When books undergo a type of deterioration known as foxing, they display peculiar brown or reddish spots on their pages. These spots are often the result of exposure to mold, mildew, or environmental chemicals like pollutants.
While foxing can affect books of any age, it tends to be more prevalent in those surpassing the century mark. Once foxing sets in, it becomes challenging to remove entirely and may even reappear over time. Unfortunately, this degradation can significantly diminish the value of a book.
However, it is essential to note that while unsightly and devaluing, foxing does not compromise the structural integrity or quality of the paper or book itself.
Proper storage is crucial to prevent foxing; keeping books in cool and dry conditions away from sunlight is advisable. If foxing has already set in, treatments available can reduce or eliminate these blemishes’ visibility.
It should be recognized that despite being deemed relatively harmless overall, foxing remains an ongoing issue for book enthusiasts and restorers alike. Its origins continue to perplex experts as its effects are set upon old books and manuscripts. Nonetheless, by understanding what causes it and implementing preventative measures accordingly, we can minimize its impact on our precious literary treasures.