Most literature is damaged within
a few years by poor storage, careless handling, water,
food, drinks, rodents, bugs, mildew, swap meets, sunlight,
humidity, dust, shipping, sealed plastic bags, heat,
etc. The list goes on, but literature can be preserved
by taking precautions.
Literature is to be enjoyed.
Show it to a friend by having them looking over
your shoulder. Even best friends rarely know how
to handle a brochure and will not appreciate the
rarity as much as you do. Keep food and drink
far away from literature. Don't leave it within
the reach of kids or pets. Enjoy it and then put
it back in storage immediately. If possible, it
is a good idea to have two copies one to
handle and one to preserve.
Glossy photographs - Sunlight
quickly fades old photos, plus they will curl
Paint chip charts - Insert typing
or onionskin paper to prevent chips from sticking
Book cases should never face
sunlight or the spines may fade. Book cases with
doors are important in preserving the books. Glass
paned doors are great for preventing dust and
bugs, but light can still damage the books.
Literature that has been damaged
can sometimes be restored, but would you perform
surgery on yourself? If not, don't try literature
restoration. The odds are that you will damage
it more. In my 53 years of collecting I have developed
many techniques using various tools, chemicals
and glues that can significantly improve the condition
of damaged literature. The techniques and equipment
are not secrets, but the skills take time to develop
and, initially, you will probably regret your
efforts, especially if it is an expensive item.
Never mark on literature with
ink, or even pencil. Some collectors like to mark
the date on which they received literature or
the date of the make. However, any marks de-value
literature. Even 3-M stick-on notes can cause
damage. A clean piece of paper, with penciled
notes, is not likely to hurt anything if you must
make notes but don't write on the paper
placed over the brochure because it will probably
leave an impression on the brochure.
Shipping should always be done
using boxes, not envelopes even padded
envelopes. Even a postcard should be placed in
a small box. Literature should first be sealed
in a plastic bag to protect it from moisture if
the box gets wet. Sales literature needs to have
the plastic bag taped to a piece of cardboard
larger than the literature to prevent bent corners.
The literature should then be placed in the box
with padding on all six sides. The literature
should never touch the sides of the box. Heavy
boxes tend to be dropped and corners dented in,
so keep individual box weight under thirty pounds.
Always have clean hands. Swap
meet customers never do. They pick up literature
after handling rusty, dirty or greasy engine parts,
or eating a hamburger. Even at home, wash up before
looking through literature, and never eat or drink
anything while handling it.
Be careful when you open a new
item. Folders often open in several ways. Take
your time so as to not rip something meant to
open in an unexpected direction. Old or thin paper
tears easily and, once a rip stars, it will get
worse each time it is opened.
Store literature in tight wooden
or metal cabinets or in plastic envelopes that
are acid-free and open at the top to breathe.
The plastic envelopes can be placed in notebooks.
Never store literature in attics
or basements because of temperature and humidity
changes. Temperature and humidity should remain
constant. Sealed plastic bags trap humidity and
cause mold. Never store literature near water
Do not place literature openly
near sunlight, because light can cause fading
or turn it brown.