Baseball cards are a cherished collectible for many people. One of the biggest issues collectors face is creases in their cards. Over time, cards can develop creases from being folded, bent, or improperly stored. While creases are unsightly and can lower a card’s value, there are some things collectors can do to try and prevent or minimize creasing.

One of the primary causes of creases is improper storage. Cards that are just loose in boxes are prone to getting bent or folded. It’s important for collectors to store their cards in protective holders like sleeves, toploaders, or binder pages. Sleeves and toploaders are soft plastic sheets that fully encase each individual card. They protect the edges and surfaces from accidental bumps or pressure that could lead to creasing. Binder pages have stiff cardboard backs to keep cards flat without bending. Storing cards in these protective holders is one of the best ways to prevent creases from occurring during regular handling and storage.


Another storage mistake is stacking loose cards on top of each other in boxes. The weight of the cards above can put pressure on the edges over time and cause creases. It’s safer to store cards in standing position so there is no weight on the edges. Collectors should also be careful when removing cards from protective holders. Applying pressure to the edges when pulling a card out can potentially crease it. It’s better to grasp cards firmly from the center or corners to avoid putting stress on the edges.

Even with protective storage, older baseball card collections are still at risk of having creased cards due to the sheer amount of time that has passed. The plastics and materials used in older card production were not as durable as modern cards. Over several decades, the cardboard substrates could weaken and become more prone to bending. For valuable vintage cards, collectors may consider sending problem creases to a professional grading service for restoration.


Professional restoration involves a process called “creasing” where experts carefully steam the creased area and manipulate the bend back into a flat position. The restored area is then reinforced to prevent future bending. While restoration does not remove all evidence of the crease, it can significantly improve the condition and raise the card’s grade when slabbed and certified by a reputable company. Restoration is generally only cost-effective for high-end vintage cards worth hundreds or thousands of dollars due to the fees involved.

For more common cards with minor creases, collectors have a few DIY options. One method is to carefully place the creased area of the card between the pages of a heavy book and leave it under pressure for an extended period of time. The weight of the book applies steady pressure over time to gradually flatten the crease. Another technique involves using a clothes steamer on the creased section on both sides while gently flattening with fingertips. Both methods take patience, but the heat and pressure can relax the cardboard enough to reduce creasing.


Of course, no matter what preventative measures are taken, creases may still occur eventually on vintage cards that have seen decades of use and handling. The best defense is to store current collections properly and handle all cards with extreme care. Investing in protective sleeves, toploaders, binders and the like can go a long way in preserving condition over the long run. And for problem creases, professional restoration or careful DIY methods may restore a card’s appearance, even if slight evidence of the crease remains. With care and diligence, collectors can minimize creasing issues and keep their cherished cards looking their best.

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