Sometimes a book is more than just a book. Sometimes it’s a rare and valuable collectible.
If you have a collectible book -or several- in your possession, you should care for and treat it like you would any valuable. In short, keep it safe, keep a record of it, keep its value up to date and keep it adequately insured.
Read on for our essential checklist for protecting valuable books.
To preserve the quality of your collectible books, consider installing climate controls in your home or library. Extreme temperature fluctuations and too much humidity can damage books, so be sure to store them away from air vents and in a stable environment.
Too much light -natural or manmade- can cause the cover and print to fade, which can greatly affect value.
Rare books should not be handled frequently and should not be stored on a bookshelf with your other, non-collectible books, as they may be mistakenly removed. If possible, store the most fragile and valuable books in hermetically sealed cases or glass front cabinets, and protect individual books with acid proof jackets.
Rare books should be carefully inventoried. Note the author, title, edition, condition, and any other pertinent information about the book. Take digital photos of the book and store back-up copies of the inventory along with invoices, appraisals, and any other provenance documentation.
Just like with fine art and other collectibles, rare books should be appraised regularly. A good rule is to have new appraisals done every three to five years. This will be important if you have an insurable loss.
Finally, don’t assume your home insurance policy will provide sufficient coverage for a loss. Insure your rare books with a valuable articles policy that is structured to provide the best coverage for your fine art and collectibles.