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Soaking cards and how to detect them by Kevin Saucier

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Soaking cards and how to detect them by Kevin Saucier Empty Soaking cards and how to detect them by Kevin Saucier

Post by sabrjay Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:39 pm


The subject of card soaking has and probably always will be a
topic of heated debate. It is considered by some to be altering a card,
others deem it perfectly acceptable and there are those who think it
lies somewhere in between, a so-called "gray area." Whatever the
decision, this will always be a questionable practice and up to the
individual collector.

Soaking consists of completely immersing a
card in water in an attempt to enhance the appearance.Soaking can be
done for various reasons; to remove excess paper or water based glue,
remove/reduce surface wrinkles, improve the look of creases, straighten
a slight corner bendorjust to spruce up the appearance and cleana
card.Although it is not suggested or implied that card soaking is an
acceptable practice, many collectors do it regularly. The procedure has
been posted on many public websites and it is not a closely guarded
secret. It is for that reason that a step-by-step guideline for soaking
a card is described below. Please note this is only one of many ways to
soak a card and several other tested variations are known to exist. It
is often done at great risk and the possibility of destroying any card
is always present. The procedure listed is for training purposes only
and should not be attempted without understanding the risks involved:

Grab a flat bowl or lid that fits your card. Make sure it's deeper than
your card and again, flat.

2) Diistilled water is preferred bymost and
can be purchased for a few bucks at most local markets. Contrary to
some beliefs, in some areas tap water works fine as well. Whatever the
choice, pour it into the container.

3) Now "the leap of faith." Put your
card in thewaterin one fail swoop, making sure it's completely
covered.Don't inch it in slowly or you run a slimchance of staining it.
Hold the card down with a finger or cotton swab and let the cardboard
soak up the water for a minute or so. The entire card must be immersed
even if a small corner is all that needs attention, if notit maystain.
It's all or nothing.

4) You can leave the card in for a few minutes or
up to several hours depending on the cardstock. Just make sure it's
saturated. (I soaked a card for three days and damaged it beyond
repair,I have also soaked on for a week with no problems).

Carefullyremove the card from the water.Since years of handling may
have caused soiling the card, it may be perfectly normal for the water
to look a little discolored or yellowed.

6) With a napkin standing by,
put the card in between and push gently todry upthe excess water
(pat-down stage).

7)At this point some will place the card in between
the pages of a large book but it may lead to the card warping if not
properly attended. Not only that but the book pages may warp as well.
Another method is to try the following:Put the card in between a
different napkin or double folded paper towel and place this in between
two smooth sided boards big enough to hold the card ina napkin. Put a
5lb weight or more on top. Since one gallon of water weighs about 8.35
lbs, you can use a filled gallon water container as your weight. Many
put the card between the pages of a heavy book, this willat times warp
the card. A very smooth 1" x 4" board works thebest. If you cut them 8"
long you can dry two cards at once. Stacked boards can dry as many as
six at one time.

8)Let it sit for about an hour, then put the card in
between a new napkin. Again, some prefer a double foldedpaper towel.
Putit back between the boards and place the weight back on top.

for a day and check the card. If the card is still a little damp, put
it in a new napkin and give it some more time.At some point thecardwill
dry,it should then becompletely flat and look brighter and cleaner with
vivid colors.

10) Taking the card out prematurely may lead to warping
orbending. If that happens, just re-soak.

Although it may be difficult
or virtually impossible to tell if a card has been soaked in water,
there are some clues that may be left behind. If the card has been
soaked too long small bubbles may develop on the pictures surface. It
may also become so clean that the natural tone may have been washed
off. This may give the card an overly clean, almost bleached look. This
will, of course have an affect on the edges as well. Under a halogen
light look at the edges for a loss of natural tone and a brighter than
normal appearance. Since the card was more than likely immersed in
water, the natural tone and clean look with be throughout the entire
card.Card doctors will often take advantage of the acceptable limits of
soaking granted by some and use it to make alterations. Look for
creases that may have been pressed down by some type of utensil or
devise. This can be on any part of the card or on one or more of the
corners. A card that has had a wrinkle or crease pressed out will often
have a shinny spot located on the cardboard surface. This is because
the fibers have also been pressed smooth by the weight of the devise.
Many collectors have concerns about these blemishes being removed
because there are instances where the surface wrinkle or crease has,
for some reason returned, at a later time. A card with just a small
wrinkle only visible under a light can have its value dramatically
reduced. Creases can reduce the value even further.Soaking can also
minimize the amount of any pencil lead and/or indentations of a card
that has been written on. Under the light, angle the card surface at
various positions and inspect the card for very light dents, pressure
points, faint writing or marks. Some types of glue and paper that may
be stuck to the surface can also be washed from a card. Examine the
card for dull or glossy spots left by glue residue. Check very closely
for any small scraps of paper that may still be adhered to the card or
actual loss off paper from the card itself where glue or tape may have
been removed or pulled off.

Kevin Saucier

Posts : 7818
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