How to Care for Antique Books?

Antique Books

Whether you are a lucky owner of a valuable collection of modern paintings or have a set of antique books, you need to properly care for all your possessions. Unfortunately, sometimes art collectors simply forget that old books can be much more fragile than other fine art pieces and, therefore, always require special care. Improper handling and transportation, as well as excessive sunlight, heat, and moisture, can easily damage antique books and prints. Thereby, if you want to ensure your precious collection is safe and protected from all possible dangers, you have to maintain the right environment, store it in a special facility or properly equipped room, and use only professional art shipping and packing services. Only in such a case, your collection of antique books will remain in its pristine condition for years to come. Here are several useful tips to consider:

1. Protective storage measures

Acid-free protective covers are a must-have for storing antique books. Opt for only archival-grade products intended to protect fine art pieces. Moreover, when choosing a bookcase for your collection, keep in mind that it should have a closing glass door. It is always better to store antique books on glass shelves rather than on wooden ones. Baked enamel and metal shelves are also acceptable.

2. Ideal environment

Creating an ideal and stable environment is crucial for protecting antique books in private homes. Since any reputable art storage facility is equipped with a modern climate control system, you also need to keep temperature and moisture levels at a constant level. For example, the optimum level for humidity is between 40% and 60%, and the ideal temperature is 60°F to 65°F.

3. Lighting

Keep antique books away from all substantial sources of light. Direct sunlight and fluorescent lights are especially dangerous for old books and prints. If it is possible, use LED lights or, at least, install UV filters to minimize damage.

4. Art handling

Antique books require you to follow simple art handling rules:

  • always have your hands clean or wear gloves;
  • dust each item frequently;
  • don’t use glue or any type of adhesive tape on books;
  • never tug at the top of the spine to remove the book from the shelf; instead, grab it from the middle along the spine;
  • don’t use acidic inserts, “dog ear” folding, or paper clips to bookmark pages;
  • always keep drink and food away;
  • never leave a book open.

5. Storage position

To store antique books on the shelf in the right position is another important thing to consider. Thus, it is better to store large books horizontally while smaller items can be placed upright at a 90-degree angle. Besides, you can store similar-sized books together so that they could support each other on the shelf.

These simple tips can prolong the life and the usability of antique books, so always apply them to protect your collection. If you need any assistance with safe handling and couriering, packing, or transportation of your precious possessions, do not hesitate to contact Fine Art Shippers. We are always here to help!