Keep Your Autograph Collection From Fading

on Monday, 31 August 2009. Posted in Collecting and Protecting autographs

Questions and answers

Q: Part of my autograph collection is framed and on display in my home. What can I do to preserve the ones that are starting to fade?

A: There are several ways to limit fading and prolong the life of your collection.

Since light fades ...

...many writing inks and deteriorates paper, it is best to limit exposure to light. Display the autographs no more than one to three months per year in a dimly lit area. Replace the exhibited items regularly with others from your collection or with high quality photographic reproductions, which look like the originals when framed.

If any of the inks begin to fade, exhibit reproductions of those signatures instead of the originals. Always store valuable paper documents in alkaline-buffered boxes and folders when they are not on display.

Avoid displaying your collection in bright light. Both visible light and ultraviolet light can fade inks and darken paper. Sources that emit high levels of ultraviolet light include sunlight, halogen lamps and most fluorescent lights. Incandescent bulbs emit the lowest levels of ultraviolet light but like halogen lights and sunlight, they can cause displayed items to become excessively warm if the lights are placed too close. Spotlights are too intense to use for displays of light-sensitive materials.

For exhibit, place your collection in museum-quality mats made of alkalinebuffered rag mat board or conservation mat board, using archival photo corners. Instead of regular glass, choose ultraviolet-filtering Plexiglas or ultraviolet- filtering laminated glass.

In general, the inks that are most likely to fade include felt tip pen inks, colored inks and dye-based inks. Pigment- based inks, such as India ink and archival pen inks, are resistant to fading.

To build a collection of long-lasting autographs, ask people to write their signatures on a sheet of alkaline buffered paper or archival cotton bond paper using an archival pen such as a Pigma Micron pen.

Temperature and relative humidity play a major role in preservation. High temperatures and high humidity speed the deterioration of paper and inks. Excessive dampness can cause some inks to bleed and will encourage mold to grow.

It’s best to keep paper collections in an environment comfortable for people, with a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees and a relative humidity between 35 and 55 percent. Humidifiers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers can be used to control the humidity.

The use of deacidification sprays to preserve writing inks can be problematic. Some writing inks exhibit color changes, decolorization or fading when deacidified. It is best to leave this type of treatment to conservators and preserve your collection through the methods described above.

Hunting Channel

  • In-Person autograph experience at Hockenheim 2008

    In-Person autograph experience at Hockenheim 2008

     

    Michael Schumacher:
    He was very relaxed. Wrote comparatively much, but still hard to collect. One has to know where he is staying at which time. One evening he was playing poker with Kubica, Heidfeld, Fisichella, Rosberg, Briatore and Ecclestone. He finished the game at 1 o’clock in the morning. Then we got the nicest signatures ever.

  • Autograph hunting at 50th anniversary of Kartclub Kerpen + Belgium F1 Grand Prix 2011

    50th anniversary of Kartclub Kerpen with Michael and Sebastian Vettel

    Both, Michael and Sebastian, were close to the fans. So it was possible to collect a lot of great autographs. Michael wrote autographs in many different situations. Sebastian wrote even more always trying to fulfill every autographs wish. At the end of the day I had more Michael autographs as usual.

    Directly after leaving Kerpen, I travelled to Spa in Belgium. F1.

  • Autograph Collecting during F1 Winter testings in Spain

    Autograph Collecting during F1 Winter testings in Spain

    Ferrari:

    It was quite unusual to see Sebastian Vettel in red colors. But good news: he is still the most friendly driver in the F1 paddock. He had really fun to sign Ferrari pictures, although he does not sign as much as in the past. But still very satisfying.

    Kimi was like always. He signed one photograph per meeting, but it was really tough to meet and get him.

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