How to Store Coins — Video Vignettes

ANA Education Director Rod Gillis explains various ways you can store your coin collection.

Hello. This is Rod Gillis education director at the American Numismatic Association. If you’ve had a chance to follow our Video Vignettes, you know that we have talked about ways that you should collect and build a collection and we’ve also talked about ways in which you can purchase coins. Today, I want to spend some time talking with you about the way that you will wish to store your coins.

Basically, there are two parts to our discussion. We’re going to talk about ways in which you can physically store your coins. And we’re also going to talk about where you should store your coins. Let’s talk about the physical way to store coins first. You know, there are a lot of ways that you’re able to store your coins and when you ask yourself how you should do this, they’re really two questions that you’ll need to answer.

Question number one is, how do I wish to present my coins once I’ve decided to store them. And number two is, how much do I want to spend on my storage system? What you’re going to find is there’s a wide variance in the price point for storing your coins.

One of the least expensive ways to store your coins are in coin tubes. And there’s nothing wrong with storing your coins in tubes, but there are some drawbacks. One is that you’ll have to go through your coin in the tubes to be able to decide which coin that you’re looking at first and number two, even though they’re pretty secure in a coin tube like this, there’s always the chance that the coins could rub up against one another.

So if you have coins that are sort of the same year and you’re just storing them; and not worrying about them being part of your actual collection that you want to present; this is a fine way to do that. 

A very inexpensive way for you to be able to store your coins is through these cardboard flips. These cardboard flips really just cost pennies on the dollar, and if you go to a coin show you’re going to see a lot of dealers who have raw coins for sale who store their coins in these slips. They’re very convenient to use. There really is nothing wrong with them.

They will store a coin for a very long time. They look like this. And they have, as you can see, a window. And it’s just a matter of putting the coin in the middle between where the windows are located, closing them together, and then stapling them. If you should decide to use this system, I do want to caution you to be careful of the staples. Because if you should ever decide to remove your coin and pull the staples out, there’s a chance that you may scratch your coin as you’re doing that. So you do want to be careful in using the staples. 

If you should decide that you want to present your coins where they are all together, a good way to do that is through albums. Now this is one of the older albums, and the thing about an older album like this is that you press the coins into the board and you’re able to have an entire set that you can present. The only problem with this setup is that really you only get to see one side of the coin at a time, so in this instance you cannot see the reverse of the coin.

So that is a little bit of a problem, but it is a perfectly acceptable way to store your coins. Especially if they are not extremely valuable. If you want to step up from that, there are albums in which you can see both the obverse and the reverse of the coins. And there’s a little plastic window that you slide in and out to keep the coins protected. So this offers two advantages: number one; you’re able to see both the obverse and reverse of the coin. And you are able to add a little bit more protection than the previous album that we just looked at. If you want to have your coins stored in a way that they are stored individually, the cardboard example is a good way.

Another example is these holders. These holders are made of plastic, and it’s just a matter of putting the coin into the holder and then pressing the holders together so that you can have a nice protective way to store your coins individually. 

Of course probably the most expensive — but the best way — to protect your coins is by sending your coins to a third-party grading company. Here’s an example of a coin that has been sent to a third-party grading company. It’s been encapsulated, and it’s also been graded. This is a very good way to store your coins, however it’s the most expensive. So you really want to think about whether the coin that you’re sending off to the third-party grading company is worth the expense of doing that, and if it is, this is a fine way to be able to store your coins.

Once you have received the slab back, you can then store them in boxes such as this. You simply take the lid off and store the coin, along with all the other coins that you have. Now, if you want to go a little bit more upscale, there are wooden holders that are like this that are presentation pieces and you’re able to store your coins in sort of this velvet holder, and it looks really nice. So this is probably the most expensive way that you can go about holding your coins. And again, from the least expensive to the most expensive as long as your coins are secured, and aren’t subjected to the elements, there is nothing wrong in the way that you want to do it. 

Let’s spend a couple minutes now talking about where to physically store your coins because that’s a very important subject. Most of us will store our collection at home and there’s nothing wrong with doing that. The only drawback about storing your coins at home is that you may worry about the safety factor — your house being burglarized and and coins being taken away. So some advice: If you prefer to have your coins stored at home, please make sure that you store them in a place that is not very obvious. Storing them in a drawer where you keep your socks is not a secure place because a burglar will look at a place like that right away. So try to find a place in your home that is hard to reach and is not very obvious for your collection.

If you should decide that you want to take a step up from storing your coins at home, you want to include a safe, that’s great too. And a safe is a wonderful way to help keep your coins secure. The two things that I want to advise you on is number one, make sure the safe is secure in your house and cannot be taken out of your house easily. The very best safe in the world won’t secure your coins, if you’re able to pick up the safe and just take it right out of your house. The other thing that I want to mention is that if you should decide to use a safe, purchase one that is flame retardant. If something should happen at your house where there is a fire, a flame retardant safe will help keep the coins from being scorched, and so that’s a really important factor.

If you decide that the value of your coins is large enough that you worry too much about keeping your coins in your home, and you want them to be somewhere else more secure, the best advice I can give you is to purchase a safety deposit box at your local bank. The drawback of doing that is that you won’t have access to your coins when you immediately want to look at them. Of course the thing that is good about having them at a safety deposit box is that they will be very safe there and that’s one less worry for you. The one piece of advice that I can give you about storing your coins in a safety deposit box is that you want to make sure that you insist that the safety deposit box that is selected for you at the bank is not the one closest to the ground. The reason that I say that is because most of these safety deposit box areas it banks are carpeted, and occasionally to keep the presentation up, the banks will have the carpets cleaned. And what happens is that the chemicals that are used in cleaning the carpet can very well leach into the safety deposit box and have an adverse effect on your coins. So, my advice would be to choose a safety deposit box that is not near the level of the floor because the further up you go the less likely there will be the harm of the chemicals from the carpet infiltrating your coins.

Hopefully this has given you a lot to think about not only how to store your coins, but where to store your coins.

This is Rod Gillis at the American Numismatic Association wishing you Happy Collecting!

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