How to Safely Store Your Coin Collection
Storing a coin collection properly is important to maintaining its value. The typical coin jar with coins mixed together in a container will not suffice for a serious collector. Coins in this situation will rub against each other, causing damage, and will tarnish more readily.
Small paper envelopes that are designed for coins can be a good economical choice. Paper envelopes are easy to label and store and prevent the coin jar issue of coins rubbing together. When looking for coin envelopes, be sure to find ones that are labeled as “acid free” and that are specifically made for coins. Cheaper envelopes, such as those made for office use, may cause discoloring of the coins over time.
Albums or folders that hold multiple coins are another choice. Cheaper and more widely available folders and albums may not be ideal for long term coin since the chemicals in them, such as sulfur, can cause discoloration over time.
Plastic “flips” are an option which house a single coin in a piece of plastic that flips open. These allow the coin to be visible without removing it from its case. Plastic coverings may contain PVC that can deteriorate and cause damage to coins, including leaving streaks or blobs on the coins. Mylar coverings are harder, but will not cause the same damage. Mylar lined cardboard cases are also available to take advantage of this stable material.
Slabs are more permanent, sealed plastic coverings that are professionally applied. Due to the cost involved, slabs are best applied to individual coins with high value. At the time coin is slabbed, it may also be graded and certified by a third party with the certification included in the slab.
However you house your coins, you should also consider the environment they are stored in. Although slight oxidation will not always effect the value of your coin, it is best to avoid extremes in temperature. For example, storing coins in an attic may not be advisable. High humidity can also be a problem for your coins. Silica gel is an option for absorbing excessive moisture if you are storing your coin collection in a box or cabinet. In addition to the possibility of direct damage to your coins, humidity and temperature variations may also do damage to your choice of coin storage which could cause indirect damage to your coins.
Security is another issue when deciding where to store your coins. If you have coins that are high in value, a safe deposit box at a bank may be the safest option. In general, it is best to keep collections out of site and to utilize common sense techniques to avoid becoming a target for theft. Insuring your collection and keeping an inventory of your coins can also help preserve your investment.
Storing a coin collection properly is worth the upfront effort and cost. Maintaining your coins in the best condition and avoiding future damage for years to come should be a priority for a serious collector. Some storage solutions, such as a slab, may even add value to your coin. You can determine which storage solution to use based on the value and size of your collection.