Care for a rare coin collection

If you’ve just started a rare coin collection, congratulations.

You’ve embarked on a deeply rewarding passion.

It might bring you big financial rewards too.

The best quality coins are a fine alternative investment.

With the top end of the market still setting records and attracting new money.

Just this month, a Petition Crown set a new $1 million record for a British silver coin.

But damage and poor storage can rob your collection of value.

Yugoslavia 1921-1934 - Alexander. Gold milled 4 Dukata.

This 4 Dukata piece from Yugoslavia is uncirculated and careful storage and care has helped preserve its condition. 

Coins are durable. Unlike the collectible they’re closest too, stamps, they’re built to last.

They’re far from indestructible though, and even very superficial wear can knock points off their grading and money off their value.

Here’s a simple beginner’s guide to caring for them.

Rare coin storage

As soon as you start to read up on coin conditions you’ll come up against “bag marks”. That’s what happens when coins bang up against each other in poor storage.

These days collectors do much better.

High value coins and modern collector sets are usually issued in their own storage.

These are generally the best you can do and you should continue to use them after purchase.

Sealed, rigid plastic capsules around valuable coins provide inert storage and are an industry standard. You’ll see them on auction photographs.

encapsulated coin
The capsules high value coins are sold in are as good as it gets for coin storage.

You can also use 2″ by 2″ cardboard or plastic holders. Cardboard should be acid-free and plastic should not be PVC, which damages coins in the long term.

Coin albums are good. Check that they use acid-free, PVC-free sleeves.

Coins are heavy, make sure you don’t overload any album or other storage device you use.

Not everyone can afford to dedicate a room to their collection.

Wherever you keep yours you’re looking for cool, dry and most of all stable conditions.

Experts say you should avoid talking over or too close to your coins as saliva - even in vapour - can cause spotting.

Handling your coins

As with most collectibles the best guidelines for handling rare coins is don’t.

When you do need to handle your coins you should never do it with bare hands.

Snap on a pair of cotton gloves before you pick up any coin. 

Even the cleanest skin can impart oils onto their surface that can cause damage.

Use cotton gloves.

Cleaning and polishing coins

Most coins at auction will be sold to you in their best possible condition.

Cleaning coins should be done with caution, and probably avoided.

While physically robust in their form, the surfaces of coins are not so tough and can carry much of their value.

Any cleaning should be done with non-detergent soap heavily diluted in distilled water.

Tap water can contain damaging chemicals, use distilled water when you clean your coins.

Even then, rubbing or scrubbing is to be avoided. Soak coins to remove dirt and pat them dry.

If your coins are valuable or potentially valuable or you are at all unsure you should seek professional advice.

Knowing what you have

Alongside your cotton gloves invest in a good coin reference book and a magnifier.

Knowing your collection is rewarding and will help you care for it properly.

Any and all documentation you get with coins you buy (or find) should be kept. Make notes of additional information that can help prove a coins authenticity, age,or your right to own and sell it.

A coins value can depend on fine details like mint marks and even production errors.

If you’re not confident in assessing what you own, ask for advice.

If you are lucky enough to own a significantly valuable piece you should consider more secure storage and check your insurance.

Buy rare coins today

We sell rare and valuable coins. You can see our collection here.

And if you’d like to know when we add new items, just sign up here and we’ll keep you up to date.

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