Old magazine advertisements are not only collectible, but decorative and great for gifting. You do need to know a few things before you go off buying this type of item online or offline. Since they are considered collectibles, you need to make sure they are properly handled, described, properly stored and shipped and you need to know about how most sellers grade them. The application for which you plan to utilize old magazine ads will also determine the condition in which you want to find them.
If you know anything about paper and coin related collectibles you know that they must be properly handled to retain their collectible value. The same concepts apply for old magazines and the ads within them. Old magazine advertisements and magazines should be handled with gloved hands so as not to add any additional oils from the hands that can cause damage, degradation or discoloration of the ads. When you are shopping for these old ads, make sure you find out if they have been handled properly, especially if you are a collector or are looking to collect them.
Proper Storage and Packaging
When you are looking at vintage magazines and advertisements, make sure the description includes how they are packaged and stored. They should be properly placed into plastic or cellophane clear sleeves with cardboard or foam board backing to preserve them and maintain their integrity. This protects them from further environmental damage and oxidation that causes discoloration and degradation. If you are not planning to use them as a collectible piece, this is not necessarily important. For instance, if you plan to use ads in arts and crafts, they do not have to be handled or stored in sleeves. Proper storage is important if you are collecting, framing or gifting old magazine advertisements.
Proper Packing and Shipping
Proper packing and shipping for vintage ads varies a bit depending on how many you are buying. If you are buying bulk lots, you cannot expect them to be packaged in cellophane every time. You will likely have to accept that they will be placed in a box (especially large lots) and shipped to you via media mail which can take up to 10 days to arrive. If you are buying single antique magazine ads, you want to make sure they are packaged in clear sleeves and shipped in either cylinders or in flat Tyvek or bubble envelopes. The most important aspect of packing these old ads is that there are protective measures taken such as thick cardboard or foam board included in the shipping envelope. Keep in mind this is really only important if you are a collector, planning to use them as decor or for a gift and not so much if you are using ads for art projects.
Basic Grading Information
You will see various eBay, Etsy and website sellers that have old magazine advertisements in their inventory to sell who add grading information to their listings. The basic grading scale is kept pretty simple. Here are some basic guidelines you may see on various listings. This is not exact and is intended to be used as an example of what you might see on various websites or listings.
- Excellent – No serious discoloration beyond aging, rips, tears or major degradation of the ad and optimal for collecting and matting and framing
- Very Good – Minor discoloration beyond what is to be expected from aging or minor edge or corner tears or rips that do not affect matting or framing
- Good – Slight discoloration beyond aging, some tears, rips or other degradation beyond the edges that should not affect matting or framing
- Fair – Moderate discoloration beyond from aging, rips, tears or other degradation on the ad that may affect matting or framing
- Poor – Severe discoloration or tears, rips and other degradation that will affect matting or framing
These guidelines are what you should look for when you are shopping for vintage ads to collect, use as decor or as a gift. If you plan to cut them up for use in art projects, they do not have to be in excellent to good condition. Excellent to good condition is what you should look for when you are shopping for old ads to sell or collect. However, some of these old magazine advertisements are so highly collectible that even in poor condition they are desirable. You can find out more on this subject by reading about old ads in books you can buy from Amazon or at your local library.