The proper storage and handling of coins is important in order to protect them from physical damage and the hazards of the environment. This feature will describe the various types of available coin storage methods and offer some tips on the proper handling of coins.
Storage of Coins
Several types of storage containers for coins are available and the most commonly used of these are described below.
1. Bags, Boxes & Jars
Boxes, jars and bags may be used to store less valuable coins, pocket change or circulated bullion coins. These containers are not, however, generally adequate for more valuable coins.
2. Coin Envelopes
Paper coin envelopes of various sizes are sometimes used to store coins. These envelopes are made of acid free paper and each holds a single coin. These envelopes provide an economical and acceptable storage device for most coins.
3. Coin Albums
Cardboard or plastic coin albums are often used for storing a series of coins related to a particular country or theme. Coin albums offer adequate protection for most coins.
4. Coin Flips
Plastic coin flips provide a good storage device since you see the coin without removing it from the storage cover. Plastic flips are not airtight but they are a good storage option for coins that are intended to be left untouched for many years.
Perhaps the most popular method of storing coins is in a 2"x2" cardboard container lined with clear mylar. The coin is placed on the mylar and the container is then folded over the coin and stapled shut. Under this method, the coin will not move in the container when handled. 2X2s provide a high level of protection at a cheap price.
6. Coin Tubes
Coin tubes are plastic containers designed for storing several inexpensive coins of the same size together. They are used mainly for bulk storage of lower grade coins. A disadvantage of this storage method is that the surface of the coins cannot be seen without removing them from the tube.
7. Coin Books
Coin books hold coins in individual slots or holes. This is usually not a recommended storage device as many of these books are made of low grade cardboard or paper containing chemicals which may react with the coins and cause discoloration in the metal.
Slabs are hermetically sealed hard plastic holders in which individual coins are encased. Slabs offer excellent long-term protection but they are expensive and are generally used to store only very valuable coins.
Improper and frequent handling of coins can significantly diminish their numismatic value. Handle coins only when absolutely necessary and in accordance with the guidelines set out below.
Avoid touching the surface of a coin with your fingers. Coins should always be held by their edges. Fingertips contain acids that can damage the surface of a coin.
When viewing a coin, always place it a soft surface such as a felt pad. Dropping a coin on a hard surface can result in nicks or scratches.
If coins are being shipped it is important to package them properly so that the coins cannot bang into each other. Ideally, each coin should be packaged individually with appropriate padding.
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