Stripped Covers: If you're going to collect matchcovers (no matches), which is the way the vast majority of collectors go, care is pretty easy and practical.

  • First, carefully open the staple (I use a letter opener) and pull the staple through from the other side. Then remove the matches.
    • Once the matches have been removed, with no damage to the cover, the covers have to be flattened. Any substantial weight on them for several days will do the trick. I've put a stack of 50 between two small, flat pieces of wood and left it in a vise. A few days later, voila!
  • Ultimately, the covers normally go into 3-ring binders with plastic pages (see supplies), but if they need to be temporarily stacked, use paper wrappers rather than rubber bands. The latter cut into the top and bottom covers and will eventually bond with the cover surface over time.
    • If the covers aren't going into albums, some collectors house them in trays, which will hold them on their sides, are space efficient, and maintain their flatness. They tend to get banged up if they're simply loose in boxes.
  • Wherever they go, keep them away from water and high humidity
  • - Don't keep them on floors (possibility of flood damage)
     
    - Don't keep them in garages, basements, etc. where there would be high humidity (i.e. storing them in a garage in North Carolina is probably not a good idea!) (Humidity causes mold and often causes the striker material to deteriorate...taking the top of the cover with it!)
    • - Never keep covers in direct sunlight or unusually strong light for extended period of time. The colors will fade.
     
    Matchbooks: If you're going to keep the matchbooks intact (matches remain inside), all of the above cautions apply, plus you now have the very big worry about fire...which is why most collectors don't collect full-books (not to mention the hugely increased storage space problem, bulkiness, and the dearth of other collectors to trade with. But, if you insist...
    • Match + friction = fire! So...fullbooks need to be stored so that they are not loose, and there is no room for movement or matches rubbing against each other...or anything else. Packed trays are good here.
  • It's pretty tough to mount full-books in albums (too bulky). You can put full-books into the plastic page sleeves, but, aside from the bulkiness, you'd have to worry about crushing.
    • Obviously, keep away from children and pets.
  • I wouldn't mention this to your home insurance agent, either!

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