I’ve had the opportunity to examine numerous old time (15 years or older) credit card collections. One thing noticeably missing is the lack of quality material. It appears that most pioneer collectors thought, “I’ll just put these expired cards away.” They just didn’t realize the day would come when others would be seriously interested in those credit cards.
Early collectors seldom took precautions to protect the condition of the cards that were kept. Some collections were displayed by being glued into photo albums. It was also common to bundle credit cards with rubber bands or just stack them together loosely. This allowed the credit cards to rub together thus creating numerous unsightly hairline scratches. The few pristine cards that were put aside were often mishandled. Upon first glance you can easily mistake the cards for used. Closer examination reveals that the cards have been handled and stacked together so many times that they have become worn looking. Please don’t misunderstand the point I’m making. I’m not criticizing early collectors. I’m just pointing out that there’s an opportunity today for any collector who takes the time to learn and practice proper handling and storage procedures. The opportunity is to own one of the few collections of top condition credit cards. The type of condition that future credit card collectors will be looking for to fill their collections with. It’s up to us to make sure that the specimens we set aside will be preserved in the finest condition possible.
The starting point, for keeping credit cards in top condition, is proper handling. Always hold credit cards by their edges with your finger tips. Never touch a card’s front or back surface. This will help keep fingerprints and scratches off the magnetic tape which is easily damaged. It will also help keep the signature space clean since it’s inclined to attract dirt. Anytime you handle a credit card use this procedure. To store your credit cards use individual protective envelopes. I use Worchester glassine envelopes #2. It’s the envelope that’s attached. They measure 2-5/16″ X 3-5/8″. The envelopes are available at stamp hobby shops. All credit cards fit comfortably into these envelopes. These few simple steps will help preserve your credit card collection in top condition!
Copyright 1986 by Greg Tunks