Ultraviolet Light and Black Light: a beginner's guide
by David Rudd Cycleback

1) Introduction

2) What is ultraviolet light?

3) The different kinds of UV light

4) Your tool for this guide: a black light

5) Where does ultraviolet light come from? How was it discovered? Why can't we see it?

6) How are black lights made?

7) Practical and interesting uses for your black light

8) Examining art and collectibles: Introduction

9) Identifying modern fakes of antique paper memorabilia

10) Identifying counterfeit US currency

11) Identifying alterations to art, collectibles

12) Examining cloth

13) Examining art glass

14) Making glow in the dark art and crafts

15) Protecting yourself from the Sun's UV

16) UV light in science and industry

Using Your Black Light to
Examining Art, Collectibles and More

Black light is helpful in identifying, dating and identifying fakes and reproductions of many collectible or otherwise valuable objects, from baseball cards to antique photos to art glass.

While a black light is a useful tool for examining art and collectibles and even a beginner can find some fakes and reprints, black light alone doesn't make someone an expert in authentication. An expert in paintings or trading cards uses a number of tools to examine the material, and has a vast knowledge and hands on experience with the material. There are many books written paintings or baseball cards alone, so this guide doesn't pretend to fully cover each subject. A black light should be considered one tool amongst many tools and methods.

The following several chapters will look at different art and collectible areas where black light is useful.

Essential Tips for Beginning Collectors of Most Anything

Whether it involves celebrity autographs, movie posters, fine art prints, baseball cards, postcards or antique figurines, collecting can be good clean fun for boys and girls of all ages. However, all areas of collecting have fakes, reprints and scams.

The following is a brief but important list of tips that the beginner should read before jumping into a hobby with open pocketbook.

1) Start by knowing that there are reprints, counterfeits, fakes and scams out there. If you start by knowing you should be doing your homework, having healthy skepticism of sellers' grand claims and getting second

opinions, you will be infinitely better off than the beginner who assumes everything's authentic and all sellers are honest.

2) Learn all you can about material you wish to collect and the hobby in general. The more you learn and more experience you have, the better off you are. Most forgers aren't trying to fool the knowledgeable. They're trying to make a quick buck from the ignorant. Besides, half the fun on collecting is learning about the material and its history.

3) Realize that novices in any area of collecting are more likely to overestimate, rather than underestimate the value of items they own or are about to buy.

4) Get second opinions and seek advice when needed. This can range from a formal opinion from a top expert to input from a collecting friend. Collectors who seek advice and input are almost always better off than those who are too proud or embarrassed to ask questions.

5) Start by buying inexpensive items. Put off the thousands dollar Babe Ruth baseball cards and Elvis Presley autographs for another day.

Without exception all beginners make mistakes. From paying too much to misjudging rarity to buying fakes. It only makes sense that a collector should want to make the inevitable beginner's mistakes on $10 rather that $1,000 purchases.

6) Gather a list of good sellers. A good seller is someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy. A good seller fixes a legitimate problem when it arises and has a good authenticity guarantee and return policy.

It is fine to purchase a $9 photo from an eBay stranger, but it's best to buy expensive items online from good sellers, including those you have dealt with or those who otherwise have strong reputations.


Next: Identifying modern fakes of antique paper memorabilia

(c) david rudd cycleback, all rights reserved