Susan Howard of Australia's Tydewi Bindery submitted this query on paper money repairs. Can anyone help?
As a conservator, I have been approached by a small group of collectors who want some paper money repaired. I am not a collector myself but have the expertise to repair.
I wanted information on repairing paper money such as - technical details of paper /inks etc, for example the rag content of the paper used and what is considered by the collectors as an acceptable range of repairs to enhance and not devalue notes.
Having sought advice from the Bank of England we were directed to a very well-regarded historical society in UK. We were advised to purchase some books which would have all the information we require - we did this but they do not tell me the necessary. Do you have any articles that may have been published over the years to provide background information or perhaps technical accounts of repairs done??
I'd appreciate to hear the views of your members and to receive any information they may have regarding paper, inks (recipes even) , and general or specialist knowledge they may have acquired.
There is a lot of secrecy surrounding the matter of paper used. Understandable to prevent forgery but if repair is to be done to a note, (eg. to secure a ratty corner), then it is important to use a paper with a makeup content similar to the original. To this end one must approach the manufacturer, who, like the Bank of England itself, (I have been in touch with the Bank) understandably cannot give out information.
In general, regarding paper repairs, the less done the better and really paper repair is only necessary to prevent further deterioration or to secure a material that is disintegrating and would be lost to posterity otherwise.
The stresses and tensions in the fibres of the paper/ tissue and the properties of adhesive/ glue/ paste used are an important consideration and the same or similar paper with the grain going in the right direction are essential to have a good looking repair. Simple cleaning can often be done and without washing or ironing - it is just a matter of patience and time, more time, and being very gentle.
Whilst small tears and ripped notes can be (almost) invisibly mended, It is acceptable for a new paper repair to be noticeable as a repair although it is best if it can be of the same tone as the aged materials.
In many instances eg. older rare books, - a repair whilst enhancing the look and handling of a book can, in fact, often devalue the volume. The purpose of the repair/ restoration is to protect the text of the book. So, I would have thought the same thinking would apply to banknotes but it would be interesting to hear what others prefer to find acceptable and how the value of old money is affected by repair.
Information on actual repairs both good repairs and poorly done repairs, effected in the past are always very helpful to provide background and awareness of problems that other people have had.
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