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5 Tips To Care For Precious Sports Memorabilia
Like most collectors, sports enthusiasts pay good money to collect memorabilia from their favorite athletes and games. But, many of these items tend to fall apart or get damaged if not given proper care, especially if they’re several years old.
If you’re a beginner collector of sports memorabilia, you must ensure that each item stays in good condition for a long time. Otherwise, you could lessen its value and destroy a precious piece of sports history. Fortunately, caring for a sports collection is relatively easy.
Here are five reliable tips to protect your cherished items from the elements:
So should you if art galleries and museums use frames to protect their collections. Framing is a popular method among collectors to keep sports memorabilia safe. It also helps maintain the shape of the item, such as a jersey, and shield it from smudges, stains, and dirt.
Also, framing sports memorabilia is one of the great ways to support your team since you’ll be proudly hanging their uniform and medals on the wall. You can keep them extra safe, too, by adding another layer of plastic or glass to prevent cards and photos from fading.
Store In Sleeves
Not everyone collects all kinds of sports memorabilia. Some only collect official trading cards and game tickets. However, like any image printed on cardstock or paper, these will fade in time and disappear even faster if you don’t store them correctly.
Luckily, you can find card sleeves and card binders in most hobby shops and gaming stores. Card sleeves come in different types and sizes, so you can choose one that’s best for your collection. Here’s a brief list of the common ones you’ll see and their qualities:
- Penny: These card sleeves are the most affordable, and most collectible cards fit in them snugly. Since they’re cheap, you’ll get light pieces of plastic protection for your cards. They’re translucent all over, so it’s impossible to hide any defects.
- Matte: If you’re on a budget but want extra protection for your baseball or basketball card, matte sleeves are the best option. They’re less flimsy than penny sleeves and come in various colors. They’re solid-colored matte on one side, the name, and the other is clear so you can better conceal the flaws behind cards.
- Top-Loader: This type offers the best card protection thanks to its thicker plastic; thus, it’s also more expensive. But, putting your cards in top-loaders ensures they won’t bend or tear when handled. They’re see-through on both sides, so imperfections will still be seen.
When looking for card sleeves, make sure you’re getting ones from well-known and trusted brands among collectors. If you spot a pack cheaper than usual penny sleeves, it’s best to avoid this since it could be of low quality. The sleeves must be non-toxic and non-acidic, so your cards stay as pristine as they first were while inside their protective casings.
Keep Them Cool And Dry
Constant exposure to sunlight and moisture damages many things, especially sports memorabilia. You must store your collection somewhere dry and away from the sun, even if that means no one else gets to see it.
Archival books with cards, photos, and autographs must stay as far from the sunlight as possible, or they risk fading. Therefore, it’s better to keep your sports memorabilia somewhere that’s preferably not your basement or attic.
Basements and attics are susceptible to heat and water damage. Try a storage room next to your bedroom instead, so you can check on it occasionally. A closet, drawer, or archival box is also best for smaller sports memorabilia.
If you want more protection for your card collection, install water leak detection and water shut-off devices in the room. Once the first device detects a leak, the other automatically turns off the source, keeping your sports memorabilia safe and dry.
Avoid Touching Them
Collections are meant to be admired by yourself or others interested in the same hobby. But, you’ll find it surprising to learn that you should keep your collectibles out of people’s reach. Sweat and oil naturally produced by human bodies can tamper with the quality of your sports memorabilia, diminishing their value.
Try not to touch your memorabilia too often to avoid unnecessary dirt accumulation and smudging, which can be challenging to clean. If you need to move or handle the items of your sports collection, make sure you have clean and dry hands. Better yet, wear nitrile gloves as you do so.
You could also buy a deacidification spray to protect your collection, especially your cards, from further damage from touches. Don’t hesitate to ask a professional archivist or the product’s customer support on how to correctly and safely spray your collectibles. Afterward, return the items to their proper storage immediately.
All curated collections, regardless of their value, deserve good quality storage. If you have several collectibles stored incorrectly, you should start decluttering and sorting them into boxes.
As mentioned, sunlight is harmful to any collectible because the UV rays can alter its appearance. Hence, your sports memorabilia must stay in durable, UV-safe containers. You can store larger pieces, like signed footballs or baseball mitts, in a dark glass display case. For cards and tickets, use a high-quality binder and sleeves that are PVC-free to prevent colors and text from fading quickly.
Protecting your sports memorabilia from damage and distortion is the only way to preserve their quality and value if you want to sell them in the future. Even if you don’t intend to give them away someday, proper care and storage are what a responsible collector should do. No matter the size of your collection, it serves as a piece of sports history that other collectors and sports fans can learn from.