Big lot of TSR boxed sets, discoloration of book pages
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:28 pm 

Howdy folks. I have two questions, the first one is about the approximate value of certain TSR boxed sets.

The boxed sets, going from memory, are Marvel Superheroes, Star Frontiers, Boot Hill, Gangbusters, and the World of Greyhawk. Assuming these are complete, counters punched but present, dice missing (where appropriate), and maps in like new condition, what would be a fair price for these? (I'm not personally interested in these items, but I'd consider buying them to flip at a gaming convention/make sure they don't just get thrown away.)

The second question I have is regarding discoloration & spotting on some D&D hardbacks and modules. Many of the books are in very nice condition (probably bought new, flipped through once, and then set on a shelf), except for significant discoloration and spotting, primarily on the edges of the pages (there are a few pages on the 1E hardcovers that stick slightly along the very edge, but open fine). These books were said to have been stored in an upstairs bedroom in Corpus Christi (Southeast Texas town, on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico), under the bed. They have no smell, maybe a very faint old book type smell, but I don't smell anything like mildew or such. I don't see any water damage/wavy pages. The discoloring is a brownish yellow, and the spotting is brownish. It appears to me to be only cosmetic. My guess is this had to do with exposure to salt water humidity in the air, but other than cosmetically, is harmless?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.


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Post Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:52 pm 

I would check some of the Essays here. Good information on how to properly store books and what to do about smells, discoloration, etc.


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Post Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:43 pm 

Now that I've had a little time to look things up, I learned the answer to my second question:

The yellow/reddish/brown discoloration and spotting I was seeing, primarily on the papers' edge and causing a little bit of sticking, is known as "foxing."

"FOXING -- Marks that form on paper as a result of acids in the paper reacting to moisture in the air. This is not mold; rather, it is a chemical reaction. Usually, foxing is a golden yellow, but can also be tan or brown depending upon the paper's content and the environment the book has been in."

"THIS is a dramatic example of foxing. While harmless to the structure of the book, foxing can make text difficult to read."

"Evidence also shows us that environmental exposure to oxygen is --if not its direct cause-- a remarkable catalyst, since usually it is most pronounced in the most exposed areas (edges of the sheets, covers, book-edges…)."

"Foxing also has a very direct relationship with the type of paper, thus some supports are more susceptible to suffer it than others." (This explains why there is much more foxing on the 1E hardbacks than on the adventure modules, even though they were stored together.)

"A third aspect favors the foxing apparition, which is high relative humidity." (Which fits being stored near the seashore. I also noticed small amounts of corrosion on the edges of pages here and there.)

Mold or foxing in libraries and archives |Rita Udina. Paper & Book conservation and restoration

"FOXING is an age-related process of deterioration that causes spots and browning on old paper documents such as books, postage stamps and certificates. The name may derive from the fox-like reddish-brown color of the stains, or the rust chemical ferric oxide which may be involved. Paper so affected is said to be 'foxed'.

Although unsightly and a negative factor in the value of the paper item for collectors, foxing does not affect the actual integrity of the paper."

Learn something new every day! I haven't had time to check on the prices for the TSR boxed sets yet, but I'm guessing in the low tens of dollars per set?


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Post Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:19 pm 

outskirtsofinfiniti wrote in Big lot of TSR boxed sets, discoloration of book pages:I haven't had time to check on the prices for the TSR boxed sets yet, but I'm guessing in the low tens of dollars per set?

The best way to check prices on items is to see what they sold for on eBay.  Looking at what items are listed for is a poor way to understand what they will sell for.  Just log into your eBay account, type in the name of the item in the search box what you want to look up, and then check the "sold" box on the left-hand side of the page.  You'll notice that some items sell for more and some for less, and that usually has to do with their condition and the shipping costs, but other factors can impact the sales price like the reputation of the seller, or the quality of photos, etc...

Truth is worth finding and life is too short to work for money.


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Post Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:15 pm 

In addition, when checking EBay sold listings, don't rely too much on BINs. They can range from bargains (someone pricing way too low, like a Chainmail for $20), to stuff that is much too overpriced. One nice thing, though, is that at least items with high BINs do give some idea where someone might be willing to pay in extremis.

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Post Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:21 pm 

That's some good advice, benjoshua. I had to go from memory (they had a ton of stuff, and I'm not familiar with most of these TSR boxed sets), but it looks like they all sell in the low tens of dollars each. (Obviously shrinkwrapped/near mint copies go for much much more.)

The prices for (what appears to me to be similar auctions) the World of Greyhawk and Boothill seemed to have the most price variance. I'm not sure why that would be.

Any, I submitted what I believe to be a fair offer of $10 per boxed set, since I explained to them I intend to resell the sets at gaming conventions.


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:56 pm 

There is nothing you can do about foxing, except to notate it in your descriptions.


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