Weather your a novice collector or a dealer, we all need to look after our callcard and phonecard collections properly. Although there is no correct way of doing this I have attempted to help out you all out by giving you as few tips that if followed should ensure that your collection is as good today as it was when you first start collecting.
Storing Your Cards:
So your collection is starting to build up and you've got nowhere to store them. This is a common problem with people these days and often our family and friends make fun of our little hobby so we often throw our cards around and simply put them in silly places like shoeboxes and money bags. Well this is fine if condition and value is not your objective. This is simply a waste of time as you should take pride in your collection and invest in a Phonecard Album similar to the common Stamp Album style and Business Card Album. However it is important to note that a phonecard will fit perfectly in a business card holder but this should only be a temporary measure as the plastic used in the business card holder is not designed for the phonecard and contains harmful chemicals which over time will eat and deface the card. It is therefore important to remember to invest in a proper album.
My advice on a proper album:
At the moment Eircom currently sells a callcard album which is Chemical less to my knowledge. These are very attractive looking but in my opinion they are not great as you cannot add more pages to the album should you wish to. I myself have bought a four ring binder and chemical free card pages, which I have been doing for years now. My collection can be expanded easily by adding more pages.
Do not under any circumstances place two cards into one sleeve as this will lead to the rubbing of each card off one another, leading to scratches being formed on each reducing the value and look of the card.
If you have a number of swaps, don't leave them lying about on a shelve or thrown in a box somewhere. Place them in a box, that fits the cards well, making sure that there isn't a lot of free room for the cards to bounce around in and rub off each other.
Do not place your cards in a very hot or very cold environment, as this can often faint the texture of the card, and can also shrink the card in extreme conditions.
Cleaning your cards:
Cleaning of your cards is a very important task that should be done with care and done properly. We have all found a card somewhere at one stage or another be it in a phone box, on the side of the street or in friends houses just lying about on a shelf somewhere that is covered in dirt or dust. The easiest way in my opinion is to use a small amount of water and some water. Dip your finger into the water and gently rub it against the dirt on the card making sure not to scratch it. Certain cloths can be used by care is to be advised as to which, do not use a rough cloth as this will certainly scratch a card and under no circumstance should you use a brillo pad for example.
Do not use any washing detergents, such as washing up liquid and bleach as these will often fade the pitter or remove the image from the card completely damaging and defacing the value of the card.
There are a number of highly specialized products available on the marketplace which has been designed to clean your callcards and phonecards and are definitely worth a try on rare cards that have become dirty and gritty over time, so keep an eye open at the next collectible fair you attend and visit your local dealer as he\she may have some in supply.
Remember its your collection and only you can decide how and where you will store your cards, but take care of them and never let anybody do something for you on one of your cards as a mistake can never be rectified later.
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Written by Steven Hanley 1999
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