Bulletin Board: Preserve your postcard collection

How to preserve your postcard collection from storage safety hazards

There are numerous albums and holders available for storing a postcard collection. Almost all will store and attractively display postcards, but the majority will not preserve a collection, and many have the potential to cause serious damage to the cards.

The ideal materials for postcard storage should be of archival quality. The Northeast Document Conservation Center defines “archival quality” as having two characteristics: the reduction of damage caused by the environment and handling, and no introduction of damaging chemicals to the documents being stored.

The openings of albums and holders should be larger in size than the postcards. It is very easy to damage a card by inserting or removing it from pages that have slots identical to the size of the postcard. Album pages and holders should also be stiff enough to prevent damage to the card if accidentally dropped on its edge or brushed against a hard surface.

The second criterion is more critical, and here is where most albums and holders fall short of expectations. Most of the plastics used to manufacture storage supplies have compounds added to make them soft and pliable (very thick holders, or “rigids” are hard because they are thick, but may still have the added compounds). Without question, these compounds will eventually break down to form an acidic oil. The effects of this acid on postcards can include lifting of the inks, discoloration of the cards, and deterioration of the postcard paper. Once the acid has invaded the card, the damage will continue even after removal from the holder or album page.

There are albums and holders that are free from the added compounds, made from one of the following materials: triacetate, polyester (Mylar), polyethylene, polypropylene or UPVC (unplasticized polyvinylchloride). Most archival-quality storage materials today are made from UPVC, the same material used to make plumbing pipes. Even though a plastic claims to be acid-free, acidity is also a characteristic of papers. It is recommended that even items stored in archival storage holders be watched for deterioration and those holders replaced at least once, or better twice, each 50 years.

The paper used in manufacture of storage supplies is also of great concern. This includes paper album pages, paper inserts in the album slots, cardboard boxes, etc. Most papers manufactured today have a high acid content from added chemicals, and have a life expectancy of less than 50 years. When postcards are stored adjacent to such paper, the acid can cause the cards to become brittle and discolored. Both types of damage are irreversible, although the damage will not worsen if the postcard is removed from contact with the acid source. Albums and boxes that are acid-free are available. Make sure the supplier specifically claims that the papers are acid-free, with a pH of 7.0 or higher.

You should also give consideration to the how and where to store your collection. The best use of holders and albums is to place the postcards into a safe holder, and then into a safe album. The cards can then be viewed in the album as well as be protected within the holder when removed from the album. Excessive heat and improper humidity can hasten the natural deterioration of the postcard paper. A temperature of 72F or below (the cooler the better), and humidity at 45 (+/-5) percent is best for maintaining your collection.

— The Virginia Deltiologist, Newsletter of the Old Dominion Postcard Club, Richmond, Va.


Jan/Feb 2007


A Turn of the Century Postcard Publisher

A news release from Walt Kransky, San Jose Post Card Club (SJPCC) and Lewis Baer, San Francisco Bay Area Post Card Club (SFBAPCC) announces, “A checklist of many E. H. Mitchell cards is now available for viewing on the Internet. In view of the vast quantity of cards and the variations in numbering there is no way of knowing if or when the list is truly complete.” Additions and corrections are requested by contacting Kransky.

Along with the checklist is a history of the Edward H. Mitchell Company of San Francisco, Calif., that was written by Sam Stark for the Golden Gate Post Card Club bulletin, where it was published in the 1970s. A biography of Edward H. Mitchell is also included – written by Baer. It appeared a year ago in the newsletter of the SFBAPCC.

At the end of the extensive lists and documentation are links for purchasing E. H. Mitchell postcards. The checklist was created by Walter Kransky a member of SJPCC/SFBAPCC using all of the known checklists and research material as well as his extensive private Mitchell collection To find the Mitchell checklist, history and biography go to the SFBAPCC at www.postcard.org and click on “Links” in the menu on the left. Then click on the Mitchell link at the top of the list. You, can also get there by going to www.thepostcard.com/walt, click on the “M” section to go to the Mitchell sections.  — San Jose Postcard Club, Calif., newsletter


Closed Albums

Marty Raskin, 1924-2006

With the April 17, 2006 passing of Marty Raskin we lost another good friend. Readers of Postcard Collector magazine will know Marty Raskin primarily as a promoter of postcard and paper shows in Michigan and the Great Lakes area, who organized approximately 200 shows during the last 25 years. Those who interacted with him directly remember him fondly as easygoing, low-key, kind, generous, thoughtful, polite and unselfish  –  a highly intelligent person who continued learning new things throughout life. He encouraged and inspired many to become collectors and dealers by sharing his joy for the knowledge depicted on paper.

Marty’s professional career began as a photographer and darkroom specialist – He even produced real photo postcards from his own photos. In 1980, he joined the Wolverine Postcard Club, and took over managing the club show. After several years as a postcard dealer he gravitated toward selling paper advertising published in old magazine issues, which he spent untold hours mounting and arranging for sale. Ultimately he found his favorite collectible category in cartography, traveling around to shows in a large van crammed with an inventory of many thousands of old maps.

Marty was dealer and promoter, not really collecting anything for himself, except a few highly specialized items that reminded him of his service in the U.S. Army towards the end of World War II in France and Belgium. He collected photos and postcards of gravesites and markers for anonymous fallen soldiers, preferring handmade makeshift memorials to the official tombs of unknown soldiers such as at Arlington National Cemetery.

Martin Raskin was born in Detroit on Jan. 5, 1924. He married his devoted wife Ruth in 1953, who lent a helping hand in Marty’s businesses until her death in 1999. He is survived by daughter Lisa Steele (Nevada City, Calif.) and son Rob Raskin (Pasadena, Calif.). Marty is further survived by his fiancée Dorothy Zeldes.

– By Michael G. Price, who acknowledges the kind input of Dave Jaeger, Rob Raskin and Lisa Steele.


Ronald Reed, 75

The postcard world lost a good friend and respected dealer on Nov. 8 when Ronald Reed, of Reedson’s Postcards, died at age 75, in Marion, Ill.

Ronald and wife Ann were popular dealers in the Midwest for over 32 years, and were well known for their good stock of cards and friendly service. The last show they participated in was the St. Louis Gateway Post Card Club’s annual show in Collinsville, Ill., on Labor Day weekend in 2006.

 Ronald was a professional librarian who retired as Director of Marion Carnegie Library in 1992 after 17 years. Prior to that, he worked as assistant director of the Shawnee Library System. He also worked as a professor of library science at Illinois State University for five years. He honorably served his country in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict.

His wife Ann Reed of Marion; two sons, Duane Reed and Stephen Reed; daughter, Jenny Martin and several grandchildren survive him. His family, friends, fellow dealers and customers will miss his postcard knowledge and his subtle humor.

Click here to discuss this story and more in the AntiqueTrader.com message boards.