How to Store Coin Collections | American Numismatic Association

mitch sanders | originally published in the numismatist

Whether your concern is security, appearance, or cost, there are storage options for every numismatist.

Reading: How to store coin collection

All things are affected by the passage of time, and currencies are no exception. some effects are quite striking: surfaces marred by contact with other coins or design details worn by circulation. it is less obvious, but no less important, that coins need protection once they become part of your collection. The insidious effects of exposure to the atmosphere and other hazards can alter a coin’s appearance over time, turning prized pieces into shadows of their former selves.

Fortunately, you can preserve the beauty of your collection with some careful thought and modest spending on storage. holders allow coins to be seen clearly and stored securely.

“While you can’t stop the hands of time, wise storage choices can keep your coins safe and attractive well into the future.”

Collectible coins on a deskMost holders for single coins share a common size — two inches square. Cardboard “2 x 2s” have coin-sized windows covered by a thin layer of Mylar (polyester film) and typically are stapled shut. Flips, most with two plastic pouches, are the most flexible. Hard-plastic holders generally are round or square, two-piece capsules.

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Even if you are careful with loose coins, touching them only on the edges, they are still vulnerable. Without support, a coin’s surfaces can be damaged by wear, fingerprints, or contact with other coins. supports are effective and convenient shields against these dangers.

coin holders can also inhibit the damaging effects of air and moisture, which discolor coins over time. flips are not particularly airtight, while hard plastic mounts generally have the tightest seals. some contain anti-corrosive material to neutralize harmful gases. Although you may not be able to achieve perfect, airtight protection, you can take important steps to minimize long-term risk to your collection.

be careful to avoid the unfortunate irony of choosing storage material that can damage your coins. direct contact with paper or cardboard containing sulfur, for example, can discolor coins.

Make sure the 2 x 2s are free of damaging cardboard dust and, if necessary, carefully flatten the staples with pliers to avoid scratching adjacent coins. Avoid releases made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which can ruin a coin’s surfaces over time. If you are in any doubt that a cap does not contain PVC, replace it immediately. and above all, always be careful when transferring a coin in or out of its holder.

Person handling a coin and binders of themEach style of holder offers different amenities. You can write descriptive information on a 2 x 2’s cardboard exterior or a flip’s paper insert. Flips and 2 x 2s are slimmer than hard-plastic holders. Hard-plastic holders and 2 x 2s are available with openings of various sizes, while flips use a one-size-fits-all approach.

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When shopping for mounts, consider the pros and cons regarding safety and cost. Made of strong, inert materials, hard plastic mounts are the most protective and costly. they cost a dollar or more each, versus a few cents for 2 x 2s or flips.

But skimping on storage can be short-sighted because attractive or valuable coins deserve top-notch protection from the elements. An effective strategy is to keep most of your collection in 2 x 2s or flips, with high-quality or expensive pieces housed in hard plastic.

>> download free collection/inventory spreadsheet template <<

media can be kept in small boxes or on clear album pages in a binder. but pre-printed albums with spaces for each coin in a particular series are also a convenient way to house collections of dates or mint marks. again, hard plastic and other inert materials provide the most protection.

pay attention to the general storage environment. keep your coins in a stable, cool and dry place. if moisture is a problem, use desiccants to absorb atmospheric moisture.

Proper storage is absolutely critical to protecting and preserving your coins. Although you can’t stop the hands of time, wise storage choices can keep your coins safe and attractive well into the future.

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