Safely Labeling Postcards

Dear Donia,
How do I safely label postcards?

Postcard collection

Q. Dear Donia,

I am a volunteer for my local historical society, and I’m working on a project that involves scanning over 300 postcards and then using content to create a digital record. I have each postcard in a loose-leaf binder with a numbered label on the plastic holder. I would like to mark the postcard itself with the same number. What should I use?  I have an archival pen that I found in Staples (zebra gel black ink which states it is acid-free, archival quality ink)—is this safe to use? Thanks, Pat


A. Dear Pat,

The best thing to label your postcards is your basic No. 2 pencil. The graphite is stable and won't run if it gets wet and should you ever need to change the number in the future, it is more easily removed than ink. A good sharp pencil will allow you to number the postcard neatly and discretely as well.

This sounds like a fun project and thanks for wanting to do it right!