Your Stuff Has Issues—Condition Issues Part One

Lots of people like acquiring collectibles and antiques, as evidenced by the popularity of the Antiques Roadshow on PBS. Yet, when you own something that is older than you, how do you take care of it?  After all, you wouldn’t put a piece of Limoges porcelain from the 1890’s in the dishwasher or use adhesive tape to repair a tear on a U.S. political poster from the early 1900’s. How do you preserve items like these?

Well there are some things you can do to make sure your collectibles last.

Paper Collectibles
1) Obviously, keep the item out of direct sunlight and away from damp, humid places.
2) Don’t use cardboard or adhesive tape with paper collectibles. Over time they will both damage the item.
3) Keep the item in either a protective sleeve, an acid free storage box or frame it.
4) When framing the item, make sure that the frame and backing materials are of conversation quality (i.e. acid free backing and UV protective glass.)
5) Many rodents and insects are attracted to the materials in paper. So, be on the lookout for rodent and insect damage.
6) Keep food and drinks away from the item. Spills and stains can damage an item beyond repair.
7) If the item is 50 years old or older, take it to a paper conservator. To find a paper conservator in the U.S. go to The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) website

1) Obviously, don’t put it in the dishwasher. The hot water and harsh chemicals will damage the piece.
2) Keep out of direct sunlight.
3) Use a soft 2-inch paintbrush to remove dust from the piece.
4) If the item in question is a completely glazed piece, it can be put in soapy water for a few moments. Wipe the item clean with a soft cloth, rinse it in clear water and let it air dry on a stack of newspapers or in a dish rack.
5) Do not soak cold painted or unglazed pieces in soap and water. Instead clean such items with a damp cloth.
6) Don’t wash items like Hummels, Snowbabies or Village pieces.

These tips should help to insure that your paper and porcelain/pottery items will give you many years of enjoyment. Next week there will be more tips on how to protect your collectibles.



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