Please convey my thanks to those who contributed ideas on how to safely remove price sticker residue from a book. Not having most of the suggested solvents, and being somewhat hesitant because the book did not have a more impervious glossy dust jacket or cover, I ended up using an art eraser per Anne Bentley's suggestion.
After ten or fifteen minutes using the technique she described the remaining glue on the cover was gone, with no apparent discoloration or damage to the underlying surface (whether I've minimized the historical value I cannot say, but confess that I also remove price tags and stickers from clothing I buy, so future archeologists might at the least judge me consistent).
David W. Lange writes:
I found this to be one of the most useful discussions in recent issues. As a collector of coin albums, folders, etc., I'm frequently frustrated by the non-contemporary price stickers applied by thoughtless dealers selling used or remaindered vintage items. I will certainly put to the test some of the methods described. Along a similar line, a recent eBay acquisition was a scarce Dansco folder for Canadian small cents that I purchased from a seller in England. It arrived with the package open and the folder firmly stuck to the self-adhesive flap. Evidently, the customs agent had opened the package for inspection and had not resealed it properly.
A tentative attempt on my part to separate the folder from the flap quickly established that this could not be done without ripping the cover paper. In desperation I took it to my friend and fellow employee Skip Fazzari, who works in the lab at Numismatic Conservation Services, conveniently located around the corner from my own office at Numismatic Guaranty Corp. I got it back three days later without a trace of the offending flap or any sign of damage to the folder. What method he used to save the day remains a trade secret but, needless to say, I was quite pleased.
Tom Michael writes:
Regarding the discussion on removing stickers from books, I was greatly surprised that no one mentioned Goo-Gone.
I have been involved with books since before I could read. I earlier years I too was very frustrated with stickers on dust jackets, comic covers and other fragile paper wraps whose value often lay in the colorful graphics. I used many methods over the years, but sometime within the last 10 years or so I discovered Goo-Gone. It's a citrus based product which dissolves glues, waxes and such. All I do is squirt some Goo-Gone on and around the sticker and let it soak in for a while. The glue dissolves and the sticker can be removed, along with the glue residue. The dust jacket will looked stained at first, but Goo-Gone evaporates and leaves no stain after an hour or so. If the sticker is older, or tougher to remove, after soaking in Goo-Gone, I use a sharp pocket knife to lift the edges of the sticker so that the liquid can get below, this is sometimes necessary if the sticker has a foil top surface also.
Usually I will place a paper towel under whatever I squirt Goo-Gone onto to minimize it's spread. This reduces the drying time back to natural color. One caution when using Goo-Gone; do not try to rub it into any color printed surface. This will damage or even remove the gloss and eventually the color print itself. Let Goo-Gone do it's work naturally.
Here is a link to the Goo-Gone website, http://www.googone.com/googone.aspx where they offer a variety of products. Plain old Goo-Gone is available in most hardware or departments stores, usually near the cleaning supplies. A small bottle will last through years of sticker removal.
For the most part I prefer removing modern stickers applied at garage sales, antique stores and booksellers. However, I agree with Jorgen as far as older, or original sales stickers are concerned. If they are part of the context of the issue of the book, or they establish a pedigree or build an interesting history for the life of the book, then it is favorable to leave them intact. I feel this is also true of bookseller labels, library labels and name plates, which are normally applied to the inside front or back covers.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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