Many individuals engaged in the fascinating hobby of collecting paper money, are aware of the delicacies and how quickly they can deteriorate over time. Mishandling, fading, fungus, insect damage and foxing (paper turning yellow) can really cause your paper money collection to deteriorate quickly. If you are a collector of paper money, there are steps you can take to prevent them from deteriorating.
Here are some tips on how you can maintain your hobby and keep your precious Canadian paper money safe as you continue your quest to add more to your collection.
How to Keep Your Bank Notes Safe
- Acid-Free PVC: Acid-free PVC (polyvinyl chloride) holders are best for storing your banknotes. They will prevent moisture, dirt, and debris from getting to them. Using acidic PVC holders will not keep your collection safe.
- Wear gloves: Wear gloves when you’re handling your precious collection. This will prevent you from transferring dirt or oils from your hands onto your collection. Cotton or nitrile gloves are best.
- Direct Sunlight: Never expose your paper money to direct sunlight because this can cause bleaching, which will turn the paper yellow or cause the images to fade. Using a halogen lamp is preferred when you need one to look closely at your money.
- Keep your collection at room temperature between 20°C to 24°C. In addition, never put your collection next to a wall exposed to late afternoon sun because paper deteriorates faster when exposed to higher temperatures.
- Repairing Damaged Banknotes: Any visible damage or defects on your Canadian paper money will require the attention of trained individuals. Trying to clean banknotes by yourself will only cause more damage. Seek advice from an archival library or a recognized art museum for repairing your treasured collection.
- Protect from dust: You can keep your Canadian paper money in binders but ensure you use the ones with slipcase or box that the binder can slide into. It is extremely important that you keep your binders in a dehumidifier cabinet or in a closet shelf to prevent dust from getting to your collection.
- Low Humidity: Store your collection in a dry and cool environment to protect them from excess heat and moisture. Too much heat and moisture can cause your paper money to become yellow.
The best way to preserve and store paper-based relics is at 45%-55% (museum standard). Your goal, therefore, is to keep this humidity range. A hygrometer that measures humidity will help you know the humidity level. There are two ways you can do this:
- Air-Tight Plastic Containers and Silica Gels: Put your money inside air-tight plastic containers and add silica gels to absorb the moisture inside. Use plastic containers that are transparent so you can notice any buildup of moisture. Ensure also that you replace the silica gels as often as is needed. Purchase a hygrometer from your local hardware store so that you will be able to measure the humidity inside the container.
- Dehumidifier Cabinets: Known also as “dry box” these fridge-like cabinets have small dehumidifiers motors inside which help to keep the inside humidity at the stated level. These small black boxes have glass doors and are available in different sizes at your local photography /camera shops. The box comes with a digital hygrometer, which will not only help you set the required humidity level but also maintain it automatically. This is a better option when compared to replacing silica gels.
If you are into the collecting of banknotes as a hobby, bear in mind the few pointers listed here. If you still need additional help on how to store and preserve your collection, you can contact Colonial Acres. We have the necessary supplies to assist you in maintaining a stress-free hobby.