Proper handling and storage of your coin collection is an important safeguard to protect your investment from permanent damage.
Every day, millions of dollars are lost to collectors due to improper handling and storage of their collections. The most common detrimental component in coin storage is PVC. PVC is contained in soft plastics such as flips and coin storage pages and the damage is often permanent.
PVC poison will begin as a chemical reaction between the storage materials and the coin itself, often producing a green haze on the surface of the coin. After an extended period of time the haze continues to develop into an acidic paste or ooze that eats away at the coins surfaces. Once the damage has begun, the PVC must be neutralized and removed to prevent further damage to the coin. On all but the rarest of coins the damage will devalue the item beyond belief.
To avoid PVC poison and the problems associated with it, only purchase archival coin supplies for long term storage. Short term storage and transportation or shipping to grading companies often requires the use of flips and it is acceptable for short durations without damage. PVC damage occurs over years of storage and not during the span of a few weeks.
Archival Coin Storage
Modern Storage Pages and coin flips are often produced from archival polyester or similar materials that have an absence of PVC. If you are unsure ask the distributor or dealer about their product lines and which are acceptable for long term storage.
Use coin handling gloves while handling your collection even for short periods of time. 100% cotton gloves actually prevent skin contaminants from contacting the coin and remove any residue that may already reside on the coins surfaces. Handle the coin by the edges and take care not to rub or otherwise contact the surfaces.
Do not speak while handling your coins or numismatic materials. Tiny moisture particles are emitted during speech and those particles may land on the surfaces of the coin. Years later those particles appear as tiny spots which devalue the items dramatically. Desiccants placed within safety deposit boxes and safes will also reduce the risk of moisture damage to your collection over time.
Individual coins should be kept in rigid holders for long term storage such as plastic 2x2 holders or slabs, and cardboard 2x2 holders or flips for short term storage. Whether using 2x2 plastic or 2x2 cardboard holders, it is recommended that the holders be stored in albums or boxes to prevent excess movement and possible damage to the holders. Damaged holders will allow air and other contaminants to contact the coins surfaces over time.
Collections and sets should be stored in coin albums or holders to prevent movement during storage. Less expensive collections can be held in standard, Whitman type tri-fold albums, without damage. Archival albums, such as Dansco or Collector Safe albums, are recommended for long term storage of most other sets and collections.
Coin Albums allow a collector to view the obverse and reverse of their collection while offering maximum protection from the elements and airborne contaminants. Albums are designed for shelf or drawer storage with the binding facing out and album edges resting on the shelf or drawer. Do not store coin albums lying flat on the shelf with multiple albums stacked on top, as this will degrade the strength and durability of the album and exert increased pressure on the coin obverse and reverse surfaces.
If possible, store your coins and currency at a constant temperature year round, with controlled humidity. Bank vaults and safety deposit boxes offer an excellent way for the average collector to control the storage temperature of their collections; however the humidity is normally high. If it is not possible to store your collection under ideal conditions, keep them away from direct sunlight and away from heating and cooling vents. Keep desiccant packs with your collection to absorb moisture and prevent damage.
Coin Collection Theft Protection
For safety and security reasons, never disclose the contents or location of your collection. Have all numismatic publications and catalog's sent to a post office box and never your home address. Whenever possible, separate your collection into several secure locations for storage, such as safety deposit boxes and safes. Remember even the best safes can be cracked so be sure to insure your collection for its replacement value.
Keep a detailed list of all numismatic items in your collection along with slab serial numbers and identifying marks, photographs or photo discs, and receipts when possible. This list should be duplicated and kept with important papers such as life insurance policies and stocks.