The World of Bookmarks

How To Store & Display Bookmarks

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How to store and display bookmarks? This is one of the most frequently asked questions concerning bookmarks.
Here are some ideas from collectors which may help to find one's own way. 

Jackie Thiron, Stekene, Belgium

I made good experience by using plastic pockets in A4 size to store bookmarks. They are open on the upper side for inserting A4 size documents in them and they can be filed with the help of the punched holes on one side. These pockets are about 21 cm in width which is the size for the longest bookmarks. So the bookmarks can be inserted horizontally in these pockets for storage. Normally, four or five bookmarks will fit in a pocket, however, we need also a method to fix the bookmarks in the pocket and to prevent them from getting dislocated.

For fixing the bookmarks in the pocket I use a glue called 'rubber cement' produced by the company Talens. The advantage of this glue is that it can be removed later simply by rubbing off. However, for some old bookmarks I dont wish to take any risk by applying a glue on them. In this case, I first produce a self-made and fitting plastic sleeve for the bookmark. For this purpose I take a plastic folder in A4 size. The plastic folder is the same thing as the plastic pocket, but it does not have the punched border on the side. Instead, it is open on top and on one vertical side. I put the bookmark inside the folder horizontally and cut a fitting sleeve out of the folder by using the welding wire of an electric device which is used for welding plastic bags for deep freeze storage. Afterwards, the bookmark with the sleeve is inserted into the plastic pocket, and the sleeve is fixed with rubber cement inside the pocket. 

The greatest advantage of this method is that you can see both sides of the bookmarks. The time-consuming production of the sleeves may be a disadvantage. 

Laine Farley, Collecting Bookmarks, Physical Not Virtual

A frequently asked question is how to store and display bookmarks. Most people seem to use notebooks with vinyl pages to store them. I store mine in an old card catalog that came from the San Francisco Public Library. It has 60 drawers and is about five feet tall, four feet wide. I like to store them by category, so I made labels for each drawer. Within the drawers, I try to store individual bookmarks in plastic sleeves. I haven't found a good source for sleeves. I use sleeves meant for postcards which work for the smaller bookmarks (six inches or less). I would love to find a source for larger ones, typically 8 1/2" up to 11". Those that aren't flat are stored in small boxes.

Once a young man in his twenties came to give me an estimate on a piece of antique furniture I wanted to sell. He was interested in the card catalog and asked what it was used for. I suddenly realized that younger generations probably have never seen a card catalog since they started to be replaced in libraries in the 1980's. Mine has a plastic holder at the top with a sign that says "Please Use a Separate Slip For Each Title". Remember when you had to write down every title and have it paged from the stacks?

For display, I use a French memo board -one of those with ribbons criss crossed over a fabric board and held by cloth covered buttons. This board works well for paper ones that can slip behind the ribbons or ones in other materials (like metal) that can clip onto the ribbons. Sometimes I make themed displays, by topic or type. The current one is on "crazy cats" with an Edward Gorey cat, and several stylized, slightly abstract cats.


Joe Stephenson, The Bookmark Society, Horwich, UK

1. Stamp dealers or collectors 'Stock Albums' - the kind that hold stamp booklets opened out, about four to a page - work well. The albums can look quite classy too, and are moderately priced. You can take out bookmarks easily and switch them round, but you can't see both sides without taking them out. They won't hold very large bookmarks either. 'Lighthouse' make them, available from stamp dealers.

2. Stamp albums, especially expensive ones - they have clear (pocket) pages divided up in various ways designed to store booklets, first day covers and the like. Drawback is they can cost more than the bookmarks are worth, but look very good with black interleaving. Again, available from stamp dealers. Lighthouse and Safe are two producers, but there are others.

3. Photo storage albums (not the 'self-fix' adhesive type, which will eventually leave brown stripes on the bookmarks). These are used by professionals / enthusiasts to store strip negatives, especially 120 size or 5 x 4 inches etc. They are moderately priced, and the albums / pages can be archival quality. Also the pages are bigger than most hobby album pages, so will hold larger bookmarks. They can be functional looking at the cheaper end, but some of the albums here are quite good looking 4 ring binders. Yellow pages or photo magazines should give you an idea of who produces them - good photo stores will also sell them. Flash Foto in Britain has cottoned on to the idea that their pages are useful to ephemera / document collectors and produce various sizes and divisions. But mail order for plastic and heavy binders would be prohibitive.

