Antique Lures

 

 

Storage and Preservation of a Lure Collection

Have you heard about someone opening their lure case and finding paint chips scattered over the bottom of the case?  It happens all the time.

A problem which comes up from time to time is how best to store an antique lure collection.  The main problems revolve around light, temperature changes, humidity, chemicals, and insects .  For extensive information on the art of conservation see: The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. 

Light will cause problems because it will damage and fade the paint or dye in the paper on boxes.  Lures should be stored in an area where direct sunlight or strong artificial light will not be a problem.  If strong light is allowed to repeatedly strike the paint on lures or paper on boxes, fading and deterioration will occur.  My collection is stored in a dark room and is only illuminated when I view the collection.  No sunlight ever hits the boxes or lures.  The majority of the time the collection is locked in a fire-proof safe for protection from the ultimate problems: fire and theft.

If you store your lures in a basement where variations of temperature can change greatly from season to season, you are asking for expansion problems.  Paint and wood expand at different rates and may cause cracks in the paint due to the differing rates of change.  A constant temperature is critical.  I personally keep my collection at a constant temperature of 78 degrees year round.  The air-conditioning maintains the humidity at a constant level too.  Almost without exception, the problems I have heard about ruining lures occurred 'up north' where there are large seasonal variations in temperature and humidity caused by dry heating systems or extremes in cold.

Of all the problems I've heard about, humidity related issues seem to be the worst.  If you find pieces of paint 'popped' off the wood bodies of your lures, the problem may be radical changes in humidity and temperature.  Keeping a hydrometer of some kind may be a good idea to keep a watch on humidity changes.  Maintaining a constant temperature is essential, but easily done if you have a computerized thermostat.  High moisture content in the air will obviously cause rust.  Moisture will cause 'foxing' of paper on boxes, catalogs, or brochures.   Foxing is a form of mildew on paper.  Maintaining a proper level of humidity is essential to proper maintenance of your collection.  I don't have hard numbers on what level is best, but my gut feeling is that it is in the 70% range as that seems to be 'normal'.  It's in the 35-40% levels associated with artificial heat where the problems occur.  The idea is to keep it constant and 40% isn't easy to maintain whereas levels in the 70% range are more likely to be sustainable.

Keeping your collection in glass cases is no guarantee that conditions will remain constant.  Obviously light is going to be transmitted through glass and heating can occur if sunlight is allowed to periodically pass over the box.  Variations in temperature will cause repeated expansion and contraction of the paint.

A good flow of air around the collection is also important to help maintain a constant level of moisture in the air.  Extremely dry air as found in rooms with dehumidifiers will also cause problems with excess drying-out of the paint and possible cracking.  I don't think putting a dehumidifier bar in a storage cabinet is a good idea due to lack of control.

In most areas of this country, insects can be a real problem with boxes.  Silverfish and roaches are the worst problems which have to be addressed on a regular basis.  Spraying with commercial insecticides should be done carefully to avoid getting these chemicals on the lures or boxes.  However, the surrounding areas should be well protected.  Never ever allow a commercial bug service near your collection as the service man: (1) now knows you have a collection, and (2) he may spray the collection. 

Exposing your collection to any chemicals is obviously a real threat.  Wrapping individual lures or boxes in plastics can be a problem depending on the type of plastics involved.   The plastic tubing placed on hooks can cause a problem when the plastic touches the paint...it may stick to the paint if left in contact long enough.  Another packing chemical which will totally ruin lures or boxes is foam rubber.  Ozone generated by electric motors deteriorates rubber related chemicals like neoprene and foam rubber.  If these chemicals are anywhere near your lures, you have a problem.

Where paper products are concerned, archival storage products are available and should be used to prevent acid damage.  Archival products can be purchased through 'The Gemmary' at www.gemmery.com .  Again, for extensive information on the art of conservation see: The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

If you have other ideas related to these  problems, just e-mail me and I'll add them to this page.

 

 

Have lures or reels you want  to sell?   Contact Gabby Talkington:  Contact information

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