Preserving and Protecting Your Collection

In general, keep valuable works of art, antiques, and collectibles out of direct sunlight. Temperatures should be kept at a steady 68F degrees (+ or – 5% is acceptable) and humidity at 50% (although if this is not possible, keep at a lower level but avoid extreme fluctuations). When in doubt about handling or modifying a work of art, furniture item or decorative object, call a professional for advice about your investment.

Books

Books, archival, and paper materials are best stored in a climate controlled space, out of direct sunlight, and with a stable temperature not exceeding 70° Fahrenheit. 35% relative humidity is ideal. 

Ceramics and Glass

Breakage and staining are the most common concerns; ensure objects are handled infrequently and stored on low shelving.

Coins

Store only in Type-D Mylar, a polyester plastic – avoid PVC plastic materials.

Crystal

Do not store foods or beverages in crystal bowls, decanters or glassware for prolonged period of time. Alcohol, vinegar and juice will leach the lead out of the glass and cause discoloration.

Drawings, Prints, and Works on Paper

Ensure all mats and framing materials are acid-free. Yellow or brown discolorations may be acid-burn or mold; call a professional immediately as restoration may be possible if caught at an early stage. Allow light sensitive works to “rest” in a dark place for part of the year.

Furniture

Inspect regularly for pests that threaten wood and other organic materials. Cleaning and polishing your furniture should be done on a regular basis. Furniture oils will temporarily enhance the finish and appearance; apply a thin coat of wax annually. Never use spray wax on antiques.

Gold and Silver

Handle carefully to prevent scratching and deformation. Handle carefully to prevent scratching and denting for sterling. Do not store silver in plastic bags and avoid contact with rubber and salt.

Paintings

Use a sable or badger brush to lightly dust paintings and frames. Never touch the surface of paintings and use a professional for moving, storage, and re-framing.

Photographs

(See recommendations for Drawings, Prints, and Works on Paper.) Photographs are light sensitive and should be stored in archival storage boxes. Handle with care if photographs are un-framed.

Sculpture

Outdoor, Bronze. Keep clear of overhanging foliage and set regular, bi-annual schedule for cleaning and waxing according to materials, needs, and conditions.

Textiles

Attention to light levels, temperature and humidity, and storage conditions are primary considerations. Custom installation is usually necessary for display.

Stone

Work outside is susceptible to acid-rain and ongoing exposure to water and fluctuating temperatures can cause cracking. Apply an appropriate protective coating on a regular schedule.

Wine

Remember that wine is a perishable substance.  Ideal conditions for storing wine are dim, cool spots, ideally around 55-degrees (fahrenheit).  The most important aspects are keeping temperatures relatively stable, limiting bright light (especially sunlight) exposure, and to move and jostle the bottles as little as possible.

Inspect your property regularly, and call a professional with any concerns. Keep all original invoices and other documentation in a safe place. Maintaining a database inventory with photographs is the best way to keep track of your property and its current condition and value.


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