Collecting can be an enjoyable hobby, an educational pursuit or even a financial investment. So how do you look after a collection now that you’ve assembled one? While every collection is unique and has its own specific needs, you can take some simple loss prevention steps to help protect yours from loss or damage.
A good place to begin is creating and maintaining a current inventory of your collection. For each item in your collection, your inventory list should include: artist/maker, title, date, type of object, materials used, any inscriptions or markings on the object and its value. Be sure to include photographs to document the condition of each item and store a copy in a secure, secondary location such as a safe deposit box.
Theft and fire are two of the most common causes of loss involving collections. Consider installing centrally monitored burglar and fire alarm systems. Not only will this help keep you and your family safe while deterring loss or damage to your collection, it can sometimes result in savings on your insurance policy.
When choosing how to display or store your collection, consider the following suggestions:
- Hire a professional art handler to ensure objects are properly installed.
- Avoid hanging objects behind doors, in narrow hallways or in close proximity to furniture or shelving.
- Do not hang objects above a working fireplace or in close proximity to other heat sources such as radiators.
- Keep objects out of direct sunlight, as UV light can cause severe damage, specifically works on paper, photographs or textiles.
- Do not store objects in basements or attics, as these areas are vulnerable to flooding, leaks and dramatic temperature changes).
- Fragile objects should be displayed behind glass or secured with specialty wax, putty or gel.
- Have a mulch bed or other type of barrier around outdoor sculptures to prevent damage from lawn equipment.
Realize, too, that all art objects are sensitive to the influences of temperature and humidity, which could lead to damage such as warping, cracking and mold growth. Maintaining a controlled home temperature and humidity level will help prevent damage to your collection.
Sometimes accidents simply can’t be anticipated or stopped, but by implementing some of these preventive loss measures, you have a better chance of increasing the longevity of your collection.
Contact your local, independent insurance agent for advice on coverages to protect your collection.