I have a 40 year old collectible hardback book in which a signature was made on the inside flap using blue ballpoint ink. I've done some research and come away with a couple of options, but hoping someone here might have done some restoration work:

  1. Mechanical means

    • Sand Eraser such as Tombow Mono
    • Razor blade
  2. Chemical means

    • Acetone on q-tip
    • Rubbing alcohol (w/ qtip)
    • Lemon juice (w/ qtip)
    • Lamy Ink Eraser

I'd like to do as good a job as possible as the book has a bit of value if I can remove my, and my brother's, old signatures (see picture).

Has anyone tried any of the methods above (or something else entirely)?
Is there a better stack exchange site for this style of question?

Given that this is a hardbound book, I can do a bit of scraping without wearing through the paper too much but not sure if it will leave a surface that is completely mismatched from the surrounding paper either by color or texture.

ink signature, inside flap

  • 1
    The book has dog-eared corners, so it's not in very good condition. You could risk damaging it and reducing its value further; or entrust it to a professional book restorer; or sell it "as is". Have you had a valuation? Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 23:38
  • None of these kinds of books being sold are in great condition. Based on what I see on eBay it's probably somewhere between $75 - $350, and probably on the lower end. Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


put a small amount of hand-sanitizer on the back of your hand and get a tissue or a paper towel and poke the corner in the hand sanitizer and put it on the ink and it should get it off


Ballpoint ink:

Cyclohexane (camp stove fuel) Isoproply alcohol (rubbing alcohol)

Test ball point pen ink on some other piece of paper. If it works try cautiously on part of the problem.

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