By Linda Mankefors

 Ever since half a decade we’ve all grown childishly fond of thick patch cards; when done right, it’s hard to beat the beauty of it. So how do we keep such cards in best intact condition? Handle it as little as possible, it’s well known how easily thick cards are dinged, even the slightest nudge can make a tiny bit of a corner white. If you pull it from a pack, you put it straight into a screwdown holder, same thing if you buy or trade for one. No moist environment, not too dry, not too hot, not too cold. Treat it like it is fine cheddar, and it’s going to keep fresh forever.

Or so we thought. I can hear little devils chuckling in the dark shadows…

The following card has been a white whale for a friend of mine: 02-03 Crown Royale Dual patch Patrick Roy/Peter Forsberg. When it turned up on a hobby forum, I threw myself at it, offered any price. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one who battled for this rarity, and I ended up paying more than double the book price. Still, everything was good, the sky was clear of clouds and the sun was shining extra brightly.

A week later I received the card, looks fantastic. I opened the screwdown to look at the card in hand (this is a tip to all fellow collectors: ALWAYS OPEN THE SCREWDOWN! The plastic case might hide damages you wouldn’t see otherwise). There is something funny with the low right corner, yes indeed, the top cardboard layer of the card is mocking me and I’m staring in disbelief. It’s raised itself from the lower cardboard layer. Looking further, the top right corner is the same although less noticeable. I have never encountered such damage before. The glue has actually stopped working! Emailing the seller he says it’s always been stored in screwdown in a safe box with good environment, he never noticed it. Considering this person’s excellent feedback I believe him. My friend still wanted the card after a big partial refund was given so it’s a happy ending.

BUT, a little noise has started buzzing in my head. The glue can stop working? Top layer is coming off? After a few sleepless nights I asked around, and got confirmed more Crown Royale Dual patch cards have the same problems, also 2002 Titanium double patch cards. Old patch cards, right, who cares? Well dear readers, just imagine. Is this an old phenomenon that’s buried, or will present patch cards reveal the same problems 5-6 years from now?

To pick an extreme example: what if your $12.000 Sidney Crosby the Cup rookie card starts to come apart at the corners? Do you run around in circles, scream at the top of your lungs, stick your head in the toilet and flush? You may use a bit of glue, scalpel and very agile fingers to fix it. But after your damage control what will the value be? If it shows even 1% of manipulation I doubt any grading company of standards would even touch it.

In all likelihood, you don’t belong to the few extremely rich collectors who have a Crosby Cup rookie in their possession, but you could still be the owner of several valuable beautiful patch cards that may one day start falling apart. We have so many expensive patch cards existing today we might look at a disaster in ten years time. Is it too late then to sue the manufacturer after ten years? Smile, shrug your shoulders and say happier times will come? Well it might be a pessimistic outlook I just pictured, but the truth is out there.