4. We have a firm here called 'Rob Roy' who used to produce just postcard and cigarette card storage. They now cater for a wide variety of needs - telephone cards, early advertising cards and the like as well as bookmarks, and have a big range of A4 size pages, divided up into 2 vertical, 2 horizontal, 3 vertical and horizontal, 4 horizontal, 4 for postcards, 6 (3 above 3 - good for short bookmarks), costing about 30 pence (50 cents US?) per page. They are plasticiser free, so of near archival quality. Again, postage costs  are a problem, but it is possible that they have an agent in the USA. They are at 'Rob Roy Cards' Crosshall, Chelsfield Village, Orpington, Kent, UK.   BR6 6EN (tel / fax: 044 (0)1689 828052 - as far as I am aware they aren't on the web yet).

5. Cheapest option: Some here use ordinary 4 ring A4 binders (American sizes may well be different) with clear punched pockets, and buy a modeller's soldering iron and a steel rule, working on a board of light wood marked up as a template. With a little practice it's quite possible to weld seams vertically or horizontally along the pockets to take two or three bookmarks (you need to make sure that you work in a well-ventilated space). Then use unwelded pockets to take coloured card or paper (black or red are perhaps best) as interleaving to show off the markers to advantage. The pockets are very cheap here - 100 for about £1 or so ($1.50?), and you can buy them, the binders and red copier paper for the interleaving at any office supplies store. Of course, they are not of archival quality.

Illinois Bell Telephone Co | Bookmark Exhibition | Mirage Bookmark

Display Dilemmas by Lauren Roberts, (blog no more existent, beware of the virus infected URL)

I have been collecting bookmarks for almost four years, and only recently have I come up with the answer to a problem that has been gnawing on me for all that time: how do I display my collection? The answer, obviously, was in discovering how you (meaning other collectors) display them.

Up until recently, my solution has been a succession of progressively larger boxes. I’m on my third one now, and as I write this the 14" x 10" x 5" box sports a precarious mound teetering nearly three inches above the top lip. It probably doesn’t need to be said that I have reached my limit—figuratively as well as literally

In researching this question, I found it surprising that there is relatively little out there about the collecting of bookmarks, and even less about how to display them. The best place was found at The World of Bookmarks:

Protecting the bookmarks, many of which are fragile, is primary. Bookmarks were meant to be temporary, especially advertising ones, and they were not generally valued. Their ages and usage have left and even if you aren’t necessarily interested in displaying them, storing them in archival quality plastic sleeves is important. Individual sleeves in various sizes, each holding one or two bookmarks can be purchased at BCW at or Light Impressions at

Both places—as well as many scrapbook supplies or stamp stores—also offer albums, plastic inserts and paper, all of archival quality. I bought what appears to be an attractive black box but which opens up to reveal a three-ring binder. Inside are plastic inserts. Each insert holds a standard size 8.5 x 11-inch sheet. I use black cardstock. Bookmarks are attached to the sheet with what I would describe as my best discovery: an updated version of those black gummy photo holders you see in older photo albums. These tiny triangular self-sticking folds are now made of clear (archival) plastic.

What I like best about them is that they allow me to attach the bookmarks without damage to the back where many advertisers put their copy. I can remove them, turn them around, use them and return them. The only difficulty I had was with the irregularly shaped bookmarks—die cut ones in the shapes of flowers, trees or ladies’ hats, egg-shaped ones, circular ones—which presented no sharp corners to slip into the folds. The solution? Individual plastic sleeves which did have the necessary corners.

I am still in the beginning stages of moving the bookmarks from the teeming box to the album. But I see hope. With some more work, I will be able to browse my collection simply by turning pages. And when the album is not in use, it will reside on my bookshelves next to my oversized art books. I love it.

My way, though common, is not the only way to display bookmarks. One of the most intriguing comes from Laine Farley who, this week, contributed an essay on books about bookmarks to the Bibliopinions page. She keeps hers in an old library card catalog file that came from the San Francisco Public Library.  Sixty drawers in this 5 x 4 foot cabinet allow her to store her nearly 3,000 by category.

If you collect primarily metal bookmarks, these can often be both stored and displayed by clipping them to ribbons which may be part of a display or fabric board or just hanging down a wall.

But perhaps the best way to store and "display" them is to match each bookmark to a book with whom it has a symbiotic relationship (a red maple leaf in Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, for example, or a bookmark from the makers of Old Nick Candy Bar in Sweets: A History of Candy) will give extra meaning to both of them, and to you when you pick them up. And what could be sweeter than that?

Alan Irwin, The Bookmark Collector

The blog of Alan dedicates many postings to the problem of storing bookmarks. Very detailed and helpful with nice pictures.

Frank Divendal: Establishing a New World Record With Bookmarks 

See how Frank Divendal, the owner of the largest bookmark collection in the world, stores his bookmarks. 

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