Preserving and protecting your collection

In general, keep valuable works of art, antiques, and collectibles out of direct sunlight. Temperatures should be kept at a steady 68F degrees (+ or – 5% is acceptable) and humidity at 50% (although if this is not possible, keep at a lower level but avoid extreme fluctuations). When in doubt about handling or modifying a work of art, furniture item or decorative object, call a professional for advice about your investment.

  • Ceramics and Glass – Breakage and staining are the most common concerns; ensure objects are handled infrequently and stored on low shelving.
  • Coins – Store only in Type D Mylar, a polyester plastic – avoid PVC plastic materials.
  • Crystal - Do not store foods or beverages in crystal bowls, decanters or glassware for prolonged period of time. Alcohol, vinegar and juice will leach the lead out of the glass and cause discoloration.
  • Drawings, Prints, and Works on Paper – Ensure all mats and framing materials are acid-free. Yellow or brown discolorations may be acid-burn or mold; call a professional immediately as restoration may be possible if caught at an early stage. Allow light sensitive works to “rest” in a dark place for part of the year.
  • Furniture – Inspect regularly for pests that threaten wood and other organic materials. Cleaning and polishing your furniture should be done on a regular basis. Furniture oils will temporarily enhance the finish and appearance; apply a thin coat of wax annually. Never use spray wax on antiques.
  • Gold – Handle carefully to prevent scratching and deformation.
  • Paintings – Use a sable or badger brush to lightly dust paintings and frames. Never touch the surface of paintings and use a professional for moving, storage, and re-framing.
  • Photographs – (See recommendations for Drawings, Prints, and Works on Paper.) Photographs are light sensitive and should be stored in archival storage boxes. Handle with care if photographs are un-framed.
  • Sculpture – Outdoor, Bronze. Keep clear of overhanging foliage and set regular, bi-annual schedule for cleaning and waxing according to materials, needs, and conditions.
  • Silver - Handle carefully to prevent scratching and deformation. Handle carefully to prevent scratching and denting for sterling. Do not store silver in plastic bags and avoid contact with rubber and salt.
  • Textiles – Attention to light levels, temperature and humidity, and storage conditions are primary considerations. Custom installation is usually necessary for display.
  • Stone – Work outside is susceptible to acid-rain and ongoing exposure to water and fluctuating temperatures can cause cracking. Apply an appropriate protective coating on a regular schedule.

Inspect your property regularly, and call a professional with any concerns. Keep all original invoices and other documentation in a safe place. Maintaining a database inventory with photographs is the best way to keep track of your property and its current condition and value.

Painting by Dean Monogenis