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Subject: Collection Tragedy that has been bothering me rss

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This is my clone
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I basically need to post this to get it off my chest, and to tell it to an audience that may care a bit, or if nothing else, can appreciate the situation.

I currently live in an apartment complex that's managed by my in-laws. Every now and then when one or both of them are absent, I'll help out around the complex with any task that may arise. The other day my father in-law, who deals with any repair or major issue, was out of town. I was with my mother in-law and she got a call about a water leak in one of the apartments. So I ran down there to try to shut off the water. The tenent wasn't there because he's in very poor health. Like Death's door poor health. There is really no chance he'll return but his sister is keeping the apartment rented just in case.

So I enter the apartement and it's got a good 2 inches of water on the floor, it's just totally flooded. This broken pipe must have been leaking for a couple days. The apartment was in an out-of-the-way area of the building, so it's easy for a leak to go unnoticed. But the gentleman who lived there was a very big fan of war games and war reenactment games and such, and a bit of a hoarder. To give you an idea, I had to pull out the games he had just in his entryway so I could get in and around, and I filled 2 large U-haul boxes and a giant box that an oven is shipped in full of games. I bet he has close to 700 games. Maybe more. Every hall, closet, table and shelf were covered. And probably over a thousand books on every battle from Greece and Rome, to native American to Revolution, and Civil War and World Wars. Everything is dotted with little painted tanks and fighter craft.

This is easily the biggest collection I've ever seen in person and probably ever will. And it's all sitting in water, with it's owner unable to do anything about it. And it's killing me. When it comes to games I'm probably just considered a dabbler, but I've collected toys for years and years and fully understand the collector mind-set. And I can't imagine having such a beautiful collection that I'd spent the last 30 years enjoying and accumulating meeting that fate. And next, the stuff will be just thrown in storage by some moving company who probably won't a damn or respect this collection of books and games.

The whole situation is troubling me on so many levels that I just needed to get it off my chest. I volunteered to try to organize everything and get it taken care of, but because of regulations with the apartment complex no one is allowed to touch anything for fear of litigation. Well, accept the tenent or his family who are all miles away. I spoke to the man's sister and she supported the idea, but I fear that it'll fall on deaf ears with the management. So I just hope that in the end everything will work itself out. Even though there is a good chance this man will never return to the apartment, I still feel the collection needs to be respected.

So anyways, that was it, just wanted to share what has happened. Lastly, does anyone know any tricks that I can try to implement to help the collection once it's in storage. I worry it'll mold up. Possibly somethin to do or add that will help prevent mold. No soaked items will be kept, but with the ultra high humidity level in the apartment, I'm sure all that cardboard is just sucking up moisture.
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United States
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Is it possible to get the man's sister to send a fax to the apartment management company hiring you to curate/pack the collection? Did the tenant have renter's insurance?
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Clay
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Man, that's really awful. I hope they let you help out, sounds like you're doing the right thing (or at least trying to).
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Robert Wesley
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~"E-A-S-Y 'peasy' then!" JUST have them send that to 'moi' here and: "no more 'worries' mate!" arrrh
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Susanne Hirche
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I remember when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and there was also no chance he would ever return home I stood in his office, looking at his collection of books and fotos and feeling disrespectful and crude even to be thinking about what would happen to his stuff,things that had been so lovingly collected over decades.

Situations like these make me think about my own mortality and that at least, on some level, disturbs me. Some days more than others.


On a more practical level...if the poor collection owner still can talk and decide things...would his sister ask him about the wet things?

Maybe he'd prefer them going to people who would value them instead of rotting to paper pulp? Maybe he has playing buddies who would help?


But thanks for caring in the first place. Not everyone would.
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Adam D.
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Litigation and lawsuits FTW! soblue
 
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Liam
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Laughing Cow Cheese wrote:
Is it possible to get the man's sister to send a fax to the apartment management company hiring you to curate/pack the collection?


Hullaballoo wrote:
Maybe he'd prefer them going to people who would value them instead of rotting to paper pulp? Maybe he has playing buddies who would help?


These two stand out for me.

I'd also perhaps add 'help me save a gamers collection from water damage'(etc) to the subject line - so that you gather more folk who might be able to advise first hand how to deal with your moister damage and the spectre of it.
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David C
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Get someone to 'vandalize' the collection by breaking in and getting it to dry out in the sun and the stored very carefully.
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Closest thing this story reminded me of (other than other sad stories of collections being ruined by water damage and such) was a guy who's Magic cards got stolen (or did he lose them? I can't recall). It was too much to get back into it, and he was raising his daughter by himself, so he just gave up Magic altogether.
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Robert Wesley
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Well, that last 'saga' sounded as if this 'chap' then picked the WRONGRY 'time' to quit: "sniffing glue!" soblue
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jumbit
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I suppose there's nothing you can do. Your hands are tied. Only the Dark Side has the answers you seek.
 
