Preservation vs. Restoration

I do not attempt to correct any deficiencies in my cards. I do not eraser marks or try to clean stains.

My reasoning for this is simple. I am not a restorationist. It’s a skill set I do not have, and I am afraid that if I were to attempt to do things like remove stickers or dirt that I would just further damage the card. But I do my best to insure no new damage happens while in my care. I store the cards in archival sleeves when possible. I put them in photo boxes and keep them in a controlled temperature and humidity environment away from light and sunlight.

I also want to enjoy my collection though. I love looking at these cards. I digitize them with a scan and then put them away. The ones I like the most I occasionally pull out to look at. Mostly though I am happy to pursue the images here. These cards have lasted over a century. They aren’t going anywhere fast. So if anything I consider myself a collector first, and a preservationist second. I fully expect my collection to outlive me. I hope I will have been a good steward, and perhaps whoever takes over this role will actually be qualified to do the restorative work where required, but honestly, I think I’d rather just preserve the history (even if it is that of a dealer putting his initials to a card or some prior idiot damaging the card by removing a sticker).

Sometimes, I think I want a thousand cards and that once I get above that I’ll start paring down my collection. Other times I think I want ten thousand cards or even more! Why stop? Well, other than the obvious: time and money. Acquiring/purchasing, scanning, researching, dating, cataloging, tagging, sharing, and storing take more time than you would think. I spend an average of $2 on each card. I seldom get them cheaper than a dollar a card. Most I probably pay anywhere between $2-$5. I really dislike paying more than $4 a card, but sometimes I have to in order to get a particular example of something I want in my collection, or a particular image I have fallen in love with. I don’t know what the most I’v spent on a card is. Any amount I write will probably be quickly outdated. I know I’ve spent north of $20 on a few.

I don’t really see my collection as any sort of investment. In ten years these cards will probably be worth what I paid. But I also expect I’ll be able to get out of this hobby at any time for roughly what I’ve put into it (minus my time). Who knows, perhaps I’ll give the whole thing to various historical societies and museums at some point.

That’s right, Christopher L. Jorgensen, patron of the arts.

I am learning a lot about the time period, about photography, and historical fashion. I am also learning about WebDev since I can’t afford to high a web designer (I do all the web work on this site). I do all the data entry, all the image manipulations, everything. I can’t wait to see what this site looks like in a year. I can’t wait to see what my card collection looks like in ten!

I hope you stick around. I hope you like viewing these cards and sharing them with others. But at the end of the day, I am doing this all for me. I love this hobby. I’m just glad some people like coming along for the ride.

Christopher L. Jorgensen

Posted by Christopher L. Jorgensen on February 23 2019.

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