How to Safely Store Your Coin Collection
To keep your coin collection in good condition, you need to store it properly so it doesn't get damaged. Storing your coins properly will ensure they are worth more in the future, which will provide more money for your heirs when they need to sell them. Minting coins from metal is a common way to create coins.Most coins made from these metals are sensitive to a variety of different environmental factors. Among the most common metals used for coins are copper and silver. These metals are highly reactive and can cause chemical reactions. If you know what the enemy is, you can develop a defense plan to protect your collection.
The Causes of Damage
Although most metal is usually a durable substance, there is a variety of factors that can negatively impact the condition of your coins. Many coin collectors put their coins away for a long period of time without ever checking on them. Regularly checking on the condition of your coins in storage is one of the best ways to stop the damage before it starts.
High humidity is the biggest enemy of coins. Copper and silver coins are common metals used in the production of coins. Unfortunately, these metals will react chemically when they come into contact with water. Water vapor is all around us and can seep into just about anything. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common environmental causes of damage to coins.Some companies claim that their coin holders are "airtight," but this is not always the case.
2. Heat and Cold
Heat does not always damage coins. The heat reduces the time it takes for a coin to be damaged by other environmental factors, such as humidity, acids, and air pollution. At the other end of the spectrum, cold can damage the delicate surface of coins that haven't been circulated, when moisture condenses into liquid water that will deposit itself onto the surface of the coin.
Acids come from a variety of sources, such as the air, food, or urine. The most common source of acid is found in coin collecting supplies made from standard paper and cardboard. This acid was used in the manufacturing process. Over time, these acids will leach out of the paper or cardboard and cause tarnishing and toning on copper and silver coins.Adhesives used in packaging can also produce acids.Another source of acid is wood furniture and everyday household materials such as cleaning solutions and vapors emitted from cooking. Avoid storing your coin collection in a closet that stores cleaning supplies or other chemicals.
Chlorine can cause a chemical reaction that results in your coins' appearance deteriorating. This can range from minor unsightly toning to corrosion that can cause pits in the surface of the coin. One of the main sources of this problem is the use of plastic that contains PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Additionally, the vapors from a hot tub or pool can seep into your coin collection area.
5. Air Pollution
Not only is air pollution harmful to our health, but it also has a negative impact on our coin collections. Air pollution is primarily a problem in densely populated urban areas, where air pollution from vehicles accumulates in the form of smog and permeates surrounding buildings.Over the years, steps have been taken to reduce the amount of harmful gases emitted by vehicles, but they can still exist in sufficient quantities to damage coins. Avoid storing your coins near a place where petroleum products are stored.
6. Improper Handling
Avoid mishandling coins to prevent damage. If you touch a coin directly with your fingers, you can leave deposits of acids and oils on the coin's surface. This will damage the coin's surface and may result in loss of value. Dropping a coin onto a hard surface can cause damage that reduces the coin's value.Always use safe coin handling techniques, such as handling your coins with soft cotton gloves or nitrile gloves. Always place coins on a soft pillow or towel.
Best Storage Solutions
Unfortunately, no solution can provide 100% total protection for your coins. However, you can choose the right storage environment and coin supplies to protect your coins from possible damage.
1. Choose the Right Coin Holder, Album, or Folder
Store your coins in an airtight container or on a cool, dry surface to prevent them from deteriorating. The first step in preserving your coin collection is to make sure it is properly stored in a coin holder, album or folder. Additionally, coin albums and folders can help you organize your collection by providing a place for coins to be inserted.The folders and albums are organized with dates, mint marks, and other information so that your coin collection can be easily cataloged.
2. Location. Location. Location.
As the old real estate saying goes, “place, place, place” is everything. The location where you store your collection is just as important as the way you store your collection. Your general rule of thumb should be that if the environment is comfortable for a person, it will likely be satisfactory for your coins.
To keep your coin collection in top condition, avoid extremes such as basements (cold and damp) or attics (hot and dusty). A den or bedroom location is the best location. Also, choose a room away from the kitchen where cooking oils and moisture can quickly permeate your coin holders, folders, and albums.
If you live in a coastal area along the ocean or sea, special precautions must be taken to prevent your coins from getting damaged by the humid and salty environment. Copper coins are the most susceptible to environmental damage from the moisture and salt in the air near waterfront communities.
3. Safe Deposit Box
One of the safest places to store your coin collection is in a safe deposit box at a bank. Unfortunately, this is probably the most expensive solution too. Bank vaults are constructed to keep criminals and fire out. Bank vaults are made of a material that will emit water vapor that will hold down the temperature in the vault in case of fire. Naturally, some water escapes over time. Therefore, this would provide a very humid environment for your collection. The water vapor can be absorbed by placing a silica gel pack inside your safe deposit box. Remember to change it a couple of times a year to keep it fresh and absorbing as much water vapor as possible.
4. A Home/Office Safe?
A less expensive option is to purchase a safe for your home or office to store your coin collection. Once you purchase your safe, there is no reoccurring annual fee like a safe deposit box has. Unfortunately, home and office safes are constructed of the same material as bank vaults. You must also use a silica gel pack to absorb the humidity and prevent your coins from getting damaged.
Additionally, you should also invest in a professionally installed alarm system. This will protect your home, your family, and coin collection from various threats. these threats include intruders, fire, flood, and drastic temperature changes.
5. Metal Cabinet or Bookshelf
Wooden bookshelves and cabinets can emit harmful chemicals into the environment around your coin collection from the coatings, adhesives and the wood itself as it ages. Although not as secure as a safe, a locking metal cabinet will provide a safe environment for your collection since it does not have the problems associated with wood. Be careful where you locate your metal cabinet because metal tends to attract moisture in the form of condensation. Extracting this humidity from the air and placing it on your coins can be very detrimental. Protecting, preserving and storing your coin collection properly will ensure your coins will be enjoyed by generations yet to come.