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Protecting Old Newspapers

How to protect old vintage newspapers and keep them safe, organized and protected. Old newspapers typically become yellow and brittle with age, but with the right preservation techniques you can slow the inevitable aging process.

By Lori Ferber

One of the toughest challenges is the preservation of old newspapers. That’s because time, humidity and sunlight are the arch enemy of newspapers. Not convinced? Try this simple experiment. Leave a copy of your local newspaper outside in the sunlight for just an hour. It won’t take much longer than that for the newspaper to show major yellowing and damage.

Some newspapers will deteriorate faster than others. For instance, oddly enough newspapers made before the late 1800’s often hold up better than more current newspapers. The reason is simple, prior to that date newspapers were often produced on paper that contained rag linen content rather than traditional newsprint since they contained virtually no acid, chemicals or wood pulp. The most common result of exposing newspapers to sunlight, moisture or extreme change sin temperate is that they turn yellow, brown or brittle. In our opinion here is no perfect way to stop the deterioration of newspapers. Like the aging of humans, time will take its toll regardless. However, with proper techniques you can slow the aging process – at least in newspapers!

The best way to preserve newspapers is to store them in a flat open position. The reason for this is that newspapers tend to experience the most deterioration around the folds in the paper. The folds often become brittle and yellowed with age. This is common, and expected over time, but storing the paper flat reduces the pressure on the folds thus cutting down on the level of deterioration you would find in the folds. Constantly unfolding and closing a newspaper to view it, also harms the newspaper so this is yet another reason for storing them flat.

If you use a plastic sleeve to preserve your newspapers, be sure to purchase one that is large enough to hold the newspaper comfortably. Damage often occurs when trying to squeeze newspapers into small sleeves. Also, as we mentioned earlier, never laminate the front page of a newspaper – that immediately and drastically reduces the value of the newspaper to collectors.

As experienced and knowledgeable dealers in political memorabilia, Lori and Steve Ferber have been providing helping collectors acquire and preserve unique and intersting political memorabilia items for over 35 years. They operate a popular collectibles website at

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  • Lori: After weeks of research, asking for referrals and conducting a competitive analysis - I landed with Lori Ferber Collectibles.My journey has been wonderful to say the least Steve & Lori are excellent!
    B. G. February 26, 2015
  • Lori & Steve: Your honesty and integrity are inspiring and conducive to an ongoing business relationship.
    P.W. February 26, 2015
  • Lori: Thank you ever so much for the Presidential Inaugural Invitation. I was moved because it means so very much to me. I was in Washington D.C. last year during the inauguration, however, I had been hoping to eventually obtain something this special (I even wrote to my Congressman and others). Again, thank you so much and may you have continued success in your business in the coming years.
    W.M. February 20, 2015
  • Thank you very much for your assistance in making sure that the gift is now perfect. I have been spreading the word about the excellent customer service I've received from you
    A. H. February 26, 2015
  • Lori, I cannot wait to place my next order! Thanks again for your advice. I look forward to placing my next order.
    N. R. February 26, 2015
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    S. D. February 26, 2015
  • I received it yesterday, thank you so much for sending it so quickly!! I'm thrilled, and absolutely LOVE it! Thank you again!!
    Mary M. February 26, 2015
  • Dear Lori, Thank you for everything, especially the quick priority shipping and the great job of packaging. You have been the most professional of sellers and I appreciate it.
    Trent February 26, 2015
  • Lori: It has been a pleasure to do business with a company that obviously has such high values and service
    Chris February 26, 2015