Storing your Collection - Appraising Your Coin Collection
Next: Grading Coins
Copyright 2015 by Kevin Flynn, All Rights Reserved
It’s important to properly store your coins so they do not become damaged. You should not place your coins in a bag all together or throw them in your drawer, because the coins can bang against each other and they will become nicked and scratched. Also do not store them near something that is hot, because this can damage the surface of the coin.
There are many different ways to store your coins to keep them protected. What you use depends a great deal on what you collect and what your goals are. For example, let’s say you are trying to collect one of each date of the Lincoln cent series. There are books available specifically for storing these.
If you like to collect all types of coins and keep them together, the easiest way to store your coins is in 2" by 2" cardboard holders. These are safe for storage and because there is a plastic window, you can easily see the front and back of your coins. There are different sizes for different size coins. To insert a coin, first choose a holder where the window is the same size as the coin. Lay the holder flat, place the coin on top in the middle, fold over the holder, and staple it shut. When you staple, it is best to staple around the four sides. Make sure you do not accidentally staple your coin.
Once you have your coins in these holders, you can put the coins in boxes or in vinyl pages where you can put up to 20 coins in a page. These pages fit into a three binder and allow you to enjoy your coins in a book format. The photo on the top left of the next page shows different size cardboard holders. The photo on the right shows different albums that can hold these 2" by 2" cardboard holders. If you want, you can use smaller holders, so you can bring them to coin shows or a friend’s house. With your larger book, you can set it up any way you want. For example, have Lincoln cents on one page, Jefferson nickels on another.
Another nice thing about cardboard holders is that you can write notes on them. For example, you could write when you bought the coin, how much you paid, or anything special you like about the coin. Make sure you also flatten down the staples so that they do not scratch other coins. Also, when taking coins out of a cardboard holder, make sure not to scratch the coin on a staple.
There are several other ways of storing single coins. Flips are clear plastic envelopes with two pockets. These can be used to display two coins, or a single coin with a description of the coin or any other information. Flips are made of vinyl, which is soft and easy to use, but not recommended for long-term storage because the oil in the vinyl can cause damage to the coins over long-term storage. Flips are also made of a different material that is safer but more expensive. These flips are of a stiffer material since the oil is removed from the vinyl to avoid damage over a long-term. Make sure you ask when you buy flips if they are safe for long-term storage.
Paper envelopes can be used as an inexpensive storage method. They are inexpensive; however, you have to remove the coin to view them. You can also write any notes on the outside of these envelopes. Below on the left is a 2-inch flip. The front pocket contains a coin, and the back is used to hold an insert with a description of the coin. On the right is a paper envelope holder.
The problem with a cardboard holder, flip, or paper holder is that the coin can still be damaged if it is dropped or banged into other coins. Hard plastic holders do not have this problem. Some of these also have the benefit of an airtight seal. This is important because air can change the color of the coin. With hard plastic holders you get to see both sides of the coin, the coin is protected, and you can use stickers to put notes on the holders. At the top left of the next page is a snap-together plastic holder. At the top middle of the next page is a holder that is screwed together.
There are also holders you can get that hold all denominations for a given year. This would be useful if you want to store one of each proof coin for a year. At the top right of the next page are two different sets that hold each denomination. These holders are also good protection if the set is dropped, and some are air tight.
If you want to collect all the coins of a series, the most affordable way is to use coin folders. These are easy to use and a good way to start. These folders provide a space for each coin made for general use, including all dates and mint marks. But, only one side of the coin can be seen. One problem is that there is no plastic protection for the front and back of the coin. When you put coins into the folder’s holes, you may have to use a little muscle. The holes are made small so the coins will not fall out. If you are having a little trouble, try to put the top of the coin in first, then the bottom. Below is a folder for the Jefferson nickel series. Coin folders can be bought for almost any United States coin series.
If you are collecting a complete set of each date and mintmark for a single series and you want good protection for your coins, coin albums are the best choice if you can afford it. Remember as you start out, you have to keep to your budget. But as you save your allowance, maybe you can get a nicer album to save your coins. Coin albums are attractive books in which both sides of the coins can be viewed. There is a removable plastic slide to protect both sides of the coin, and these albums are probably the best and safest way to store your coins. When removing or inserting coins from these albums, make sure you use a glove, cloth, or piece of plastic so that you do not damage the coin. Do not push on the front or back of the coin with your bare finger. Below are different types of coin albums made for an entire series of coins.
It is important when placing or removing the coin in a folder or album not to touch the front or back of the coin. First, holding the coins by the edge between your thumb and index finger, place the coin over top of the place you are going to place it in the album.
Second, use either a cardboard holder or cloth to place over the coin. With the cardboard holder, you can see the coin easily. With the thumb and index finger, push down on the rim of the coin. Make sure the coin is even, not one side down further than the other. This is because air pockets might form around the coin.
Another way to store coins is in tubes. These are great for extra coins that are not very expensive. The tubes allow you to store many of your coins together. Tubes are clear rolls for coins.
Make sure your coins are stored in a safe place. They should not be near heat or moisture or a place where the temperature changes. Usually you can store them in a desk or dresser drawer as long as it is not too close to a window or radiator.
There are many places to buy coins and accessories. You can try your local coin dealer or a coin show. If there aren’t any nearby, try mail order. Check the classified ads in a coin paper or magazine to buy or sell coins or equipment. Most places are reputable and the editors do watch out for bad business, but be sure you can always check with the complaint department.
Next: Grading Coins
Copyright 2015 by Kevin Flynn, All Rights Reserved