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Thread: removing old tape from dollar bills

  1. #1
    Grumbler in training
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    Default removing old tape from dollar bills

    just wondering if anyone's got any advice on this:

    customer brought in a reframe job with a set of notes ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100) which were mounted (in 1985) onto green felt. they're easy enough to remove from the felt, but were mounted with some plain ole double stick tape, and the acid is starting to burn a nice brown through to the front on some of the bills.

    does anyone have suggestions for a solvent safe to use on these notes to remove the tape? (tried a bit of heat but it'd be 6 months of work to get it done . . .) i can then neutralize the acid before i remount them.

    also part of the equation is the fact that these bills are NOT pristine. they were circulated before they were mounted, so they have creases, bends, folds, etc . . . from relatively moderate circulation.

    any help? thanks.

    greg
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  • #2
    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God
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    Adhesive release probably would enable you to remove the tape and most of the surface adhesive without damaging the currency, but the stain that has gone through to the front is probably there to stay. A conservator might be able to take care of it, but I'm guessing the customer would balk at spending $100 or more to make a $50 bill look better.

    Is there anything special about these currency notes? If not, then they could all be replaced for an investment of $186, which would equal the cost of about 3 hours of a framer's labor at a typical shop rate of $60/hour. That might not make sense to the customer, who already paid to have them framed once before. In that case, re-attaching them with the stains intact probably is the best way to go.

    Reminder to framers who use pressure sensitive tapes on paper items of limited value because they have never seen the adhesive bleed completely through the paper:
    Print this thread and post it on the wall above your mounting table.

  • #3
    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God
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    Quote Originally Posted by tantoo View Post
    ...i can then neutralize the acid before i remount them.
    If you are talking about using a commercial deacidification treatment, it might do more harm than good. Especially, surface soil from the previous handling during circulation could possibly create permanent, unsightly tidelines. American currency notes are printed on some of the finest cotton paper in the world, so acid in the fibers probably would be a very small problem, at worst.

  • #4
    MGF Master Grumble Framer 05's Avatar
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    We use heat to remove old tape; we have a fancy tiny little hot-air gun with very controllable temperature, but a tacking iron set on low would work (on the top surface of the tape, and for as little time as you can get away with -otherwise you drive the adhesive into the paper). You can use a crepe square to pick up any residual adhesive.

    We might 'neutralize' the acid with a bath in distilled water (then place them between blotters & under weight for a couple of weeks).,

  • #5
    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God Framar's Avatar
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    Cool

    American greenbacks are amazingly resilient. I accidentally washed a wad of bills in a jeans pocket once and after ironing them, they were perfectly fine.

    I would try either the heat from a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive or I bet lighter fluid (naptha) would remove the tape and the residue.

    But not the stains.

    How do you plan on reattaching the bills to your new frame package?

  • #6
    MGF Master Grumble Framer 05's Avatar
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    [QUOTE

    How do you plan on reattaching the bills to your new frame package?[/QUOTE]

    We've been mounting many bills recently for the local Federal Reserve bank, using poly strap; two to a bill, inserted through slits in 8 ply board, the poly strap held down on the back with 3M 850 tape.

    The very fragile ones got polyester sheet L-sleeves first.

    These bills included a $100,000 bill (used only between Federal Reserve banks) and a perfectly legal three-dollar bill (issued by a bank in the South in the 19th century).

  • #7
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    thanks for the input . . .

    the bills have no numismatic/currency value other than face - but were given to the client by his parents on his 16th birthday - so switching isn't an option.

    i like the distilled water bath idea; and as for mounting, i'm looking at mylar corners (trimmed) under mat window. have experimented with the design and it works well. since these are more sentimental value than anything, and they have moderate wear, i'm comfortable with it - plus, it fits clients budget.

    other, better ideas always welcome.

    thanks again for the suggestions.

  • #8
    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God
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    Clear film encapsulation is easy and fast for small paper items, such as currency notes. For illustrated instructions, refer to the article "Show Me The Money" in Picture Framing Magazine, October 2008. The featured project involved recto-verso framing of fourteen collectible currency notes.

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