Record Cover Sleeves
The outer sleeve is not only the part of the album which contains (usually) the most striking artwork, but it is also the part which tends to get handled (and therefore damaged) the most over the years.
Every time it is handled, every time a record is extracted and replaced, every time the cover rubs against another cover, or on a shelf, or in (God forbid) a wire record rack, the printed ink can become damaged, the cardboard can be scuffed or torn, or the opening gets marked with oil from our fingers.
To protect the precious outer cover I use 450 gauge clear PVC outer album sleeves. As I use a generous shelf height IKEA Kallax system for storing my albums, I opt for the slightly oversized outer sleeve covers, which automatically fold slightly at the top when stored on the shelf, protecting the contents from dust. (See images of Osibisa albums below).
So that I don’t have to handle the cardboard album cover, I drop this into the PVC outer album sleeve so that the top of the album cover is at the opening edge of the PVC outer. Then I slide the new inner sleeve containing the record inside the PVC protector, with the open edge facing to the side, not towards the open top of the protector.
So when the album spine is visible on the shelf, the record is really well protected from dust.
No matter if the album cover is already worn when I buy it, I always use a PVC sleeve; my aim is to protect the album from further damage, so I always have plenty of PVC album sleeves available, as well as a good supply of high quality inner sleeves.
That way, I get the best physical protection for my investment.
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