Bank of Canada seminar to highlight proper storage, archiving

To assist collectors in clearing the confusion about storing and archiving numismatic and philatelic material, Bank of Canada Museum collection manager and conservator Patricia Measures will lead a presentation at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show on April 7.

“This talk will show that with a bit of thought and a small amount of effort, your collection can be preserved and protected,” said Measures, who has been working as a conservator since 2001.

“By assessing storage options, becoming aware of risks to materials, and making informed decisions, you can drastically improve the lifespan of your collection at little or no additional cost.”


François Rufiange, president of Québec’s l’Association des collectionneurs de monnaie du Grand-Levis and long-time numismatic educator, said it’s important to use high-quality tools and supplies when storing or archiving numismatic material.

Using a 2×2 coin holder is better than throwing coins into a tin can, he said, and using a PVC-free coin slab is better yet.

“You collect the coin and you become a personal curator. You want to take care of those things and retain or increase the value; you’ve stopped the wear and the elements from attacking the coin, but now you have to make sure it stays that way.”

Alas, one day you will part with your collection, but until that time it’s important to maintain proper care.

“You would probably take better care of it then if it was to circulate, but you have to be careful with how you do it.”


Bank of Canada Museum collection manager and conservator Patricia Measures has extensive experience working with objects made of a variety of materials, including metal, glass, ceramic, stone, wood and archival materials. She began her career with a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology at Wilfrid Laurier University and continued her education at Sir Sandford Fleming College with a diploma in Collections Conservation and Management. She obtained her Master of Arts Degree in Art Conservation Educational Equivalent in Los Angeles in 2004 while working for the Fowler Museum at the University of California. Measures joined the Bank of Canada Museum (formerly known as Canada’s Currency Museum) in 2012 and has been providing ongoing guidance on collection preservation and conservation for the National Currency Collection.


Late stamp dealer John Beddows, who died in July 2017 following a 55-year career in the philatelic business, said stamps and other philatelic material should be maintained “in their issued state.”

“This means moisture and stain should be avoided at all times,” he said, adding proper handling is always important when working with a collection. “All paper used in storage or albums must be of archive quality; this means modern paper, which is usually acidic, should be avoided.”

Beddows said albums and stock books must be “carefully purchased” as printing inks can bleed, ruining some or all of a collection.

Chris Carmichael, vice president of Vance Auctions, agreed a high-quality album or stock book is a “great way to store” a stamp collection. However, Carmichael said there’s still some care involved: “If you choose to use mounts, just be careful with the back split type. I’ve seen mint never-hinged stamps become ‘hinged’ as a result of too much moisture on the mount.” He added he would be “very careful about storing stamps in a highly humid environment, like a basement.”

Beddows agreed moisture will increase the threat of damage during storage, although that’s not the only concern.

“There is also a threat increase if the album is stored in flat position rather than standing due to pressure on the mounted stamps from cover and page weight,” said Beddows, who added other “environmental damage” can occur from exposure to air or light (both direct and reflected).

What’s more, mold spores can wreak havoc – known as foxing – on entire collections if improperly stored. For protection against mold, be sure to store your collection in temperatures below 18 degrees Celsius and with a relative humidity below 65 per cent, avoiding places like unfinished basements or damp attics.


Measures’ presentation on the Saturday of the two-day National Postage Stamp and Coin Show will touch on these topics and more.

Admission is only $3, which includes full-day access to the entire show. For more information, visit

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