Cartridge shelf life?

I finally have the time and place to set up my black big disc system again.My Question is simply this - I have a Linn Asak that has literally been sitting for about 10 years - tip was OK when put away. Also have a Sumiko BluePoint High output MC that has been siting for almost the same amount of time - very low hours - tip would be fine.Yesterday I bought a Grado Prestige Blue 1 - new in the box.
I have plenty of originally bought new LP's that are still very listenable because I have been very careful about what ground it's way around the LP - would hate to damage my collection with defective cartridge.
Finally - the basic question is this - the elastomer support ( think rubber/plastic donut) that the stylus tube rides inside of - how subject to becoming either stiffer/more brittle or softening are these materials - if simply left siting - not used ? Is it reasonable to even try these closet queen carts or am I better off simply instaling the known good cart?
Table is a LP-12 Valhalla and RB-300 arm.
What type of storage conditions were the Sumiko & Linn enjoying their hiatus in?
Environmental factors play a big role in the degradation of many elastomer materials. A sealed box, kept in cool conditions, is an environment less apt to cause harm than a cartridge exposed to ozone in a hot attic or garage.
Basicaly , over the years ,basements - cool - not terribly humid.
In the past, I researched this topic on various forums as I was interested in trying some well regarded cartridges from years ago. It doesn't seem there is any definitive answer to the question from the various experiences people have had. More often than not, especially if the cartridge was kept in a box or case limiting air exchange, cartridges were deemed useful for quite a few years. Certainly at least the ten years you've kept your cartridges stored. But, there are always the others that do have their suspension give out. From reports, certain cartridge brands were more prone to elastomer degradation than others. If I were you, I'd just try the oldies out on a few records that I didn't care about. You should be able to see if things are sagging or otherwise are age impaired. If they pass that test, you could try them out on a test record to see how they track.
Some of my favorite carts are more than 25 years old and sound fine. Yours may take a little while to loosen up (the suspension), but I bet they'll be okay. I've had some luck dabbing the tiniest amount of a product called "Re-Grip" Rubber Cleaner and Revitalizer on the suspension with a toothpick. All you can do is try. Good luck, Dave
I recently restored a turntable and remounted a Stanton 681EE purchased in 1969. This 40 year old cartridge has not been used for at least 20 years and stored in a closet. After degaussing, cleaning the needle, and checking the setup, I tried several lonely records. To my surprise, it sounds quite good. No noticable artifacts of old age. Time to get out my even older Sure M75E!
Photon - your advice made sense.Very pleased with the test.Blue point and RB-300 were ready to go. Had to find the new belt I purchased some years ago for the LP-12 - cleaned bearing out and reloaded oil - yah -some surface noise - but really not bad.And probably the first intrusion of reality was 'Yah know - some of these always sounded pretty awful" - nothing to do with the cart - bad engineering sounds bad at the start and never improves.
The very good news is this will open up another 1500 or so pieces of music to be enjoyed again.Especially since some groups/performances never made it onto shiny small disc or did so with absolutely terrible A-D transfers.
Here's what I'm using: LP-12 Valhala ,RB-300,Sumiko Blue Point, B&K Phono 10 digi out to Benchmark DAC-1, Quicksilver KT-88's and out Paradigm Studio 20 v3's.
Morning update - installed Grado Prestige Blue 1 - very nice - tracks way better than the Grado's I used to sell and install by the thousands decades ago.
Always got a absolute charge out of these cartridges - simply amazing amount of music released for relatively tiny amounts of money - it's always nice when a old audio dog finds that some things change - but for the better !