How to Care for Your Rare Books

Rare books need special care to ensure they remain in good condition. Whether your books are valuable for financial reasons or for sentimental reasons, you need to take some precautions to protect these books from damage. So, we are going to give you some tips to help you take care of your rare books.

Storing Your Rare Books

It is essential to carefully store your rare books to ensure they remain in good condition or even to keep them from deteriorating further. First edition books that were printed from approximately the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s were typically printed on wood pulp paper. This type of paper is generally highly acidic and, therefore, may easily become brittle or discolored if it is not properly stored.

Maintaining the Temperature and Humidity Level

Your books should be kept in a room in which the temperature and the humidity level are constant. The temperature should be kept between approximately 60 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity level should be kept at about 45 to 60%. If the air in the room is too moist or dry, you risk having the leather covers of the books dry out, or the pages of the books become moldy.

Placing Your Books

It is also important to place your books carefully on the shelves when you store them. For books that are approximately fifteen inches or more in height, you should be sure to keep them flat. This will help prevent damage to the bindings as well as keep the pages from warping. It’s also important to remember that if you are removing a book from a pile, remove any books on top of the pile before the ones below.

Books that are less than fifteen inches in height should be placed upright. Just remember to support the books by using a bookend or other books so that they are not leaning. But, don’t jam the books together as this could damage them. Also, keep the books out of the sun because this could bleach the covers.

Cleaning Your Books

When books are stored for a long time, they become dusty. This could cause mold or mildew to grow, which could lead to bug infestation as well. To avoid this, you should regularly dust your books. Dust carefully without any chemical cleaners. A good way to do this is to use a soft, dry paintbrush. Another option for keeping your books clean would be to place plastic covers on them.

Repairing Your Rare Books

The condition of a rare book is very important. A rare book with no damage is clearly more valuable than a book that is damaged or badly repaired. Some rare books that are damaged can be repaired, but it is essential that this be done by a skilled professional.

It may seem like it wouldn’t be difficult to glue back some loose pages or refasten a cover, but it is more difficult than it seems. If a book is truly valuable, whether for financial or sentimental reasons, it should only be repaired by a professional.

Final Thoughts

Rare books require special care, and there is a lot you can do to make sure that your books stay in good condition. Proper storage and cleaning can go a long way toward protecting your rare books from damage. Also, if a rare book does become damaged, having a professional repair it will ensure it has the best chance of retaining its value.

Contact Us

If you want to find out the value of any of your rare books, contact Manzi Appraisers & Restorers. Our appraisal and restoration professionals have been trusted for more than 20 years to assist with the valuation and restoration of fine works of books, art, antiques, and more. Call us to schedule an appointment at 617-948-2577 and connect with us on Facebook.