Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#MyBroadwayThing: Playbill Binders

I must be finding it therapeutic to share my obsession with all things Playbill with you, loyal reader. Today's #MyBroadwayThing is all about Playbill binders. I have two kinds, both of which are on sale HERE. And there are pros and cons to both.

from the Playbill Store

The Basic Binder

  • Pros: They are inexpensive. They hold a fair (if variable) number of contemporary Playbills. They are easy to assemble, too.
  • Cons: They don't offer much in terms of archival protection. The metal rods that hold the magazines in place don't rust, but they do - for lack of a better term - "dry out" and lose their smooth sheen over time. And, being covered in vinyl, some of the books have puckered inside corners.

Note the pucker/wrinkle in the lower left corner.
Note the binding rods and assembly at the top (it's the same at the bottom).
Note that the State Fair booklet from 1994 has no yellowing!

Jeff Recommends: This is a great way to keep your collection if you are a casual collector and/or if you are a theater fan on a budget. I have 18 of these, and I like them for being able to easily thumb through them. And while they might not preserve them to archival quality, even my oldest Playbill from 35 years ago only has minimal yellowing.

from the Playbill Store

The Ultimate Binder

  • Pros: The quality of the entire binder is top-notch. From the hard board cover, with its textured black coating to the very strong 3-ring binder assembly, the book itself is excellent. The sleeves, made of tick polypropylene, include archival quality backing boards, which prevent the magazines from curling. The Playbills are pristine even years later. I also like being able to keep my ticket and any inserts on the other side for easy viewing.
  • Cons: They are not cheap. One costs more than twice a Basic Binder. While each binder comes with 18 sleeves, it can fit up to 24, and extras cost more. Also, with this set up, you have to take the Playbill out of the sleeve if you want to look at the inside. That runs the risk of damage.

Note the "D-Rings" and the way the cover opens to allow the binder to lay flat when open.
Note on the left how the clear sleeve and whit backing board allows the ticket to be visible.
Note on the right how flat the Playbill lays in the sleeve and how the corners are maintained.

Jeff Recommends: Despite their expense, if you are a serious Broadway collector, these are well worth the money. This is truly a case of "you get what you pay for." I am currently filling my 10th! I know some people optimize the sleeves by putting one magazine on each side of the backing board, but I have ruined a couple trying to stuff them in, plus I like using the back for my ticket and inserts. I also like that the sleeves are slim and light. I bring them with me to the show and slip the pristine magazine in when I sit down - no damage!

I have an even cheaper and fully archival way to keep them.  I have hundreds of them stored this way. I'll share that with you soon!


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