A small flood that occurred at our offices last week, reminded me about the proper storage of coins and related collectables. In a previous article about the damage of cleaning coins we discussed how certain metals, especially silver, and copper are quite reactive, and will change color over time. We can speed or slow down this process based on how the coins are stored. We also want to avoid situations where we get our fingerprints on surfaces, or even worse scratch a valuable item.
Here at Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. we use several products to preserve and protect our coins. The simplest and least expensive method is the 2 X 2 cardboard holders, with round mylar windows. These cost less than 4 cents each, and are great for medium or long term storage. Once in the holders, you can write a description of the coin on the cardboard. These holders easily fit into special 20 pocket pages that can be used to make a nice album. Special heavy duty binders with slipcases exist to place your coin pages. Alternatively, the 2 X 2's can fit into rectangular boxes that go snugly into your safety deposit box or other locations. A variation of the cardboard flip is an all plastic holder that contains the coin on one side and a piece of paper on the other. The plastic is folded over, so it has the same 2 inch by 2 inch size of the above mentioned cardboard holder. The advantage of this type is that there is more room for information to be written. It will also accommodate large coins. The cost however is a bit higher at about 11 cents each. My preference for more expensive items is to have them sent away for certification. For a fee (usually between $15 and $100 per coin), your item will be sealed in either a hard or soft plastic holder, which is usually air tight. A description of the item, a guarantee of authenticity, and an opinion of the condition is usually included. Obviously, it is not worth the price to do this for less expensive, common items, or an items who's value is based just on metal prices. There are other storage options as well, including special storage units designed for a coin collection. At our store we carry a full line of collecting supplies, and can special order fancier boxes, or display trays. A properly stored and organized collection is always more interesting than a box mixed with "stuff". Taking time to properly care and organize what you have will make your hobby much more rewarding, and will protect your investment over the long term.