Care for collections during inclement weather

In the aftermath of three destructive hurricanes down south, hobbyists across North America are considering the best ways to protect their collections.

Personal safety is paramount in situations such as Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25; or Hurricane Irma, which hit Floria on Sept. 10; and more recently Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico on Sept. 20—however, collectors also need to consider the safe-keeping of their beloved collections.

“I have lived through eight hurricanes in my life, and the devastation around Houston is just incomprehensible to me,” Jonathan Topper, of Topper Stamps in Houston, Texas, told the American Philatelic Society (APS) blog earlier this month.

“The flood waters were dirty and mold seems to starts growing almost immediately here in the warm, moist air. Mint stamps become unused stamps without gum, and some used stamps are salvageable if we can get them into some clean water and soak for awhile. Tap water is actually better than bottled water as it is chlorinated and that will stop some of the mold growth.”


The APS blog also highlighted the best way to minimize potential flood losses: act beforehand.

“Move precious paper material to higher, dryer ground. If you can’t move it all, move the items most precious to you,” reads the blog.

“For items you cannot move, pack in water-tight containers; some of these containers are from other realms but could be utilized for paper collections. For example, this past April, Boating magazine tested a couple dozen such containers for several conditions — from drowning to dropping — and gives the results here.”

The APS also recommends considering flood insurance.

Hugh Wood Inc. is the society’s official insurance carrier, and works with insuring fine arts and collectibles. Hugh Wood has a satellite office in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania right next door to the American Philatelic Center.”

For more information about preservation and care, visit the APS website at

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