Author Topic: Any advice on preserving fragile Mexican posters  (Read 2119 times)

Offline ealingmovieposters

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Any advice on preserving fragile Mexican posters
« on: October 11, 2020, 09:49:58 PM »

My name is Ian, a new member.

I will post an intro soon and samples of my Posters, including my beloved Ealing posters.

Basically I lived in Ealing in the late 80’s, started collecting movie posters then moved to the US 1995, got married (stopped collecting). But now kids are in their 20’s, started collecting again - but Ealing posters are now way too expensive so …..

I started collecting Mexican posters with the goal of preserving them.

Has anybody had success with:-

Alkalization: Application of an alkaline agent which reacts with acids in the paper and leaves in paper an alkaline reserve capable of reacting with acids in the future. (Because it enables paper to resist changes in pH, an alkaline reserve is sometimes called a buffer, and the treatment buffering).

I want to preserve my Mexican posters as cheaply as possible. I am thinking of just putting the posters in an Alkaline bath, drying them, then placing 2 inside a clear acid free bag with acid free paper (or card) between them.

I am currently experimenting with some damaged poster fragments, so far:-

I raised PH of normal tap water to 8.5 using Calcium hydroxide (I read that some restorers use regular tap water, so trying that first).

I placed the poster fragment in the ‘bath’ for 20 minutes, agitating every 5 minutes or so.
I did not do any other bathing.

I placed the poster on a glass window (to assist drying) for 10 minutes, I saw a lady (youtube) doing similar using a mirror and that seemed to assist in drying.

I then placed the fragment between some packing paper (I am looking at other absorbent papers). I put two pieces of flat wood around the paper and applied some heavy books for weight (basic sandwich).

I changed the paper after 10 mins, 30 mins then left overnight.


I didn’t notice a lot of difference between the fragment I treated and sample left untreated:-

The paper does seem less brittle but also seems to have lost its basic ‘shine’.

I will continue the experiments, but wondered if anyone has had success with basic Alkaline bathing and drying/flattening for archiving.




Offline DekeThornton

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Re: Any advice on preserving fragile Mexican posters
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2020, 12:28:55 AM »
Hi Ian,

Welcome to the forum! It's been a long time since I actively posted, but your message prompted me to log back in.

I have never tried any restoration or de-acidification with my own hands, so I can't give you any advice on that.

But Mexican movie posters are one of my collecting specialties, so it's exciting to see another aficionado!

I'd love to see your collection when you get round to posting. You should be able to see some of my own collection by checking my history.

I primarily collect from the 1940s & 1950s, though I have some later titles as well. I also have some duplicates if you are interested to buy/sell/trade.

Haha I probably sound like I am coming on way too strong. I just didn't expect to encounter another collector of Mexican posters.

Offline ealingmovieposters

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Bathing Mexican export posters
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2021, 08:33:33 PM »
I have been buying and preserving lessor valued Mexican posters, which are highly acidic and fragile.
My procedure is to place the poster in a bath with ph about 9.
I then dry the poster flat and repair any tears with archival tape.
I then store the posters in archival clear plastic bags.

I recently tried this process on a Mexican 'Export' poster, which is slightly larger and whilst the paper is not as acidic as the regular Mexican posters I thought they would benefit from the alkaline bath.

The poster 'CANZONI DI TUTTA ITALIA' (MUSICA AMOR Y ALEGRIA) was placed in the bath for about 30 mins.

The poster was then removed, using a mylar sheet for support.
After it was dried flat I compared it to a similar poster than had not been bathed.

It is the one on the right that has been bathed.

Overall the bathed poster does seen slightly more elastic (less brittle) and the fold creases have diminished (these were brittle) and I was able to tape the tears (including the folds)  and lay the poster flatter prior to storing in the clear bag.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2021, 08:35:21 PM by ealingmovieposters »