One night about 15 years ago (maybe longer!) I got a call from Destry Hoffard from Michigan. I remember it very clearly because my wife was working the late shift at the newspaper and I was home alone. He said that they had just gotten in a collection and there was a patch in there that I would probably be interested in. He said they got a 1936 Camp Coker patch (felt with chain stitch). I asked how much they were asking for it and he said a buck and a half (patch talk for $150). I quickly sealed the deal and said thank you. After hanging up the phone I did what can only be described as a "happy dance" running and screaming around the living room probably in my pajamas.
For years afterwards whenever someone would post the question to me or on Facebook of "what's your favorite patch" I would always share a picture of my 1936. It's still one of maybe 5 known to exist in collections. It was also absolutely perfect.
In 2014 in preparation for hosting a museum at the Dixie Fellowship (SR-5 Conclave) I spent some time putting my collection in frames. Since the event was being held at my home camp that meant my favorite patch was going on display too. In the years after that display I've left many of the patches still in the frame inserts with a poly sleeve (unsealed!) to protect them.
Recently I was looking at my patches trying to find something for a friend. I came across the box with those patches and had a very regretful experience. Something found my 1936 Camp Coker felt and took some bites out of it.
The irony is that for almost a year now I've been selling Best Hobby Pages which is the best archival system for storing your collection. However, with my own personal collection I never went back and reorganized it in to BHP binders. Instead I left it loose (and vulnerable!) thinking that someday I would display them again.
It kinda goes without saying. If you have patches in your collection like this that are irreplaceable why would you not spend 25 cents to put them in an archival grade envelope? I'm kicking myself now and there is nothing I can do to roll back the clock. Dumb Dumb Dumb