Flooded Basement - Cards Destroyed!!!!

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5.00 star(s)
May 10, 2004
Rochester, MI
I never thought it would happen to me, but a clogged drain in our washing machine on the main level caused our clothes washer to run all night and overflow for 6 hours as I slept. I woke up to the sound of rain drops in our house as the main level was flooded and it all was basically raining in the basement.

Parts of my collection got drenched. I have 58 complete sets with a lot of vintage back to 1957 - some in binders, some in boxes. Some complete sets were completely destroyed and others had partial damage to the cards on the ends. I took the cards out of the wet boxes to help them dry out. Some of the boxes were wet on the outside, but still kind of dry on the inside so I think a few can be saved.

Does anyone have experience with insurance claims on cards? Am I going to have to sit with the adjuster and go through 100k cards and show him which ones are damaged with water stains/warped, etc.? I'm not sure how much they'll take my word on things and how much they'll need to see in person.

Like I said, I'm salvaging what I can but I'm not even sure if the humidity will warp them all. It would almost be easier to just 'junk' the complete sets that are mostly damaged and tell the adjuster I need to replace the whole thing. A lot of them will be easy - sets from the 80's to current, but I'm not sure about all my vintage sets. This is a debacle and I almost can't bear to look through the cards to see the damage.

I'd appreciate any advice on salvaging the cards and handling the insurance claim. I'm not even sure if they'll reimburse replacement value if I need to buy replacement sets for the ones that are ruined. I guess I'll be figuring it out in the next few days. Ugh... what a mess.

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Just hope you don't have a limit on collectibles under your home owners. That is what happened one time to someone I know. Their insurance company had a $1000 limit on collectibles. It was a blanket policy for any collectibles in their home, and they didn't have a seperate policy for their card collection.

As far as drying, you will need to get them flat, or yes, they will curl, and curl badly. Best thing to do is if you have some high $$ ones, get a dehumidifier and place the cards on it. It will have suction, pulling the card flat against the surface and drawing out moisture. That is about the best I can give you. Good luck and sorry about the mess, I know how much of a burden it was on this friend of mine.
Hey Erik
Sorry to hear that. I know if the cards are wet try get them dried and put them in a heavy book. to try and keepp them flat
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll have to look into that 'collectibles' limit to see if I have something like that. I'm starting to move my cards away from the humidity in the basement. Lots of trips up/down the stairs...
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll have to look into that 'collectibles' limit to see if I have something like that. I'm starting to move my cards away from the humidity in the basement. Lots of trips up/down the stairs...

Hey Erik
Look on the bright side. Look at the exercise you are getting going up and down the steps. :D :D :D
Hope evereything works out for you
WOW - thats a drag!, not that this helps now, but anyone reading this might want to try this, I also heard another trader here on the bench that had paint spilled on his collection. anyway, what I do is put all my completed sets and collections in acrylic boxes, then seal the edges with plastic packing tape - pretty much the only thing that will roach those is fire.
My wife works for a large insurance company in claims and as far as know stuff like that isn't covered.I had her look into it with our agent a couple of years ago and I was told I would have to purchase a rider policy to have my card collection covered in case of a situation just as you had.As with most homeowners policies personal items are not usually covered these days.Things such as jewelry and collectables since it is so hard to determine an actual value on these items they are usually not covered unless a seperate policy is purchased and everything is itemized.With insurance fraud rampent today..The rest of us have to suffer
Wow. Very sorry to hear. Hope you can get some reimbursement for the collection! (And maybe I need to move my stuff further away from my washing machine...)
sorry to hear it...happened to me a few years ago and I lost almost all of my Jordan stuff :(

One thing I fiugred out though, anything valuable that is wet, keep it wet until you can deal with it...depending on what is damaged, you still might want to try to put some of the wet cards on some wax paper and air dry them out, especially old vintage....if you let them dry out stuck together they will stick when you try to separate them, if you keep them wet you will have a better chance of peeling them apart.
I had this happen with an uncle of mine. He was gonna give me some nice vintage from the late 60s til his basement got flooded. Idk what you should do but good luck with whatever you solution is.
Sorry to hear of the damage to your collection. I hope the insurance comes through for you. Keep your chin up. All the best.
man! this has got to be every collector worst nightmare! i feel for you man, hope everyting gets squared away in your favor!
Well, insurance will only cover $1,000 so that helps a little, I guess. The funny part is that these weren't directly underneath the washing machine - I was always paranoid of that. I had them on a different wall but the water ran across the hard wood floors upstairs and pretty much soaked the basement from one side of the house to the other.

So far, those snap tight acryllic holders are doing a good job at keeping the water out of a lot of my high value vintage cards. Also, I can confirm that those PSA cases are indeed water proof! Luckily, many of my valuable cards were in there so right now it seems like the damage is mostly the commons and minor stars in all of the boxed sets. The binders and sheets helped save some of the vintage sets since I had them stored upright (not laying down) and an inch of water on the bottom didn't penetrate the 9-pocket Ultra-Pro pages. This was most of my vintage sets from 1957 - 1985 so I might be okay. If I have to replace Topps sets from 1986 - current, maybe $1,000 will get me most of them!

I think it could have been a lot worse, but still sorting things out. Kind of hit and miss on what was damaged and where the leaks were coming down

Thanks for the advice and condolences...
Sounds like it wasn't a complete loss and that's good news.I couldn't imagine going through what you are right now.
I don't know if this will help but about 10 years ago my Bro-in-Law's parent went to Daytona Beach for two weeks.While they were gone something happened with the toilet upstairs and it didn't shut off,well the water ran for two weeks throughout their three story home and totally destroyed all the walls and damage beyond belief.
They had to totally gut the whole house and the insurance only covered about half the cost,ended up costing them about 50,000 dollars out of their pockets,..

Hope things turn out better then they first looked,
Were the cards on a shelf or on the floor? I had a similar thing happen to me back in the mid 70's. After a heavy rain, the sump pump in our basement did not kick on. All of my 1975 cards were water damaged.
Yes, luckily the cards were on metal shelving units so they weren't sitting in pooled water on the floor, just kind of rained on so there was seeping into the boxes at various points.

Also, yes, the damage to the house is covered under our homeowners insurance policy (whew!). You're right, that will easily be more expensive than replacing the cards. Those water removal places have pretty cool systems that dry the water out from under the hardwood floor planks. Hopefully those will be saved and maybe just need to be refinished. We'll need drywall replaced, new insulation, molding, and other structural parts of the house fixed, but it looks like insurance will cover it.

Right now, I'm finding a lot of warped cards that got wet and then curled up almost to a semi-circle as they dried. I might try to fix them by covering them with a wet cloth and then ironing them or following the other advice by putting them under some books or something.