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General And Slightly Off Topic Talk Forum for exchanging ideas and talking about general issues without straying too far off topic.

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Old 05-15-2002, 08:51 PM   #21
Art
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Also another suggestion for keeping documents and other paperwork in a vertical position are by using the little clear photo-album corners sold in photo supply stores. They work great and are archival quality so you won't have to worry about the chemicals from the platic leeching onto the paper. You can also pick up archival quality pure white card stock from the same place, works great to "stiffen up" some of the larger documents. Just cut the card stock the same size as the document, place in back of the document, attach the clear plastic corners and mount to your display. If you want to get REALLY crazy, use all archival quality paper, and lose the glass/plexiglas and substitute with museum quality UV resistant material.

For those who want a good starting point for buying this stuff, take a look at light impressions you can read about what materials you should be using. You can search for similar materials via Yahoo.

Art
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Old 05-21-2002, 05:14 PM   #22
Dave
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All-

I store my groups/individual pieces in a couple different ways:

-My groups I store in walnut framed glass cases. I buy them from Indian River Frame Company (you can find it on the internet). I like doing this because I can display documents, awards, photos, etc 'openly'. For me, if I can't see a group, I don't see a point in keeping it, and I sell or trade it (very much opposite of Rick). I've attached a photo at the bottom of this reply. I store the award books open- I have had some groups in frames for up to three years, and haven't seen any damage to the books, keeping them open.

-Groups that I plan on selling, I store in Ziploc freezer bags. This keeps them away from moisture, and the thickness of the bag protects them from other groups. I have gone as far as putting the protective plastic sleeves over each award in the bag, just to protect the awards from themsleves.

-For individual awards, I don't really have any that I would display (I've sold most of mine to buy groups) but those that I do have I store in the same Ziploc bags, or, as in the case of my Glories, (this is really bad!) I store them in a pile in cigar boxes.

-I have found that the walnut frames I store my groups in really work well to display the officer portrait photos as well.

-I have a number of individual researched awards. I have a large binder I keep all of my research in, storing each groups research in plastic sleeves. What I do for the individual awards (since most are Glories, and it will take well over an hour for me to dig through my boxes full to find the right serial number!) is I get the sleeve protectors which have a little 'fold' over the top, which seals the sleeve. I then take the award, stick it in one of the plastic sleeve protectors, and then slip it in the sleeve protector for the page. It works pretty well, as the award stays with the research, and if I ever need to take them somewhere, I can just pick up the binder.

-In regards to Mcwirsk's question about cleaning... I used to clean all of mine, as I thought it made them 'pretty'. I've gotten to the point now where I've passed on several great groups because they've been cleaned and polished. I am a great believer in letting them stay the way they are when they come 'out of the woodwork'. I think it gives them extra personality, personally. I am also against re-ribboning or re-mounting awards. Part of the 'romance' of the hobby is envisioning that veteran proudly wearing THAT award on THAT ribbon- why replace it with something that only I've touched? People will disagree with me, but I think that the wear and tear is all part of the story behind the award- it's history, and that's what I collect the awards for.

--Dave
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Old 05-21-2002, 08:55 PM   #23
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To Clean or not to Clean

Hi Everyone,

I will have to agree with Dave - most experience medals collectors will never clean their awards and never re-ribbon them, even when the original ribbon is in pieces (minor restoration is acceptable). To them original condition adds character and "feel of history" to the piece. Those who clean should keep this in mind if they ever plan on selling or trading items from their collection.

Alexei
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Old 05-21-2002, 09:30 PM   #24
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I think we are all in agreement. Part of the attraction of a nice group is the history of the entire group. The ribbons included. Sometimes I see nice old awards with a great patina and look to them, mounted to a sparkling new ribbon stuck on a lightweight aluminum suspension...ughh..

The only time I've cleaned a piece is to remove caked on mud or dirt, and then I would never polish. I'd take a shallow dish, a droplet of dish detergent, fill with warm water and dip the medallion in and out a few times repeating until no muddy material is dripping off, then with an old soft bristle toothbrush lightly brush the surface. Gotta let the warm soapy water do its work though. If you aren't careful you'll create a pattern in the metal surface from brushing to hard.

Art
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Old 08-07-2002, 04:17 PM   #25
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I've recently mounted a group I got a while back. This is the first time I've tried to mount a group that has order books.

I went to the hopbby shop, bought the card, frame, glass, red felt as normal. I cut a hole in the card where the orders would sit, so when the card was covered in felt, they would sit into the card. The then glued the felt to the card and mounted the two ordered.

The order books were a little more difficult. I got hold of some green thread and used a neadle to go through the felt and card and down the center of the book and then through the other side where I tied the thread to hold to order books in place.

As some friends mine saw some of the other medals/orders I've mounted and said it would be nice if I put what they were, I decided to write a description of what the Order of Labour Glory was awarded for, number issued and a translation into English of the order booklet.

The result seems to have come out ok.

Kind Regards,
Shane Cook.
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Old 08-07-2002, 04:29 PM   #26
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I'm jealous..you guys got some great displays there. I've got two groups I'm saving for an experiment. I work with a laser-engraver and we cut and etch all kinds of stuff. I've got this idea similar to Shane's, and what I'm going to do is inscribe the name of the award in reverse on the inside of the plexiglas. That way the name of the award will "hover" in front of the award.

If it works, I'll post a picture of it. If it doesn't, I'm going to hide it at work somewhere


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Old 11-28-2002, 04:36 AM   #27
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This thread has been dormant for quite a while but as someone re-raised the question elsewhere I though I would post my experience and questions here.

