Care of Collectibles


The value of an object is in the eye of the beholder. While your collection may not be ready for auction at Sotheby’s, it might be priceless to you in any condition. However, the market value of a collectible depends on several factors, including rarity and demand. Another factor that can affect the value of any collectible, no matter how rare or in demand, is its condition. For instance, there can be a huge discrepancy in the resale value of a coin that’s in mint condition versus one that’s in fair condition, and the same can be said for most memorabilia and antiques. That doesn’t necessarily mean to shine them or polish them, though. In fact, such actions can actually reduce the fair market value of certain items.

Here’s a short guide on protecting your collections without affecting their worth.


Sunlight can cause harm to collections in several ways. Not only does it fade colors on fabrics and paper, it can also melt or warp in the most durable materials. Collections should always be kept away from direct sunlight. Whenever possible, keep them in a hall or room that has limited sun exposure. You can also purchase screens or curtains that block the sun’s rays or purchase a light meter from a photography supply store to monitor the amount of exposure your collection is getting.

Temperature and Humidity

Extreme temperatures in either direction can cause irreparable damage to many collectible items. Wide temperature fluctuations can also cause a problem, especially for items that contain natural fibers, like fabrics, paper and wood. Excess humidity and moisture can cause problems with mold, rot and rust.

As with sunlight, temperature and humidity can be controlled by displaying or storing your collection in a room that’s especially for that purpose. Keeping the ambient temperature of the area at around 65 degrees and buying a humidifier are two solutions to the problem.

The best way to help ensure that your collections are protected is to build or purchase a display medium that created especially for that type of collectible. A baseball display case is an example of a purpose-built display that’s the appropriate size and offers the best protection for a piece of valuable sports memorabilia. No matter the type of collectibles you have, you can extend their life and display them with pride when you take the right steps to protect and preserve them.


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