Preserve and Protect Your Coca Cola Collection
First and foremost as an avid collector you'll want to leave all items in as close to the original condition to maintain optimum value. For instance - Coke bottles should remain with full contents and original caps or figurines should always have their original packaging, packing materials and printed certificates. But there are other considerations when it comes to preserving or displaying your ever-growing investment.
1. Think Acid-Free! In its natural state the tree, from which paperboard is produced, absorbs numerous chemicals from the air and ground and is highly acidic by nature. Untreated paper pulp is very acidic as well. The acid in untreated paperboard tends to leach the color out of objects it comes into contact with. Think of old family photos that yellow and fade with time. This inherent acidity also makes papers and boxes become brittle and have a tendency to fall apart.
2. Control Temperature! Extreme temperatures and high humidity accelerate the destructive effect of acid on your collectibles. Temperatures above 80 and below 50 degrees represent potential hazards for the paint and stability of liquids in many collectibles. The expansion and contraction of paint on a daily basis in attics, for example, will tend to cause microscopic cracks in painted surfaces. Humidity above 60% can deteriorate your collectibles. Some of the more common moisture deterioration are rust, corrosion, mold and mildew. For Coke cans and bottles freezing is devastating. Storage in garages or unheated attics during winter can wipe out an entire collection.
3. Handle with Care! Some collectors use cotton gloves when handling unpackaged or loose vintage pieces of their collections. Hands carry oil and dirt that can mark and ultimately destroy collectibles. Always wash your hands thoroughly, preferably with oil-free soap, before handling especially paper and fabric-covered collectibles with your bare hands.
4. Keep Under Wraps! The best method for preserving all collectibles is to store them in dust-free containers or have them framed. Collectibles like animation cels, artwork, and dry serve wraps should be framed or stored in mylar sleeves and art portfolios. Plastic display cases should be acid-free and are great for storing bean bags, diecast vehicles, porcelain objects, and figurines. These keep the collectible dust-free and easy to see without handling. If there is a smoker in the house, protect your collection from the harmful effects of smoke smell and chemicals in a zipper-style plastic bag or plastic case. (Acid-free of course)
5. Clean with Care! Simple dusting will keep most collectibles looking their best. Use compressed air, a feather duster or paint brush to gently remove any dust or dirt. If you don't trust your cleaning skills, seek the help of a professional restorer for artwork and animation cels. Glass, ceramic, and porcelain objects can be bathed in lukewarm water with a mild soap. Be sure to rinse and completely dry so soap residue will not attract more dust once it has dried.
6. Store without Touching! For collectibles like ornaments and plates that spend more time in storage than most, it's important to store in rigid boxes with compartments or dividers to avoid the pieces touching each other. Acid-free cardboard boxes or hard plastic boxes are the most common. Beware of trapped moisture with plastic boxes. All items must be thoroughly dried when stored. For bean bags use acid-free tag protectors.
7. Insure your Collection! No matter how big or small your Coca-Cola collection may be, you should consider insuring your valuables in case of theft, fire, flood or destruction. Most small collections are already covered under homeowners insurance. For especially large collections, rare pieces or collections above your insurance's limits, you may wish to consider getting a rider and professional appraisal. If you have a question, ask your insurance representative. Keep an up-to-date listing of your collection with original receipts, photos and certificates of authenticity in a safe place.
*Taken from original manuscript for "Coca-Cola Collectible Polar Bears" written by Linda Lee Harry