24 Jun 2014

How to Care for Valuable Photographs and Negatives

When you delve into the big world of collectibles, you’ll sometimes stumble upon photographs that are valuable. The photographs may be of a celebrity, a sports figure, a landmark, or a historical event, but it is important to treat them right to preserve the quality and maintain the value.

Safe Storage Of Photo Negatives

There’s nothing worse than having beautiful photographs with collectible value, only to ruin them by not caring for them properly. Here are a few ways you can preserve your photos so they won’t diminish in value.

Handle with Care

If you have an original photo or even a valuable negative, it is very important to keep your hands off the surface at all costs. If you must handle them, only touch the edges and even then try not to handle them for long. Even when your hands seem clean, natural oils from your fingers can damage vintage photographs over time. If you absolutely must handle them, try wearing clean white cotton gloves to remove any risk of damage from your hands.

No Permanent Markings

If you write on an old photograph, any value you thought you had will be long gone. It’s common to want to write the date or name of the person or place on the back of a photo, but never do it with something that will leave a permanent mark. If you have to label it for some reason, use the softest pencil you can find, such as a 2B and never write on the front. Also, use a very soft touch to avoid making indentations.

Cleaning Techniques

Cleaning your old photos can be a risky proposition, especially if you want to use a chemical solution of some sort. If you have to clean them off, try a clean, lint-free cloth or a very soft brush. Start by cleaning one of the “less important” photos just in case you make a small mark or scratch on it. If you can see it needs cleaning but you’re too nervous to try it yourself, contact an expert for advice.

Safe Storage

Since the bulk of your photo preservation will deal with storage, it’s important to note some storage tips that will help keep them in top condition. It isn’t easy to create ideal conditions in your house, but keeping your pictures away from dampness, heat, light and dust will certainly help.
Try to store your photos in an area of the home where the temperature and conditions are consistent, and use boxes and albums that have a neutral pH. Plastic sleeves that have these traits work well because you can view them when you like without having to touch them.

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