Precious Metals Care
You can clean your coins if you'd like to make them look shiny and new, but you may want to reconsider. Cleaning a coin could reduce its value. Collectors are more interested in older coins that have been discolored due to age. They are more desirable than coins that have been improperly cleaned.
But if you are not satisfied with the cleanliness of your coins, you can clean them with a mild soap and some water. After washing, pat them dry with a soft towel. Don't brush or rub as that can scratch the coin's surface.
Handling Your Collection
Handle your coins carefully to preserve their natural condition and value. Protect the coin's design and surface by holding it by the edges between your thumb and forefinger, and don't touch the coin's surface. Fingerprints and the natural oils on your skin can be corrosive. Use soft cotton gloves, if possible, or make sure your hands are clean before touching your coins.
Hold your coins over a soft towel or other soft surface in case you drop them. Don't talk directly over your coins because tiny droplets of saliva can drop onto the coin and show up later as spots. Just like fingerprints, those marks are difficult, if not impossible, to remove.
- Leather or vinyl albums or sleeves
- Wood cabinet with tray
- Velvet-lined wood jewelery or silverware boxes
- Cherry wood boxes
Leather or vinyl coin albums or sleeves make an attractive display. There are custom-made albums for United States dimes, pennies and nickels. Display maps of the 50 states are available for quarters. Or use picture frames with cardboard folders inside.
A wood cabinet with tray is an excellent display case. Velvet-lined wood jewelery or silverware boxes can also be used to show off your most beautiful or expensive coins. Store the coins in individual plastic coin cases, see-through envelopes, or separate wood or plastic boxes.
Present your coins and paper money in a binder. This is a good choice if you have many coins to display and no space for picture frames or large trays or boxes. Place coins in waterproof plastic sheets and place sheets in the binder. Store on a shelf until its time to show your collection to visitors.
Single cherry wood boxes, similar to ring boxes, can be used to store and present coins with sentimental or historic value.
- Home safes
- In-home hiding spots
- Safe deposit boxes
- Secure bullion storage facilities
A good home safe is a logical place to store precious metals. But make sure it's bolted down or attached to an immovable object. Better yet, hide it. A burglar armed with a few tools will be able to break open most safes. So the most secure home safe may actually be the one that is best concealed.
A safe may not even be necessary if you give some thought to how to hide your precious metals in your house using a few clever hiding spots – attic, beneath floor boards, behind a furnace or refrigerator, etc. An effective hiding place can even be one that's in plain sight. A diversion safe that resembles a common household product - such as a can of shaving cream - will easily fool most thieves, provided it looks genuine and is in an appropriate location. For example, shaving cream belongs in a bathroom, not in a bedroom closet.
To make a portion of your precious metals stash virtually impossible to be discovered by burglars, bury it deep in the ground. Bury it near visible landmarks that will still be around years from now. Be sure to place your precious metals in a sturdy, water-tight container. Let one highly trusted person know of the whereabouts of your cache in case you're not able to retrieve it.
Entrusting some portion of your precious metals to a third-party's vault offers both security and hassle-free convenience. Bank safe-deposit boxes are a popular choice and are more secure from actual theft than most home-storage methods. Safe-deposit boxes have a number of drawbacks, though, including limited accessibility and privacy concerns. Safe-deposit box contents can be seized by the IRS, other government agencies, or, in rare cases, private creditors.
For large holdings, a bullion vaulting service may make sense – provided it's in allocated or segregated storage. When evaluating vaulting companies, there are several considerations. First, will your metal be completely separate from the vault's other clients? Will your metal be protected from an insurance coverage standpoint in the event of a large-scale heist or some sort of natural disaster? Competitive pricing is a factor when choosing a vaulting company, as is geography. And storing your metal outside the United States may also be a possibility through certain companies who offer global vaulting options.