There is much more to collecting than simply accumulating a vast number of programmes, tickets or whatever else takes your fancy and it is something of a waste of time and of course money if you are not going to store your items properly.
So, as it was suggested that perhaps one of my articles could be given over to “How to display, store and look after your Manchester United memorabilia. Advice on framing shirts, gloves, boots, storing papers and programmes” I thought I would devote this column to giving some advice on the above. Some, or even most of what I am about to say could well be irrelevant to many of you, but it is mainly something of a guideline for those of you starting out in the wonderful world of collecting, or for those who might be wondering what to do with the items you have.
If you are a serious collector and having paid out good money for some of the older programmes in your collection, then it is worth paying out a little bit more for storage in order to keep those items in as good a condition as possible, with an ‘archival ring binder box’ ideal for the purpose. These are basically box files, but with a ring file attachment inside. The side also drops to allow easy access to the items inside. I have seen excellent quality ones on the internet at £42, (www.franksautographs.com) but one of the wonders of the ‘net is that it allows you to search around for similar items and price check.
Should you not want to stretch to something so expensive as the £42 file, then an ordinary box file could suffice, with the programmes stored in polypropylene bags or plastic files to offer protection from marking, creasing or discolouring. The box file system also allows for the contents to be labelled on the outside.
Of course club programme binders might also suffice, but there are times when they are not readily available, although a trawl through the internet will offer up alternatives, as it will with clear pockets, storage envelopes etc.
Noting team changes, substitutions and the like are seen as ‘marking’ a programme, reducing it immediately from being a ‘mint condition’ item, so avoid doing this. If you do wish to make a note of the teams etc, then perhaps try and obtain a copy of the match-day team sheet, which gives you the correct line-ups and any goal scorers can be noted on this. An alternative way and one which would add a little to the value of the programme was to include a match report of the game, but nowadays they seem to have drifted away from giving a match summary and often there are no team details underneath. So perhaps simply noting the match statistics on a separate piece of paper and inserting this in the programme is your best bet.
These are one of the pet hates of programme collectors, especially if you collect items from the pre-1960 period. If you feel confident enough, you could remove the offending staples and replace with modern days ones, but even doing this would not remove the rust stains already there. If the programme is one of value and one that you do not want to see deteriorate further, then there are professional restorers who could do the whole process for you.
Storing your match tickets is a much easier process and I found the best bet for this is to purchase small photograph albums which have a number of clear pockets, allowing you to store two tickets per pocket. Alternatively, the match ticket could be inserted inside the same clear pocket, or whatever, as the match programme.
Cigarette and Trade cards.
Only one way to store your cards and that is in a ring file with the small pocket inserts to hold your cards. Again, shopping around could save you a couple of pounds.
This is where it becomes a little more difficult, as anyone who collects newspapers will more than likely go for older issues, which were printed on unstable wood pulp, which degrades pretty quickly when exposed to light, humidity and atmospheric pollutants. An acidic chemical reaction is produced which turns the paper brittle and discoloured. If that is not bad enough, each page can contaminate the one next to it.
‘Mylar’ sleeves are a recommended way of storing, but many also recommend that a sheet of acid free paper should be placed between each page of the paper. But no matter how you opt to store your newspapers, they should always be stored in a cool dry place.
Should you have in your possession a signed shirt or photograph, a poster, or some other item of memorabilia and you want to display it on the walls of your home, then your only real option is to pay a visit to your local picture framer whose details you will be able to obtain from either the Yellow Pages or from the internet. They will be able to give you a quote for what the job entails and also do a worthwhile job.
Remember, however, that once you have the item framed, do not hang it where the sunlight can get to it, as this will cause it to fade.
Should you be fortunate enough to own a good collection of memorabilia, then you should think about insuring it.
This not need be too expensive, but in the long run, it does give you piece of mind, although it would not compensate for the loss if such a thing occurred.
Insurance cover can usually be arranged in addition to your house cover, but a list of items over a certain figure could well be asked for, along with their values. Also, any items over a certain value might require to be stored in a fire proof cabinet. Everything, however, depends on that particular insurance company.
It is worth being totally honest with the company about this, as one insurance broker got in touch with me years ago as someone was claiming for items stolen and amongst the list were ‘programmes’ for games that none were issued for!
Hopefully all this is a help and I will be happy to try and assist with any other queries you should have.