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W M
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I have some experience in this area and, depending upon the severity of the water damage, I would not attempt to treat any badly water damaged paper materials yourself. You might want to employ a conservator but this can be technically difficult work and expensive.

For archival materials common practice has been to vacuum freeze dry water damaged materials which suspends mould creation, then treat items on a case by case basis. You should be aware that mould is both a source of further damage, and potentially very harmful.

NARA has some helpful guidance for doing it yourself here: http://www.archives.gov/preservation/conservation/flood-dama...

IRMT have also produced advice on salvaging wet paper-based materials in 'Planning for emergencies: a procedures manual'
available here: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=planning%20for%20em...

Basic steps are:

- Clean the materials

- Dry them (using a combination of blotting paper/kitchen towel then fans(place small weights on the items) airing cupboards or sunlight (which can also kill mould)

- If mould develops or remains once materials are dry, try brushing or vacuuming the mould off them (do it outside!)

- You could have a go at freezing things you can't treat straight away - place in separate sealed plastic bags - the quicker the freeze the better ie. big chest freezer good, ice compartment above small fridge not so good. Label the bags using a clear system or you will forget what goes where.

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Enrico Viglino
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Eugene
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Freezing a collection that size is well nigh impossible.

Anything on the floor's in pretty bad shape by now.
 
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Isaac
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This is disturbing! It is good (if there is any good to this story) that you happen to be the one in the situation. You seem like someone who respects the hobby and actually cares enough to do the right thing. Do keep us posted!
 
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Scott
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A dehumidifier would be a very good idea. Moisture in the apartment, which I presume has stagnant air, will help breed mould. Some dehumidifiers have a spigot for attaching a hose to do down a drain rather than filling an internal reservoir. You can often put a funnel in a hose and put that under the water outlet if there is no spigot. Many will have a closed door sensor that you will have to trip.

Keep the apartment cool. Cool air will suspend less moisture and cold won't promote mould growth.

If any books are gloss paper they're pretty much a lost cause. The coating that is used to make gloss paper is the same material that causes them to adhere to one another when wet and rip when parted.

Sunlight through a window is no where near as useful as direct sunlight. Glass will tend to block UV-B; UV-B has a sterilising effect. Glass will not block UV-A which means that while humans generally won't get sunburned under glass they can get skin damage.

You basically can't get rid of mould. Once a piece of paper is infected that's it. The mould may go dormant but it is still able to spread spores and grow again for decades. Isolate any infected paper.

Since you're in a litigious country, if you are hired as a curator get some sort of indemnity or Good Samaritan clause included. Your heart's in the right place but if the sister finds out any of that stuff is valuable and the guy dies then grief can make family do silly things like blame innocent parties.
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Dan Taylor
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Just a reminder to wargame collectors - we're collecting paper, in the end.
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Steve S
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Anything that's gotten soaked needs to be laid out (including individual components if water got inside the boxes) and dried with fans & dehumidifiers. If this isn't done it's *very* likely that stuff that got wet will develop mold.

On a side note, this is one of the reasons most of my collection is stored in large plastic tubs. :/
 
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Steve Willows
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Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
 
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Mike Welker
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There's a guy I know in NYC who is in his 60s. He discovers some serious digestive track and heart issues, then undergoes some operations. One such on his intestines got him into some serious trouble with infection, etc.

Well... he's got roughly 3000 games at the time, and he decides, well, it is time to stop hoarding. He handed off about 2,000 of them to me. Quite generous. Still going through it all.

Interestingly, among the wargames, they are mostly punched and... clipped. Wow. Lots of time clipping counters.
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GROGnads wrote:
~"E-A-S-Y 'peasy' then!" JUST have them send that to 'moi' here and: "no more 'worries' mate!" arrrh


Sometimes, your style of posting is funny.

Here, it's not.

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This is my clone
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Watertown
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Thanks for the replies and ideas folks, I appreciate it very much. I saw a few who wanted an update, sorry I was so slow to reply. I've had my hands full getting ready for a move all week.

Anyways, I had no involvement with this affair after I wrote the original post. The gentleman's belongings were packed up by a moving company and put into storage, damp items and all and I have no idea what it's fate will be. There was nothing I was able to further do. I knew that there was really nothing I could do about any of this, and this post was mainly just to vent off the frustration. Thanks again to those who posted.
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