As an Art and Antiques dealer, you’ll naturally want to take care of your high value items from exposure to sunlight, temperature and humidity, worm and insect damage.
Here at Coversure Insurance Services, of course we recommend you have antiques insurance to protect your valuable stock, but there are other ways in which you can care for your antiques to avoid damage and potential losses in the first place.
Ideal environment for storage
Keep your furniture away from radiators, fireplaces, stoves, heating and air conditioning vents.
To prevent fading and degradation to wood and fabrics, do not store furniture in direct sunlight.
The room should be moderately humid; too high and it may cause mould or rot but too dry, could result in furniture drying out and cracking. The best way to prevent this from happening is to buy a humidity meter so that you can monitor the humidity in a room and take action if necessary. A level of between 50% – 60% humidity is ideal.
If you need to increase the level of humidity in a room, you can use a humidifier; or alternatively, small bowls of water placed on or near radiators will do the trick as long as they are kept topped up. To decrease humidity levels in a room, you could invest in a dehumidifier; a portable version is more affordable.
Another reason to be careful about humidity levels is the infestation of pests. Some timbers (e.g. softwoods, beech, walnut, lime, oak, ash) can be at risk from attack by wood boring insects, especially in damp conditions (above 70% relative humidity), which encourage insect activity.
A dust like surface underneath furniture could indicate that you have woodworm, termites or moths. You should check regularly for this. If you do notice any of this sawdust under your furniture, isolate the item and call an exterminator and/or conservator.
Bugs love dark spaces and close quarters. An easy way to protect your antiques from insects is to clean around your objects regularly, don’t eat food near your collectibles and use insect traps when necessary.
Rodents are attracted to the upholstery materials in your furniture to create their nests. If you notice rips, tears and missing upholstery call an exterminator to deal with the problem before it becomes worse.
Don’t clean too frequently as this can cause damage, and always test clean an inconspicuous area first. Similarly, do not excessively polish as this causes part of the original surface to be lost, resulting in a loss of decorative details.
The finish on surfaces can be affected by the type of cleaning and polishing materials you use. Do not use ones that are too harsh and build-up on the surface.
Handling and Moving
Avoid touching items as much as you can, as fingers can cause tarnish and some fragile metals can be easily dented, scratched or damaged. Wearing Nitrile gloves will help to avoid leaving residue on surfaces.
Always be careful when moving furniture by picking up chairs from under the seat and tables, from the lowest part of the main frame – not the table top. Chests should be emptied before moving them.
When Lifting and moving Glass and ceramics, use both hands and do not pick them up from more fragile parts such as handles or sprouts. Remove any lids and move them separately and do not wear any jewellery that could cause a scratch.
Protecting your antiques
Following our advice will limit the amount of damage to your antiques however should the worst happen, one of the best ways of protection for your business is to take out insurance.
To ensure you have appropriate cover for your business, speak to a specialist broker such as Coversure Insurance Services, who understands the finer details of the art and antiques world. We provide a wide range of cover including, premises and stock cover, employers and public liability, business interruption, personal accident and legal expenses.