Orders, medals and badges - Mark 1
Earlier in my collecting I used to make my own wall displays. I would buy old wooden picture frames at antique or junk stores. I bought the ones with no picure or glass and usually got them for only $1 or $2 each. I would cover heavy cardboard with black velvet, bought at a local fabric store, and put it into the frame. Then I would simply pin-on medals and poke holes in the cardboard to screw-on any s/b items.
There were three probnlems. First the items got dusty quickly and started to oxodize fast. I like my items with original patina but the "dust oxidization" I got was blotchy and bad looking. Second, it was a real pain to re-order everything if I got a new item. For example, I had a academy and school badge display and like to keep them in a sort of order so I had to move them all around whenever I got something new. Luckily with nice velvet the "shag" will sort of hide an old and unused screw-hole. Third, It was taking more and more wall space.

Orders, medals and badges - Mark 2
Finally I gave in and bought a cabinet. I bought a nice "haberdashers cabinet" at the Bombay Company (on sale for around $225). This is a narrow but tall cabinet. It is about 1' wide, 15" deep and 5 to 5 1/2' tall. It is made of nice dark wood. It has seven drawers each with a glass front. I lined each drawers with about 1" of cotton fibre padding covered with black velvet and I simply lay my items on it. As there is still about 5" of space (height) in each drawer over the padding you can put anything in there, even award boxes! I managed to find clear plastic sheaths that would fit award docs - I think they are for some sort of sports card or something. I lay my awards in the drawer and the docs (in their sheaths) stand up around the sides of the drawer.
The nice thing is that with the glass front on the drawers you can get a glimpse of the awards inside - generally just flashes of silver, gold and colourful ribbons unless you get close. Also being a nice piece of furniture my wife allowed it to live in the living room.
Since not everything I have will fit in this cabinet I decided to store my groups, and some other special things like WWII medals with their large-size award docs, in simple glass-topped display cases like dealers have at all militaria shows. Unfortunately, I don't have enough wall space to put these up so they live in a closet.

Paper items
I store almost all my paper items in binders. A coin and sports card store will sell a huge variety of plastic storage pages that fit into a binder. I use one pocket pages for large items like say a Stalingrad medal award doc. Pages with two or three horizontal pockets - made for bank-notes - serve well for many types of ID booklets. Pages with four pockets - for sports cards - hold pictures, standard medal or order award docs, Red Army ID books, etc.

Uniforms
Hats are easy to store. I have one large shelving unit with five-shelves. I bought one with open sides at a kitchen store. I like it better than the standard bookcase where the sides are enclosed since you can see more and get more light. (PS. All my stuff is displayed in places where it NEVER gets touched by direct sunlight!) I simply sit the hats on the shelves. I stuff all my hats with unbleached wrapping paper (the kind they wrap china up with in stores). I insert rolls into the rims of hats and balls in the main body. This helps them keep their shape. With old hats it is important to make sure they don't rest all of their weight on the peak or it will damage it.
The rest of uniforms are harder to display. When I had a spare room, before 2 child was born, it was the "war room". I had a standing clothing rack, an 8' long metal thing like you see suits on in stores, which I got at a garage sale. All my uniforms were hung on it. First they were covered with plastic dry-cleaner wrap. (But you have to leave this unsealed at the bottom so any dampness gets out and no mould grows.) I had lots of small red cedar balls around to deter moths.
I also had one torso-form on which a prize uniform was displayed. After the "war room" became #2 child's room my uniform collection went into a closet and the torso went nto storage.

Display problems
A few items create serious display problems.

Award boxes - These are big. While they would fit in my cabinet drawers they take up too much space. I hate to hide the awards in the boxes. For a while I would have a stack of kept boxes at the back of a drawer and the awards out at the front. Then I had to put the boxes away to make more room. With unlimited room awards shown in open award boxes look awesome. What do others do with award boxes.

Maps and posters - I have several nice original WWII Red Army maps. I have one in a display frame like a painting but it is the smallest. A single sheet 1:50,000 scale map that is about 2' x 20". I have others that are 5' tall and 3' wide and even one that is 2 1/2' tall and over 8' wide. I would need a huge house to display them. I have them either roled into drafing tubes or folded, if the had original folds, into a large art carrier. Likewise I guess I am doomed to never diplay the 15 or so posters I have.

Flags - This is a big problem. I have several nice embroidered banners I want to display. What to do? They are really too big for glass. Maybe I could frame them and use plexiglass instead. One problem is still the fact that both sides have great embroidery and I don't want to permanently hide on side.

Shawn
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Old 11-28-2002, 04:48 AM   #28
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I was wondering how the items got dusty using the Mark 1 approach. I can only assume you didn't mount the items behind glass. I used some Aradite to put the glass into the front of the frame so I could have some distance between the glass and the medals. Certainly no dust gets inside, but you do have to plan how to display the collection. I generally wait until I have all the items I want before displaying them, or display groups, in which case you don't get any other items to add. It can take some time to display them in this way, but it looks nice.

Kind Regards,
Shane Cook.
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Old 11-28-2002, 11:49 AM   #29
Tal Inbar
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You can put the flag inside plexiglass case, and you can display your favorite side with no problem. If you have space (and $$$) you can combine several cased flags together and it will look like a giant book.

Or, as my wife telling me when she sees a giant velvet banner haning on the wall:"the house is NOT a museum!", and just put them on temporary storage - roled btween 2 cotton sheets, on a cardboard roll.

I use this one: (with smooth excellent quality red velvet)
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Old 11-28-2002, 01:04 PM   #30
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I don't want to knock anyone but:

These awards were ment to be worn... Personally, I don't like when people hide them...

I proudly hang all of my awards on a flag and let time take it's natural course!

Just my thoughts...

Rusty.
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