Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The amusing monster screwdown case

That is only slightly larger than actual size.

One of the more amusing aspects of the baseball card boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s was the lengths collectors would go to Protect Their Investment.

One of those tributes to that era of paranoia is the monster screwdown case. I don't even know if it has a proper name. Maybe this is the half-inch screwdown? I do know that it measures 3 3/4-by-5 3/4 inches, which is far too much acreage for a baseball card.

A very fine signed 1993 Stadium Club Team Eric Karros card arrived encased in the amusing monster screwdown case (AMSC) from Paul at Scribbled Ink.

I've never understood the extra space devoted to these AMSCs. They don't feature a stand on the back so it's not easily displayed on a desk, etc. I'm not sure why it's so big, perhaps to double as a weapon?

I have very few cards in screwdown cases and almost all of them are in the much smaller ones that I prefer.

This is the perfect size for a screwdown, just slightly bigger than the card itself. It's easy to store and transport and it's just as protected as some screwdown whopper that you can use to hammer roofing nails.

I have just one card in one of those larger screwdowns, I believe its the quarter-inch kind.

I can see the point for a card like that. And I appreciate the reassurance that the holder provides. I don't have to worry about what's going to happen to it.

As you can see, though, the AMSC Karros dwarfs the Ripken rookie. Crazy.

I hope nobody minds, but I can't have cards sitting in screwdown cases that monstrous. So I found the Phillips and removed autographed Karros from his protective home (no doubt a five-bedroom, four-bathroom version).

As you might have noticed, removing the card caused a bit of surface damage on the top and bottom edges. The card, which apparently had been in there for awhile, was not in a penny sleeve and a little bit stuck to the plastic.

(Right now there is a screwdown fan stomping around in disgust saying, "SEE???? This is why you DON'T take it out of the SCREWdown!!!!")

But absolutely no worries. I like it so much more when it's accessible. It will go into a page in a binder of all my Dodgers autographs, where I can take it out and look at it whenever I like, without having to get out the tools.

Even though I totally associate the AMSC with the '90s, they are still readily available for purchase. It still seems like a lot of wasted space to me. I don't know what I'll do with the Karros screwdown remnants. Maybe I'll give it to my wife so she can kill bugs.

Paul also sent a couple of cards in your perfectly reasonable regular penny sleeves/toploaders.

It's a couple of the 2017 Topps Holiday Dodgers, but these are the metallic snowflake parallels (I hate it when it snows metal).

Thanks, Paul for reaching out. Hope you've found some 2018 Topps.


  1. I think it's supposed to snow metal in our area tomorrow.

    I've always loathed screw-downs. You made the right choice in removing that Karros from its brass shackles.

  2. No likey screw downs, heck I don't like top loaders or penny sleeves either. That Karros looks ten times better out of it's prison (even with the new markings).

  3. I have a few from my childhood. They really only exist because I'm too lazy to bust them open. I will say though, as a kid it might be one of the first things I properly used a screwdriver on, so I guess there's that.

  4. I'm with John Miller. Don't like screw downs or top loaders. I do use 9 card page protectors, mainly for the convenience of looking at my collection.

  5. Looks like a screw down for a NBA/NHL tall boy.

  6. I have exactly zero cards in screwdowns. Something about them just doesn't seem right to me.

  7. It was definitely the way to go in the early 1990s.....

  8. Screwdowns are bad both aesthetically and protection-wise. Every time I see a high end card in a screwdown, I get the Forrest Whitaker eye. I tell folks to immediately take it out. Carefully. I also have seen unscrupulous sellers use screwdowns to hide that their cards are fake. They are just a bad idea all around. Plus, as you pointed out they are a bitch to display.

    I slowly came around on the notion of the magnetic thick holders once they improved the magnets to be strong enough to hold the card if you bump the case but no so strong that you have to pull on it like a pickle jar and risk ruining the card. It took them a few tries but it seems the have them right these days.

  9. I remember seeing my first card in a screwdown case and thinking "that card most be really valuable." Now I see them and think "why in the hell did someone do that."

  10. For years I had my 1975 Topps Mini Yount rookie card in one of those 1" lucite holders that came in a velvet box. That thing would do some serious damage if you threw it at someone. These days I'm all about less is more. My nicest cards are triple protected in a penny sleeve that's inserted into a top loader, which is slipped into a Perfect Fit sleeve. The days are screw-downs are behind me except for a handful of cards sitting on display in my office.

  11. I've got about a dozen of my highest valued cards in screwdowns like that. They're stored away from the rest of the collection. My one Ted Williams is in one that's even bigger - it has a thicker top with beveled edges. It's like a Lucite brick.

    It's amusing to find some random 90's card of someone like Todd VanPoppel in a big screwdown at a shop in a big dusty box of miscellaneous stuff. You always think "someone had high hopes for that one!"

  12. Lol. I received that damned screw down Karros from a family friend from California back in 1994ish. Its been banging around in a box since then and has moved at least 8 times with me. I never cared too much for it and am glad to not have to move it ever again.

  13. I only have one card in a screw-down holder. It also happens to be the only T206 in my collection.

  14. This is going to sound weird but next time you are going to take a card out of a screwdown with no penny sleeve put it in the freezer for an hour or so before you unscrew it. The cold makes the plastic and cardboard shrink at different rates and breaks the "seal" seal that causes paper loss.