One of the first things you need to consider when you start collecting rare coins is how you’ll store them. It’s something that deserves serious consideration because quite simply, the type of container you store your rare coins in can mean the difference between keeping them preserved or irreparably damaging them.
When it comes to storage, your main options are:
• Coin folders
• Coin albums
• Coin holders
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for each.
• Cheap to buy
• One of the easiest ways to organise and categorise your collection
• Good for beginners and for low value coins
• A description of each coin and/or the date of the coin is already printed on the folder, so you can easily see which coins you still need to collect
• Only possible to view one side of the coin
• There is no cover over the coins, so they are susceptible to finger prints and other damage
• Coin folders are often limited to three or four pages, which means if you have a significant collection, you’ll need a lot of folders
• They come in a variety of sizes, so you’re able to store a large number of coins in one album
• You can view both sides of a coin
• Coins are protected from fingerprints and damage by a plastic insert
• The materials used to manufacture the cardboard and adhesive in coin folders and albums are acid free, so coins don’t run the risk of becoming ‘toned’ coins.
• Acid free materials that don’t result in coins being ‘toned’, are used to manufacture the cardboard and adhesives in coin folders and albums
• You don’t have the option of including information about each coin, on a piece of cardboard
• Some cheaper coin albums still use plastic that contains PVC. Over time however, the PVC leaches out of the plastic and leaves a green film on the surface of the coin. If it’s discovered early enough, this residue can be removed fairly easily, but if left too long, will permanently damage the coin. Collectors need to make sure the coin albums they buy have PVC-free plastic sleeves
• The downside of PVC free plastic is that it leaves the plastic hard and rigid, which can result in small surface scratches known as hairlines or slider marks, if you aren’t careful when putting in or taking out the plastic slides that cover the coins.
• Many varieties, from 2×2 coin holders, coin flips, hard plastic holders, coin edge holders (that show all three sides of a coin), to encapsulated coin holders issued by independent coin grading companies. Prices vary considerably, so there are different options for each budget
• Most coin holders largely protect coins from finger prints, general damage and mishandling
• Hard plastic holders and encapsulated holders offer the best protection and are designed to house specific coins. They can also be customized for different size coins
• 2×2 coin holders are the cheapest option and enable collectors to write information on the holder
• Coin flips are most often used by dealers, because they’re compact, have a large separate slip of cardboard for the coin information and can be stored in specially designed long boxes
• Coin edge holders allow you to see all three sides of a coin, without having to remove it from the holder. They’re also double sealed which makes them virtually airtight.
• Encapsulated coins (professionally graded) are really the only option if you have rare coins or gold coins of considerable value. They are guaranteed authentic, which adds to a coin’s value, and they’re sonic sealed, which makes them airtight.
• Not all holders are airtight, for example the 2×2 coin holders. These holders also require coins to be stapled in, which can scratch the coin if it isn’t removed carefully.
• Coin flips are often made with PVC plastic, which can cause irreparable damage to the coin.
• Encapsulated holders, also known as ‘slabbed’ coins, are the most expensive and you can expect to pay around $30 to have each coin valued by a grading company such as the NGC or PCGS.
• Hard plastic holders and coin edge holders are both pricey and bulky, which means they might not be affordable if you have a considerable rare coin collection.