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Did you know... that many people have different views on how to best store their movie paper collection?

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Added: 06/25/2012

A long time ago, we received the below question from a customer. We have regularly received this same basic question with slight variations over the years, so we thought club members would like to read the answer we gave back then (only slightly revised now, because little has changed on this subject over the past decade!).

    "Dear Bruce: I'd like to get the truth about long-term storage of movie posters and related paper, and where is the bst place to keep your collection, and what are the best storage materials to use. For many years, I have used a company that advertises in MCW every month to puchase storage materials. My HUGE collection needs protection from handling, dust, etc.
     Because of this, I have over 2,500 magazines, hundreds of posters, lobbies, etc. stored in "poly" bags with cardboard backings. Now, another company also advertises in MCW with their "Mylar" protectors. Their claim that "poly" protectors contain gases and fumes that shorten the life of your investment has me worried!
     There is also the cost factor to be considered. The "poly" system is very affordable, considering the quantity I need, while the "Mylar" system is several times the cost of that for "poly". For sizes larger than will fit in the 1-sheet/quad bags, such as 40" x 60"s up to 24-sheets, I keep them stored flat, one on top of the other, in a large homemade "book", measuring 50" x 65", that consists of wooden "covers" lined with brown packaging paper, with an expandable spine.
     The advantage I have found to this, is that the "book" presses the posters quite nicely. Fold marks are nearly completely pressed out. And, there is none of the maddening curling that occurs with posters stored rolled. But, what dangers am I at risk of encountering? Should tissue, or some such material, be placed between each and every sheet of paper? Should I use canvas instead of the brown paper to protect the posters from the wooden covers? Any advise would be so greatly appreciated. Especially advise that won't cost an arm & a leg. Many thanks!"

     ANSWER FROM BRUCE: This subject has been dealt with several times in previous club messages, but it's such an important topic that I don't mind revisiting it on a regular basis, as there are ALWAYS lots of "newer" collectors with similar questions. Forty five years ago when I started in comic books, I bought "poly" bags just like this questioner, and spent a small fortune over the next nine years as a full-time comic book collector/dealer on bagging comics I collected or sold.
    Their main advantage is that if you handle your items a lot, you can do so much more easily, and with much less fear of damaging them. However about thirty years ago, the Mylar and "Mylite" bags showed up, and the makers of those said that poly bags are damaging to comic books (or any paper items). I didn't rush out and buy all new Mylar bags for my stuff (which as this questioner says, would cost a small fortune, as they were and are much more expensive than poly).
     Instead, I took everything out of the poly and JUST STORED THEM UNPROTECTED! I have mostly continued doing this for the past thirty years (with all sorts of collectible paper) and I would say that I never saw any real difference between items I stored in bags, and those I stored with nothing (I've hardly ever used Mylar).
     With movie posters, around 20 years ago I invested around $400 in a metal poster cabinet with four drawers that comfortably hold hundreds of unbacked one-sheets each (or around 50 linenbacked ones), and over the following years I slowly added six more, plus a set of forty eight custom built wooden drawers.
     I store all the posters in them unfolded and flat, for over time they then lose virtually all their folds (posters stored folded for many years invariably grow more fragile along the folds).
     So my personal experience is that no protection works just fine (although in my case I usually only handle them when I am removing them to sell them, which may not be your experience or fit your needs). If I want to look at items on a regular basis I frame them and hang them on the wall.
     HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING! Whenever I have received a collection to sell, it has never mattered how they were bagged or not bagged (and in fact the best ones were found totally unprotected, like the Royal Theater Collection of movie posters found in Canada). But you ABSOLUTELY MUST be careful about heat, light, humidity, and protecting them from water, fire, insects, mold and mildew. Just about any well-constructed cabinet placed in a climate controlled room will accomplish this.
     I know the bag and sleeve people will be mad at me for saying this, but I honestly think the main reason collectors use the bags and sleeves is because they think they are supposed to, which is fed by the endless ads from the companies who make them. I know several other major collectors who also don't use them, and they have not reported any problems. I'd like some of the members of this club with large collections to share how they store their posters, and I will gladly print responses (whether they agree with me or not!) in future club messages.

But I certainly DO accept that those collectors who like to "handle" their posters a lot, or those who are also dealers who need to take their inventory to shows, DO have a valid reason for using these products. Where can you get the types of collector quality supplies mentioned above? Here are the two best sources (and we accept no paid ads from anyone, and we only recommend those sites we feel are worthy of you using):

*Bill Cole Enterprises
*Bags Unlimited


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