Hello Don & Ecostic,
I do agree and that some of the items are in rough shape. If you were here to see what I have you would find that about 75% of it is in pretty good shape. The unfortunate part is that I have nowhere to show everyone what else is in the box, I can only post what has connection to stamps or covers, etc. There are a lot of things that do not have a stamp or a cover like bill heads, schedules, handbills, broadsides, business cards, checks, advertising and so on. While they are in archival sleeves it is only a matter of time like any other paper Ephemera where they will be lost unless something is done. Also taking photo's just does not do it justice.
The hard part is selling even just one thing since a lot if it is interrelated. I just recently contacted Cooperstown again knowing that they would want some of it but again, it would break up the collection. I would also imagine that having someone professional preserve everything would be very costly and I just don't have the means to do so.
The one thing I can tell you for sure is that the box it was stored in had rusted. As I dug deeper into it the more damage I could see. Once I reached he bottom I found that there were a bunch of papers which we deteriorated beyond recognition. It's sad to think what may they might have been. There are also other things that are in need of help and I really touch them at all. It's tough and maybe I can find a way to protect this box and it's contents even more. I will see what I can do.
Here is an image of a handbill that was from the first kidnapping in the United States for ransom. This is pretty close to what it looked like over 20 years ago when I first pulled it out. If you look at the stamps (not a part of the handbill) you can clearly see how dark it is. If you look to the next small image you can faintly see the stamp under the handbill. This should give you a pretty good idea of how thin the paper really is. It's almost as thin as a single sheet of toilet paper.
Next look at the image that shows the full handbill, that's mine. The smaller image at the end it is the digitized handbill that is in the Library of Congress. As you can see mine is in far better condition then the LOC. The reason I mention this is because I think mine would not be in as good of shape if I just left it unguarded by the sleeves. This proves the point you are making. It does need to be protected but luckily the way I am storing for now seems to be helping. I just can't imagine that where I have the papers now will be the permanent home for the handbill or anything else in the future. I't also hard to say let me just give it away for preservation knowing that someone may not be able or have the need to show the connection between the papers.
I meant to also say thank you for the pointers on what sleeves are out there to store things. I will look into that. I am sure that they are much better than what I currently have from more than 20 years ago.
Thank you both for the help in pointing out what is best for these papers, I do agree that they need a long term storage solution.
(PS I hope I don't get in trouble for this reply post)