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Keeping your coins in good condition doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on containers. For some ideas on inexpensive coin collecting storage, read our list of suggestions.
Cigar box – A cigar box is a great inexpensive coin collecting storage piece. It lacks sophistication and is more cumbersome, but will safely keep your coins in one place.
Paper Envelope – The paper envelope is a storage option that is low cost, and allows you to create a filing system. You can find a 2x2 version at most coin dealer shops. For long-term storage, look for a sulfur free version.
2x2 Cardboard – These Mylar and cardboard pieces provide excellent long-term storage for your coins while allowing you to view them. Watch to make sure the Mylar remains intact in the cardboard and refrain from use in humid areas.
2x2 Vinyl – These vinyl storage pieces, also known as flips, come in a 2”x4” size and fold over to a compact 2”x2” size. While one side contains your coin, the other side provides a card for you to label your coin.
Managing your coin collecting doesn't have to be an arduous process. There are a number of coin collecting software options available on the market which can help you get your coin collection organized. Here are some coin collecting software choices you might want to try out:
Liberty Street Software – Liberty Street Software puts out a range of management software programs for coin collection, household possessions, and business assets. Their program, CoinManage, is new for 2006 and allows you to input your entire coin collection via the software database. You can analyze and categorize your coins by type, purchase date, and mint mark. You'll also be able to print reports and keep track of a wish list as well as sales.
Carlisle Software – Carlisle Software produces a number of software options for collectors of coins and other paraphernalia. Choose from coin collecting software for specific aspects of coin collecting, including Coin Collector's Assistant Software to manage your coin collection and the Grading Assistant Software, which is an interactive version of the official American Numismatic Association Grading Guide.
If you have coins which need extra protection or you'd just like to display your coins in an attractive container, you have numerous options to choose from. Here are some possibilities for more sophisticated coin collecting storage when price isn't as much of a concern.
Plastic holders – Hard plastic holders are an attractive way for long-term coin collecting storage. Three pieces of hard plastic screw together – one to hold your coin and two for protection. You also have the option of custom printing to identify your coins. However, they are bulky and you do need to make sure the hole is sized correctly to keep your coins in good condition.
Slabs – You can pay anywhere from just $10 up to $100 to slab your coin. A slab is a hard plastic case which encapsulates your coin. Good for long-term storage, slabs also come with identification for your coins on a small sheet of paper.
Coin Albums – Coin albums can be inexpensive or costly depending on the quality and amount or protection they provide. Coin albums typically come designed for a specific collection in mind, such as your entire collection of American Eagles. As a form of display, coin albums make a practical, attractive choice.
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid cleaning your coins unless you're completely positive doing so will not damage it or deteriorate its value. However, if you must clean a piece from your precious coin collection, here are some recommended products for you to use.
Pure acetone – PVC contamination occurs when the PVC in a coin holder causes green spots or an oily film on your coin. In order to remove this, use pure acetone, which you can find at the cosmetics section at your local drug store. Use a cotton swab and repeat the process as needed until your coin is clean.
Tarnish remover – Coins will show toning or color changes, which many collectors will pay handsomely for. However, if you feel you must remove it from your coin collection, use a chemical bath specified for removing tarnish. Your local coin dealer should carry these products. You can mix the solution with water to soften it. Also remember not to dip different metals into the same solution as this may plate one metal onto another.
When in doubt, leave coin cleaning to the experts. When you improperly clean a coin, you run the risk of damaging and lessening its value. However, if you have a coin you must clean, here are some coin collecting supplies you'll need for removing dirt. These few every day items will work well as coin collecting supplies to take off grime.
Artist's brush – Use an artist's brush to gently remove surface dirt. Use caution to avoid using any excess pressure.
Warm water – Use warm water to remove any additional surface dirt. Do not use your fingers to rub or scratch dirt off of a coin.
Olive oil – You can soak a very dirty coin in olive oil for a few days to remove and loosen dirt.
Toothpick – Use a toothpick to remove any dirt fragments after a soaking the coin in olive oil. Use caution to avoid scratching your coin with too much pressure.
Soft towel – Use a soft towel to pat dry your coin. Do not use paper towels as the surface could leave scratches on your coin.
If you haven't yet established a means of storing or displaying your coins, it's best you do so as soon as possible. A coin in circulation has a life expectancy of about 30 years. With proper storage, however, you can double the life of your coins. You can maintain proper coin storage with a number of options from boxes to paper envelopes. Remember that some short term storage holders for coins will actually harm them in the long run as chemicals in the packaging will harm your coins.
Because coins carry value and are portable items which can easily be sold, it's important to take measures to purchase some security items for your coin collection – especially if you have any rare and expensive pieces. If you decide to store your coin collection at home, consider any number of safe deposit boxes on the market. Your choices include floor safes, wall safes, stand-alone safes, and fire safes. Floor safes and wall safes work best by keeping out of sight of would be burglars. Stand-alone safes add a layer of protection by buying you more time and deterring an inexperienced thief from getting away with your coins. A fire safe is intended to keep your precious coins from melting in the event of a fire.
To add an additional layer of protection, consider also adding an alarm system. Options like motion sensors, sound detectors, and infrared all add to the security of your coin collection as well as your home.
Some coin holders may claim airtight and water tight seals. Though this may or may not be true, it is always better to err on the safe side and assume your coin holders will let in air or water. Moisture will adversely affect your coins by changing the chemical composition on the surface and deteriorating them over time.
In order to save your coin collection, use a desiccant. If you've ever bought a pair of shoes, you've noticed the small white package placed in the shoebox to keep your new shoes from moisture. These small white packages are desiccant and you can use them to keep moisture away from your coin collection as well. You can find desiccant, a drying agent which removes moisture from the air, at your local hardware store. Whether your coins are in storage in a safety deposit box, large envelope, or other open container, place a desiccant with your coins and check for dryness every month. You can re-dry or replace your desiccant as needed. You can replace the desiccant every six months when you use it with a closed container.