Preserving Damaged Currency

Hawaiian currencyDear Donia,
How do I preserve currency held together by old Scotch® Tape?

Q. Dear Donia,

I am working on a memory table for items of my dad who served in WWII aboard the carrier "Intrepid." One item is two pieces of currency that were burned during a kamikaze attack on the carrier. It shows partial burning and was held together by Scotch® Tape circa the 1940s. Two bills are taped togetherone US dollar and one Hawaiian dollar. On the front are the signatures of at least 15 crew members along with the notation "USS INTREPID 11-25-44". I have no desire to know the names of the crew, I only want to keep the currency as a memento of my dad's life. Any suggestions you can offer to aid me in preserving this currency would be most appreciated. Thank you, Teresa

A. Dear Teresa,

What a wonderful piece of history to have. Tape is very tricky to work with and for tape from the 1940s, I don't recommend you doing anything about it yourself. The best thing to do is to contact a paper conservator so they can assess the currency. You can find a conservator by using the American Institute for Conservation's Find a Conservator page. Due to your location, you will need to look beyond 100 miles to be able to cover Denver or Santa Fe. Best of luck!