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 11-02-2020, 05:03 PM
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Exhibitman Exhibitman is offline
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The only time I've seen polyethylene roached like that is with exposure to water and heat. #9 looks moisture-stained, not browned.
At ten all I thought about was card collecting. At twenty all I thought about was women. At thirty all I thought about was success. At forty all I thought about was money. Now all I think about is retirement...because all I want to think about is card collecting!

Last edited by Exhibitman; 11-02-2020 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 11-02-2020, 05:10 PM
Econteachert205 Econteachert205 is offline
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They came from Florida so that makes sense. Up close the wood shows no physical signs of water damage other than the discoloration.

Last edited by Econteachert205; 11-02-2020 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 11-06-2020, 02:22 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: eastern Mass.
Posts: 6,588

I'd go with heat too. Like if it spent a bunch of time on a flea market dealers table, and florida gets pretty hot.

There's different types of Poly, and I don't have a Star bag. But I will say that regular penny sleeves will become too brittle to touch after a few years of sun exposure. They'll actually protect the card from fading, which is sort of cool.

I'm not sure how sealed the bags are, but if they're totally sealed, then whatever air was in there when they were packed is what will still be there years later. If they were packed humid (or even realtivly dry) the cards have a water content. Heat makes the water evaporate, then the AC in the car on the way home condenses it. I had that happen with a cheap small set of cards I bought from a guy who did his own bag sealing. bought on a day that was around 100, got it home and there was water in the bag. It was only a $1 set of junk, so it wasn't that annoying.
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