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A bleed-through occurs when writing (particularly markers), other marks or stains that are on the back of the poster are absorbed into the paper and are then seen on the front. A see-through occurs when tape, marks or stains, mostly writing on the back side of the poster, particularly with a black grease pencil, can be "seen" on the front of the poster but has not been absorbed into the paper.

A see-through can generally only be seen if the poster is held up to the light, but a bleed-through can be seen on the front in any light or position.


Some bleed-throughs and see-throughs occur because store owners and office managers used the backside of posters as "bulletin boards." They placed posters in the windows of the stores and used the back side of the poster to write other information, or to tape other pictures or notes on the back of the poster. In order for the writing to be visible from a distance, heavy markers were used thus creating either a bleed-through or a see-through blemish.

Some bleed-throughs and see-throughs are the result of using different types of tape to repair holes or tears in the poster. Some adhesive tapes are very acidic, and the acid will eventually eat through the poster. Less acidic tapes may not actually bleed through the paper, but can create see-throughs.


The location, size and prominence of the bleed-through or see-through as seen on the front will determine just how much value the poster loses because of its existence. If the bleed-through or see-through occurs on the border only, the value of the poster is not adversely affected. However, if they affect the artwork, the value of the poster is greatly diminished.


If bleed-throughs are the result of an alcohol-based marker (such as a "Magic Marker"), the mark is absorbed into the color fiber of the poster. The only way to correct this type of bleed-through is to remove the mark through a controlled bleaching process, and then the color re-added to the pigment of the area of the poster where the original color was bleached out. THIS MUST BE DONE BY A PROFESSIONAL RESTORER.

Tape can sometimes be removed through a continuous controlled washing and flushing process. This MUST BE DONE BY A PROFESSIONAL RESTORER.

See-throughs can only be seen when there is light behind the poster. To eliminate the "shadow" effect of a see-through, simply frame the poster, eliminating the light source.

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