Preserving Stamp Collection safe from dangers of natural surroundings
Stamp stock books should be stored vertical position in multiple filing cabinets. Vertical positioning is important as it enables the stamps and stock books to breathe. It also doesn’t flatten out possible impressions on stamps. And finally, it makes the stock books last longer as the binders don’t get too much weight on them.
Being able to close the cabinet door somewhat tight is important as it protects the collection from exposure to dust, light and other dangers of natural surroundings. In a sense stamps (like any achievable items) are like spices – they ought to be stored in cool, dark and dry place.
Light is one of the treacherous allies a stamp collector has. The larger and longer term the exposure of light, the more imminent the damages in a stamp will be. Most stamps will endure moderate light somewhat well, but there are some colours / stamps that will start fading away for a very little.
In general, even very small amounts of consistent light will eventually cause damages such as dull colors. The problem is that changes usually happen over time, so collector’s usually never realize the difference before it’s too late
Keeping stamps stored in a dark place is a definitive best practice.
Dust is something any stamp collector will end up battling. And there’s no escape from it… As dust does provide aesthetic and health related issues for both the collector and collection, keeping “stamp room” as dust free as possible should be a top priority. And alas, this does mean vacuuming “the stamp room” several times a week as well as regular wiping of surfaces.
Bugs are something I think nobody likes, but like in case of dust there’s no escape from bookworms such as “book louse”. They will hit any “paper collector” eventually – especially if you buy lots from old estates. These nasty little creatures fest with paper and glue leaving nothing but holes behind them. There are substances (like camphor) to prevent bookworms, but the only real medicine to avoid possible losses is constant observation of your collection.
As I live in somewhat dry climate, moisture related damages (like fungal growth, mold etc.) are not a big issue for me. That said, I do try to avoid items with visible foxing as they may contaminate other stamps and cause problems in the future. Personally I throw away these to junk bin ASAP.
As a side note about moisture related damages, I’d like to highlight that several collectors (in moister climate conditions) use slipcases to protect collections in stock books; and with good success.
IMO it is important to highlight, that these environmental hazards do not apply just to stamps. They affect on everything made of paper – including stock books, stamp albums, catalogues etc. Getting over-paranoid with this subject is very easy. Under any circumstances, the only thing any collector can do is to be aware and be prepared.