ITEMS -  TOTAL  Check Order »

Archival Postcard Storage - keeping your collection safe

Days Past have been dealing in old picture postcards for over thirty years, during this time much progress has been made in the field of archival postcard storage. In the 'early' days 'plastics' were seen as an ideal medium and little consideration was given to the effects the smelly 'vinyl' packets and pages were having on our valuable cards.

The very fact that these early covers had an odour should have given us all a clue as the acidic vapours they give off are the very chemicals that cause damage to photographs and colour pigments.

Today's storage pages and covers are largely odourless, 'inert', 'acid-free' polypropylene or polyester such as 'Secol' and do a much better job of keeping your collection safe.

There are however a few other considerations, apart from album pages and covers that can affect the longevity of your collection.

In edwardian times postcard albums were made from paper and card - produced using wood pulp, acids and bleach and animal glues. Incredibly many original collections have survived well for a century or more in these 'acidic' pages though other factors will have played a part - most of which are still relevant for today's collections. ..

Humidity - high moisture levels speed the chemical reactions that cause deterioration, particularly of photographs. At the extreme, damp can also facilitate fungal growth or 'foxing' in paper. A relative humidity of 35% is widely recommended

Temperature can be an important factor - especially combined with humidity, a cool dry room is the ideal, as high temperatures speed chemical deterioration. However cold may also attract damp through condensation. So a basement or cellar is not ideal, neither is an attic which may get too hot, or too cold! ~ a stable environment is desirable as actual fluctuations in temperature and humidity are likely to be more harmful.

Other atmospheric impurities can influence longevity of your postcard collection, such as sulphide in the air - although we can do little about air quality, we can avoid dust etc.

Wooden furniture is a risk, metal cabinets are more suitable as wood generates 'harmful' vapours and should be painted with water-based acrylic or polyeurethane to minimise the potential harm.

Also to be avoided are direct sunlight, flourescent lighting (tungsten bulbs are safer particularly for photographic cards), paint fumes and household cleaning fluids, cardboard, plywood and other wood products, rubber bands, paper clips, adhesive tapes, blue-tack...

.. and my personal 'pet-hate' those sticky page photo albums that at best leave parallel lines of adhesive on the back of postcards and are likely to tear chunks off when removed.

~ Michael Day 2007


Secol Storage Products ›