Preserve your collection header

Preserve your collectibles for years to come.


Every serious collector wants to preserve their collectibles. I mean, that’s not exactly a shocker, is it?

Some of us have poured hundreds of hours and dollars into our collections. Or, if we’re being honest with ourselves, thousands of hours and dollars. No one wants that kind of commitment to go to waste. I know I want future generations to be uncovering my Pokémon toys, and if you collect anything, I’m sure you feel roughly the same way.

Though every collection needs to be uniquely cared for to be preserved, here are five catch-all tips to preserve your collectibles as best as possible.



1: Find the right room


Book empty room

It’s tempting to box up your old toys and figures and leave them in an attic for safekeeping. But unless you have a really nice attic, you might want to reconsider that approach.

The vast majority of collectibles should be kept at a cool temperature and consistently mild humidity. You’ll also want to avoid any direct sunlight or most sources of artificial light. In other words, you basically want a similar environment for your collectibles as you would for yourself when going to sleep.



2: Consider extra protection


Kids Pokemon Cards

Trading cards and comic books are perfect collectibles, but they’re not always built of the sturdiest stuff. This is especially true if you have vintage items that were literally built to be disposed of after a few years. In these cases, you should invest in some protective sleeves or casings to preserve your collectibles.

Depending on what you collect, your preferred method of casing will vary. For example, air tight bags can be a breeding ground for mold if you aren’t careful. Also, if you collect Magic cards or any other playable card game, you’ll need to choose between sleeves meant for preservation and sleeves built for competitive play. In other words, make sure you do your homework.



3: Learn how to wash them, if you even should


Coin Boxes

Speaking of doing your homework, cleaning your collectibles also requires extra care. If your first instinct is to grab a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol, you might wind up doing more harm than good.

There are some items you should avoid cleaning altogether. Vintage coins are a poster child for this, as any attempt at cleaning can cause irreversible damage. Old and brittle collectibles run the risk of getting damaged in even a careful attempt at cleaning as well. If you want to know how to clean your collection, the internet is your friend. Though, if you’re reading this, you didn’t need me to tell you that.



4: Know how to handle your items


Holding Books

Here’s the dirty secret about our hands: they’ve got all kinds of yucky stuff on them. Even if you wash your hands vigorously, you could still taint your collectibles with your natural skin oil. This might be a moot point for some collectors, but this can result in long term damage if you aren’t careful.

To avoid this, learn how to grab and hold your collectibles in the safest way possible. You may even want to get some sanitary rubber gloves to keep your collection as close to mint as possible. When in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry.



5: Don’t set them and forget them


Book Collection

Even if you find the perfect environment to preserve your collectibles, under no circumstances should you neglect them after the fact.

A lot can happen to a collectible in even a few month’s time. A leaky roof may be seeping water and mildew on top your collectibles. Or perhaps something fell over and sprawled your valuables all over the floor. But most importantly, a forgotten collection is hardly a collection at all. If you haven’t seen your collection in a year’s time, you can easily lose track of what you had to begin with. You might even wind up buying collectibles again because you forgot you had them to begin with!

As a wise soldier once almost said, knowing how to preserve your collectibles is half the battle. Organizing and cataloging your collection is just as important as all the tips on this list combined. I know we’re a bit biased on Gemr, since we like to tell everyone that they can track their collections online with us. But whether you download our app our keep a comprehensive checklist in your notebook, you don’t want to neglect this step. We don’t know if our ancestors will love our collection as much as we did, but either way, you’ll be happy you put in the effort.

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Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on Destructoid.com.