While it is true that beauty and value are ultimately in the eye of the beholder, this doesn’t mean you should simply ignore proper storage of your coins. Like any tangible asset, they must be well-preserved to retain their full value; like fine art, coins are also miniature works of art that are best appreciated in good condition.
Once you have started collecting coins, storage becomes one of your main concerns. There are at least two very good reasons in favor of carefully storing your coin collection: it preserves the appearance of your coins, making them a more attractive, aesthetically pleasing keepsake; it also helps you retain the collectible value of your coins--and even if you don’t collect with the intention of turning a profit, it’s still prudent to maintain the value of your coins for an emergency or simply for your posterity.
The Right Environment
Above anything else, your principal goal should be to keep your coins away from humidity or extreme environments. Moisture is the ultimate enemy of your copper and silver coins (gold less so). Both metals are extremely reactive to oxygen and can tarnish or corrode as a result of being kept in a place where the air is too moist. While you can simply avoid touching your coins, protecting them from the elements is a bit trickier. Airtight plastic holders, or capsules, are a convenient way to preserve your coins. Silica gel dehumidifiers, which remove moisture from closed environments, are also a great way to prevent damage due to water.
Contact with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) can also damage a coin’s surface. Unfortunately, this chemical is often present in the plastics used in the 2”x2” cardboard “flips” that sellers commonly place their coins into. If you’re going to keep your coins in flips, be sure you are only using ones that are “PVC-free” before placing a coin inside. Mint tubes and plastic capsules are generally preferable to flips for storing and viewing your coins. Capsules allow you to safely view your coins without touching them, while tubes offer the same convenience when you need to transport multiple coins. Both supplies come in a variety of sizes to fit different coin denominations.
Handling Your Coins
You may have heard that you should never touch your coins. While this is a good rule of thumb, you can safely hold a coin around its edge, away from the design or surface. It is always advisable to handle a coin by its edge in order to avoid imparting skin oils or fingerprints to the coin’s surface. This may seem silly, but in some cases it can ruin the appearance of a coin. This is especially true with Proof coins, which have highly polished, mirrored surfaces that will glaringly show any kind of smudge or hairline scratch.
Once you have amassed a considerable amount of coins, albums, books, and holders are essential storage supplies for organizing and displaying your collection. These supplies not only shield your precious collectibles from the elements, but they also allow you to view and manipulate your coins without worrying about touching them. This holds true for both raw (ungraded) coins and those that have been slabbed by a third-party grading service. Albums are designed for housing coin slabs, while individual holders are a fine place to keep your favorite coins that have not been certified. You may have also seen “penny books,” small collection folders that include spaces for each year and mintmark of a coin series. These are a great way to safely store and keep track of your collection as it grows, not to mention that another collector may pay more for a set of coins that are already placed in an album or folder.
A Final Thought On Storage
However, the right supplies alone will not ultimately protect your collection. Keeping your coins hidden--in a home safe, safe deposit box, or elsewhere--is a concern that should not be overlooked. It makes no difference how well-preserved and complete your collection is if it is not secured in a place that safeguards it from theft or tampering. It is often simply a matter of keeping your collection out of reach of your pets or children. While safe deposit boxes are secure and remote from your home, they have limited space and are rather expensive. Many collectors opt for home safes, which make it much more difficult for someone to steal your valuables. Still other investors choose to safely store their coins in an insured vault or depository. Using a third-party vault is probably the most popular option for storing large quantities of gold and silver coins, giving the owner the peace of mind that their assets are safe, insured, and available at a moment's notice. This is why Gainesville Coins proudly offers our secure vault storage for our customers, ensuring that your valuables are never pooled with others' assets.
Whatever option you choose, you won’t regret taking the storage of your coins seriously when it comes time to pass them on or cash them in.