Display cases

I have read the Guide to Cartridge Collecting several times as I am a relatively new collector. One recommendation missing in all the material are display cases. What type of advice, such as what type of cases or case materials to avoid, etc… should be given? I have looked around online and have seen many option ranges in not only price but material as well. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!

Avoid wood cases that are unpainted or unvarnished. Avoid oak wood or other woods with high tannic acid content altogether as these may cause brass to corrode.


I would avoid wood cases completely. Too hard to tell what wood there are made of if painted, and if you’re not into the study of wood types, as I am not for example, too difficult to know if the wood has high tannic acid content. People in the know about wood types use wood cases often without problems. Every wood case I ever had was a disaster for soft-point bullets and some case finishes.

I cannot afford new cabinets, but have had some luck in obtaining, over the years, various steel cabinets - map cabinets, steel file-card cabinets, jeweler’s watch crystal cabinets, etc., and have repurposed them. I originally used corrugated plastic to lay the cartridges in, but can’t find it with narrow enough grooves to hold much anymore, so had to, in some case, switch to corrugated paper. Use only art grade corrugated paper, found in many colors, but I use white, since I am displaying the cartridges, and not how pretty the paper is. Paper is a wood product, generally, and the tan-color corrugated paper you find is almost as bad for cartridge materials as is plain wood. I use long lengths of plastic sguare stock as dividers for rows, never wood ones.

I am no expert on this stuff - a rank amateur as to the do’s and do not of various materials, but doing it the way I do, even living on a peninsula surrounded by water and with fog and rain not uncommon, I don’t have much deterioration of my cartridges, some of which have been my cabinets for 50 years.

The size of the cabinets and how many will, of course, depend on the expected amount of space and the space you have to put them in. That has become a problem for me. I store my cartridge boxes in these cabinets - the large, deep-drawer type map and blueprint cabinets, by the way, and they are not hard on the cardboard most of the boxes are made of.

Just my thoughts on this. Everyone has different ideas about what is the best way to store a cartridge collection. The best way, of course, boils down to what pleases and works well for the individual owning and enjoying the collection. No rule book there!:-)

John Moss

Thanks John. I’ve been looking at Riker displays to start with. It uses a heavy chipboard construction with white polyester filling for cushioning. Been thinking of starting with that. I have seen other nice cases that come with felt dividers, but the shipping is almost as much as the product.

My dads collection was in wooden cases. None of the cartridges were touching the wood and I assume this is because he used a padded material as cushioning so the rounds are pressed on the glass.

I have a wooden box that I’m using Uhaul furniture blankets as filler but I’ll use that until the other cases arrive this week. I’ll be searching the thrift stores too.

I have been looking for corrugated plastic too but I’ll check the art shops as advised. Again many thanks!

Keep the ideas coming everyone!

I live near a major university, they have a surplus store which regularly sells off steel cabinets, wooden cabinets, old storefront display cabinets etc. With a little patience some good buys can be found with quality items in good condition at bargain prices. Most have websites devoted to their changing inventory.

hfhubbard - I am not at all familiar with the properties of “chipboard” (I know, of course, what it is) nor of polyester when it comes to possible contamination of lead or brass. I will stick with steel and plastic, as much as possible.


Roger that gentleman…plastic, metal, and glass it is then! I’ll definitely check out Boise State this week to see if they have anything. If not then it’s the thrift stores I guess!!

V/r Henry