Friday, October 23, 2015

I Blow Dried Leo The Lip

I picked up a copy of Leo Durocher's 1968 Topps card at my LCS this afternoon for a fairly nominal price. It's nearly fifty years old, has a couple of fuzzy cardboard corners, and it's of a manager who had a personality seemingly bigger than life itself.  So why not?

During the checkout process the owner asked me if I knew how to get rid of the wax stain on the front of the card. I did not AND I wasn't sure why the wax stain was on the front and not on the back. He informed me that Topps used to seal a pack of cards with the front of the card facing the wax, not the backs which was common place when I started collecting back in the 80s.

Huh, learn something new everyday!

But, I wasn't done learning, for my LCS owner apparently has a plethora of untapped cardboard knowledge which I am just now discovering after knowing him for nearly 25 years.

The picture on the right is our "before" picture.  The wax isn't very obvious, but Leo has a few "moles" on his face which are not moles: the one right below his nose, a large one on his left cheek, and he has a little bit of "skin cancer" under his right eye.

Here's a better shot of some of the wax on the card.  It shows up pretty good where the light should be glaring. Bleck.

 So, I took Leo in for surgery and found the guest bathroom's hair dryer.
Yes, that's OUR guest bathroom. Yes, the walls are bright pink. Do NOT judge!  I'm responsible for decorating the Man Room and my wife makes decisions on the rest of the house.  It's an agreement which we're both happy with . . . pink or no pink.

Just as my LCS owner instructed, I set the hair dryer on the low setting and warmed it up a bit.
 After a minute or so I set it down on the vanity at an angle so the warm air was still hitting the card and I grabbed some facial tissue.
 I was able to wipe off large sections of wax at a time. Once a section was clear I would rotate the card and really warm up another section and repeat.  The process took about three to four minutes in all.

I think the results are pretty good.
 Thankfully, the hair dryer only removed the wax and not the fuzzy corners.  I prefer my vintage to have soft corners.  
The finished product is on the right and I think Leo looks five to ten years younger now.  No?

I thought I would share because who knows how many other cards out there could use a little face lift.  Maybe you have a couple in your collection?

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Cool.. I might have to try this out sometime. I've heard that some purists frown upon this as "altering" a card from it's original state, but in this instance I think it's fine.

  2. I wonder if the process leaves a detectable wax film like when you polish furniture. Obviously fine for a card you're keeping. It does look much better. I'm sure I have some cards (including 68's) I can try it on. Thanks for the tip.

  3. As a kid, I remember hearing that the same effect in removing the wax could be accomplished by leaving the card on top of the TV, where the warmth would soften the wax.

    I don't think that would work today, since our TVs are too thin for baseball cards!