Posted By Inktiques / Michelle Greysen

Vintage and collectible postcards have become a hot collectible marking many occasions, seasons, lifestyles and important social history of their day. Inexpensive treasures can still be found but high prices can equally be realized so storing and displaying your antique postcards is an important part of collecting this delicate ephemera.
As paper is such a delicate product with a life expectancy of less than fifty years, storing it in the wrong method could seriously devalue or totally destroy your hard earned collection.  Many attractive album style books are on the market to display your collections. But do your homework as some may look great to organizing and enjoy your postcards but the paramount feature you need to ensure is that of preservation.
Archival quality acid free and PVC-free transparent sleeves are the safest method of storing your individual antique postcards while allowing for viewing pleasure. They allow for protection not only from the oils on your skin but from environmental affects as the mylar-like sleeves do not introduce harmful chemical in their structure. Non-archival plastics can contain chemicals which will breakdown and destroy your treasures quickly deteriorating your collection.
For further protection from handling be sure that the sleeves openings are large enough to not have to bend an edge or crease a corner while sliding the cards into place. The sleeve itself should be heavy enough to support your card for viewing front and back with no paper insert which could further deteriorate your postcard through the paper’s chemical breakdown over time.
Not only the protective sleeves need to be archival quality but also the album cover, boxes or slipcases must be professional collector quality to ensure safe keeping. If using a box method with indexing and tabs be certain the paper dividers are of archival quality also. Some collectors are even using metal boxes ensuring greater protection from outside hazards.  Climate, temperature and humidity can all wreak havoc on your collection and must be closely monitored to be sure moisture or sever heat or cold are not affecting the sleeves and in turn your prized postcards.
If wanting to both safely store and display your collection at the same time there are many retailers offering archival quality display cases, suitcase-like displays, postcard frames with glass both front and back for total viewing, shadow boxes and coffee table stands. In selecting your storage and display always consider that air, moisture and chemicals damage can lift the inks, fade or discolour the postcards and even disintegrate them over time.

Select your storage wisely for years of preservation and enjoyment of your passion as a deltiologist, a collector of picture postcards.

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