Whether you’re relatively new to the world of coin collecting or are an experienced numismatist that has built up quite the assortment of rare coins over the years, properly storing and protecting your coin collection is essential in order to preserve it in its best condition for generations to come.
At Preferred Coin Exchange, we believe that rare coins and currencies are pieces of art that each tell a story, and those stories are intended to be memorialized and passed down in order to preserve these vital pieces of history. In order to successfully do this, you must keep your coin collection in pristine condition. But how?
By acquiring the right tools and supplies and following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are properly storing and preserving your coin collection to last for lifetimes.
The most common method by which coin collections are damaged is by improper handling. Always try to hold your rare coins by their edges so that the oils and acids from your skin do not come in contact with the faces of your coins.
If your coin collection is kept in specialized coin holders, for example, those you receive from the mint or grading service, you should keep them in these holders and not remove them for any reason in order to preserve them in their current state.
In general, cleaning your rare coins is something that should be done with a great deal of caution as it is very easy to alter the surface of the coins, drastically reducing their value. In fact, unless a specific coin has PVC damage (residue from the soft plastic holders that forms a green residue after extended periods of time) or the surfaces are completely covered in dirt and grease, it really isn’t worth the risk of attempting to clean your coins. This is because when going to sell a coin, experienced numismatists and rare coin dealers can easily spot a cleaned coin at a mere glance, and rarely give them a second look.
If you do decide your coin collection is in need of cleaning, do not use any cleaning products with abrasive chemicals. These will not only change the consistency of your rare coins’ surfaces, but they can also alter the color. Also be sure to never wipe or polish your coins as doing so will leave “hairlines” which devalue the coins.
The best method of safe and effective coin collection cleaning is to use washes intended specifically for removing dirt and PVC from coins. This involves a simple dipping your coins one at a time into a cleaning solution. Always be sure to wash your hands prior to handling your coins for cleaning and allow the entire coin collection to air dry until you are certain they are each 100 percent dry prior to storage. We recommend investing in and using a compressed air canister for a quicker and more certain drying method.
Placing each of your coins (that did not already come in a specialty rare coin holders) is the first step in proper coin collection storage. When you go about choosing containers for your coin collection, choose carefully, because even the faint amount of chemicals present in a variety of storage materials, such as BPA, can damage or discolor an entire coin collection in many cases. The best options for storing your coins are small envelopes, PVC-free plastic bags, or Mint-issued coin holders designed specifically for coin storage. Slabs are also a great option for coin storage as they allow you to protect your coins without obstructing your view of them. You can order special boxes with grooves for the slabs in order to store a large number of “slabbed” coins.
Once you have selected the ideal coin collection storage contraption, other important factor in proper coin collection storage is where you choose to store your coins — in other words, the environment. Outside of improper handling and cleaning, the major causes of damage to coin collections are humidity, extreme temperature fluctuations, acids, chlorine, and air pollution, making the location of your collection a very important factor in preserving it. Choose a storage area where your collection won’t succumb to any of these environmental elements.
Many numismatists take great pride in caring for their coin collections, and many develop practices even beyond our recommendations. Overall, though, if you follow these tips for proper preservation, you can rest assured that your prize pieces of history will remain in their pristine condition for years to come. If you have questions about caring for your coin collection to preserve the value of your rare coins, reach out to the experts at Preferred Coin Exchange with all of your coin collecting queries.