How Should I Store My Coins
By Robert L Taylor, JD
There are two concerns
when discussing the storage of coins. First, the
storage of the individual coin, and Second, the
storage of a group of coins, or an entire
Storage of a Coin Collection
The Environment of the entire Collection, or
Group of Coins is the focus, taking into
consideration Temperature, Humidity and Light. A
relatively constant, moderate to low temperature
and low humidity are preferable for long term
storage of numismatic collectibles. Placing
packets of silica gel, which absorbs moisture,
in the coin storage areas helps control
atmospheric humidity. The less light, the
better; and absolutely no sunlight. This is why
a safe or vault is ultimate storage container;
because it controls Temperature, Light and
Humidity, and provides Superior Safety.
Groups of Coins, or Collections are best stored
in plastic coin boxes, such as sold by PCGS, NGC
and Whitman, and which will hold 20, separated,
“slabbed” coins. Another alternative is a
cardboard coin storage box (single and double;
red, blue or black), which stack easily on each
other. Different sizes are available for slabs,
as well as Vinyl and Cardboard Flips.
Storage of Individual Coins
Putting Individual coins into Holders is
Imperative for all coins whose condition is BU
and above, or MS60 and higher. Coins below these
designations are considered “circulated” because
they are found in the general circulation of
money. Typically this will mean they are found
in pocket change, or in rolls of coins purchased
at a local bank. Although collecting Circulated
coins is a great personal challenge for many
collectors, the more serious Coin Collectors
will concentrate on “Uncirculated” coins (BU+
and MS60+ ) because of their better condition
(grade), value, and appearance.
Types of Containers or Holders.
Almost anything will do for coins with small or
no numismatic value. A coin that is worth only
face value, is not likely to have much
numismatic value. while nearly airtight holders
made of inert materials are a better idea for
Bags, jars and boxes are adequate for raw pocket
change and circulated coins.
Paper Envelopes or Paper Flips of various sizes
(usually 2 x 2) are still used for single coins.
Be sure to use envelopes made explicitly for
holding coins, otherwise your coins may change
color (tone) over time due to reaction with
sulfur or other chemicals present in the paper.
Since the coin can not be seen, it is now out of
favor with collectors.
Folders and Albums are sold primarily for series
and type sets. Properly used, they offer
moderate protection from wear and handling. Over
the years coins may tone due to reaction with
sulfur or other chemicals present in the folders
and albums, and are therefore not a good choice
for long term storage of higher grade coins. The
coins are still exposed to light, air, chemicals
and human touching. Albums have clear plastic
covers over the coins, which slide in and out.
This sliding action can leave unwanted and
unattractive marks on the coin.
Plastic Flips are available in various
materials. "Soft" flips were once made from
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which decomposed over
time with disastrous results for coins; leaving
a green appearance and substance. PVC flips are
no longer made and sold. Mylar, vinyl and
acetate flips do not contain PVC. While not
airtight, they are reasonable choices for
moderate value coins that will be "left alone"
for multiple years.
Vinyl Pages (8 ½ x 11) which fit into a 3 ring
binder. Well suited for Cardboard and Vinyl
Flips, with great visability of coin obverse and
reverse. This is a Great Favorite.
Mylar-lined Cardboard Flips, often called "2x2s"
or cardboard flips. At one time, the most
preferred and commonly used. but also available
in other sizes, are similar to plastic flips. A
coin is placed between the two halves, which are
then folded over and stapled together (some
brands contain an adhesive). The boxes that they
come in are ideal for multiple coin storage.
Tubes are plastic containers designed to hold a
number of the same size coins. They come in
different sizes for different coins. They are
fine for bulk storage of circulated coins and
are appropriate for higher grade Uncirculated,
BU+ and MS60+ coins. A disadvantage is that the
coins cannot be viewed without being removed
from the tube.
Hard Plastic Holders are preferable for more
valuable coins. They are self sealing, and not
known to contain any materials that harm coins
and offer good protection against scratches,
touching and handling, air and chemicals, and
other physical damage. They are available for
individual and small sets of coins, and come in
Slabs are Sonically Sealed hard plastic holders
for individual coins. They offer Excellent
protection. Because of the expense of having a
coin slabbed, they are generally suitable only
for more valuable coins – i.e.: BU+ and MS60+
Although generic slabs are available, most
often, a slab will be seen holding a coin that
has been Professionally Certified and Graded -
which has tremendous advantages. The biggest
advantage is when buying a coin on the Internet
or by phone. You know what you’re getting.
A coin Certified and Graded by one of the “Top
Four” gives reliability, assurance and security.
A big advantage over the scam sellers of raw
coins, and non-conforming grading companies.
Have fun collecting your Perfect Coins!
Robert L Taylor, JD
About the Author
Robert Taylor is a retired Lawyer from Denver,
CO, and who has had a passion for collecting US
coins, since the age of 6. Wanting to share his
Passion, he created http://www.ThePerfect-Coin.Com
which features US Rare and Modern Coins (from
1960) and http://www.PerfectDollarCoins.Com
featuring US Dollar Coins (from 1878), all
Certified and Graded by NGC, PCGS, ICG and ANACS.