5 tips to protect your collectibles

July 29, 2015

Keep your treasured items protected with these five tips.

5 tips to protect your collectibles

1. Handle with care

  • Always handle your objets d'art with clean, dry hands — or wear clean cotton gloves if you're handling unbreakable items.
  • Hands-on time should be kept to a minimum, however, because the oils and salts on your hands can cause tarnish on silver or damage lacquered and ceramic surfaces.
  • To protect against dings and scratches, be sure to take off any jewellery (including your wristwatch) whenever inspecting your treasured objects.

2. Mount small items

  • Most people have seen Riker mounts used for displaying butterflies or gemstone collections, but they also offer an affordable and convenient way to preserve small collectible items, such as coins, arrowheads, campaign buttons, and rocks, in the home. Riker mounts are available in various sizes.
  • You can purchase them from most hobby and scientific-supply shops as well as many online vendors.
  • Although they can provide good protection against moisture, glass-covered Riker mounts do not filter out light and ultraviolet radiation, so be sure to keep your mounted collections out of the sun and away from bright light sources.

3. Humidity is relative

  • Humid conditions generally won't have much impact on glass, ceramics, and other inorganic materials, but they can wreak havoc on most other collectibles.
  • In addition to promoting mould and mildew growth, excessive moisture in the air can also create inviting conditions for insects and other pests.
  • Protect your precious objects by keeping them in a stable environment with a relative humidity level between 45 and 50 per cent.
  • You may consider adding air-conditioning during the hot summer months, as well as a dehumidifier.
  • In the winter, you may need to use a humidifier to maintain an adequate moisture level.

4. Stay out of the woods

  • Wooden cabinets (and those made of oak, in particular) are not recommended for storing textiles, dolls, stamps, coins, or metal of any sort.
  • Both unfinished and painted wood emit sulfuric and acidic vapours that can age paper, yellow fabric, or cause corrosion on metal. Instead, use polyethylene plastic containers, acid-free cardboard boxes, or metal storage cabinets, preferably with an enamel coating.
  • If you must store your textiles or dolls in a wooden drawer or closet, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper or a sheet of prewashed, unbleached cotton muslin so that they never come in direct contact with the wood.
  • Seal any wood surfaces with at least two coats of polyurethane varnish.

5. Make your move…with care

You can substantially lower the risks of accidentally damaging any of your prized possessions when moving them by always making any needed preparations — such as clearing away obstacles, closing window shades, removing sharp objects, and so on — to the room or workspace where you'll be placing the object before moving it.

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