How to Preserve and Protect your Sports Memorabilia

How to Preserve and Protect your Sports Memorabilia

How to Preserve and Protect your Sports Memorabilia

Sports memorabilia is a valuable investment and preserving it is important to ensure its long-term value. Whether you’re a collector of vintage items or a fan of your favorite team, there are steps you can take to preserve and protect your sports memorabilia.


Treat vintage leather gently. Avoid cleaning with oils or creams. Also, do not attempt to revive leather with oil or other dressings. The additive is pushed back to the surface of the glove, causing “spew,” which has a white, mold-like appearance. Wear white cotton gloves and remove surface dirt with a soft brush or cloth—oils from hands and fingerprints can leave permanent stains on artifacts. Let dry away from sunlight or heat sources and use a soft cloth to apply a leather conditioner that’s free of wax and silicone.


Store leather with care. Sports museums store baseballs, gloves and pigskin footballs in controlled temperature and humidity. At home, keep leather items in an archival box in a living area closet. This provides a stable environment while protecting against light, dust, pests and handling. Cushion items with acid-free tissue paper, padding gloves with crumpled tissue or polyester craft batting.


Frame It: Framing paper goods is essential to their preservation. It allows them to keep their shape, protects them from smudging by hands, and guards against the fading of colors. When framing sports memorabilia, use archival-quality materials. Choose acid-free mat board, backing and hinging material to prevent deterioration. Include a UV glass cover to filter out harmful light.


Keep Glass or Acrylic Very Clean: dust is the enemy of art or sports memorabilia. It’s important to keep the surface glass or acrylic of your framed sports memorabilia clean. This can be done with a mild solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Wipe the surface with a soft cloth and let it air dry.


Basic guidelines advise storing between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit as well as at a humidity level of 45-55%. The first step to any of this delicate balancing is to find a space that meets these criteria, such as a basement or attic. If the space isn’t air-conditioned, consider investing in a dehumidifier to keep the humidity at an acceptable level.


You don't have to keep your memorabilia boxed up.

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