[Hey guys! Got another guest post for ya, this time in partnership with CoinAdvisor.com on keeping your coins safe. We’ll be back to blogging regularly here soon, it’s just been a madhouse getting some of my other projects out the door. Sorry! I’m still collecting on the side, just haven’t been able to write much about them lately. Hope your collections are going well!]
Tip #1. Keep Them Dry
Coins are EXTREMELY sensitive moisture. Even a few saliva droplets from a nearby conversation could potentially cause spots you may never resolve. To avoid moisture, it’s best to keep your coin safe in some type of enclosure at all times, whether it be a coin album, flip, or a “slab.”
Tip #2. Handle Them Properly
While those coins you’ve been collecting may look sturdy, they’re actually a lot more delicate than you’d think. Dirt, grime, and the oil from your fingers can often have drastic effects on these precious little possessions. At it’s worst, contact with one’s hands may lead to scratches, smearing, and discoloration – the outcome of which can usually be seen as a giant step downward in monetary value.
If for any reason you do “need” to touch your collection, be sure to have a pair of cotton or latex gloves handy, as these will protect it from two of the three ailments above. As far as smearing goes, it is integral to make sure your fingers are kept on the edges of the coins at all times, even when you’re wearing gloves!
Tip #3. Avoid Unnecessary Cleaning
While you’d think cleaning your coins would be the proper maintenance procedure, it can actually be detrimental to their value. Polishing or cleaning your coins oftentimes causes a breakdown at a microscopic level. Moreover, the damage behind this breakdown tends to accumulate over time and may eventually contribute to a major loss in value.
It is not uncommon for beginning collectors to notice a change in their coins’ color and accordingly feel compelled to keep them clean. However, it is important to note that this color, known as “tone,” is completely normal and actually the result of the natural oxidation process. There is really no “good” way to remove this discoloration, and in attempting to do so, you risk damaging the coin and stripping it of its natural luster, effectively rendering it worthless. This discoloration can also make the coin more valuable than one might expect as many collectors interestingly prefer toning!
Tip #4. Keep Your Mint Coins Mint!
If you have ever been the proud owner of a particular coin or set of mint coins, you should never—and I mean NEVER—remove them from their holders. These coins are best stored within coin slabs and should not be removed for any reason. In addition, when purchasing a mint coin, it is best practice to store any and all accompanying papers with the set, as these may be necessary to verify the coin’s actual value at a later point in time.
Tip #5. Be Wary of Acid
The chemicals often present on paper coin holders have been known to spread to preserved coins, causing harmful discoloration or staining. Whenever utilizing a paper coin holder, be sure to take note whether or not the container is labeled “acid-free” by the manufacturer. If not, it’s best to stay clear.
Tip #6. Store Them Correctly
In addition to the harmful chemicals present amongst paper products, certain type of plastics, mainly PVC, have been shown to damage coins as well. Whenever using plastic as a storage device, it is wise to use a casing specific to coin storage. Furthermore, it is important to note which types of plastics you are allowing to come in contact with your coins, as some materials have been known to lead to the development of a green film, something we assure you that you do not want.
The best existing storage methods include: slabs, albums, cabinets, and cases—all of which have been designed by those aware of the intricacies of coin collecting. Also be sure to keep these coin containers within the appropriate temperature, ideally one that is both dry and controlled, as this seeks to limit the production of moisture, prospectively lessening the oxidation rate. However, if you truly want the best for your coins, your best option is to put them in a safety deposit box, which will insure them both against theft or any other misfortune.
Tip #7. Have Fun!
Coin collecting is a century-old pastime which has been honored by some of the most prominent leaders of past societies. Today, it has become a thrill-invoking treasure hunt in an effort to obtain the rarest and most valuable coins in existence.
While some see it as an investment and others as a hobby, the key remains that us collectors do it for one reason and one reason above all: We enjoy it! So keep on collecting and enjoy the experience!
Tyler Fleck is a blogger and editor for CoinAdvisor.com, a place to learn more about collecting as well as picking up new silver and gold coinage for your collection.