The abundance of precious metal dealers online makes it easy to browse and purchase high-value coins. Whether you own a small or large coin collection, protecting it from damage and theft is essential.
Knowing how to store coins will help keep your investment pristine, increasing its value for years.
In this guide, we’ll explain the importance of storing coins in secure locations. Continue reading to see what our precious metal experts recommend for cleaning and storing gold, platinum, and other precious metals.
How Should You Store Your Valuable Coins To Avoid Damage?
Collectors use dozens of different coin storage strategies to protect their assets. For example, those who purchase individual coins sometimes tuck them away in zip-lock bags or paper envelopes stapled shut. Those with larger collections may store their coins in jars, dressers, or metal cabinets.
These methods may seem practical, but they will not prevent future damage.
Chemically reactive metals in coins can corrode and deteriorate after prolonged exposure to moisture and air pollution. Leaving your copper or silver coin collection in a humid or cold storage environment for too long can cause severe damage.
Let’s go over better ways to store each type of coin.
Gold won’t react chemically to oxygen, but leaving gold coins in PVC (polyvinyl chloride) hard plastic holders can degrade their quality over time. Gold coin damage can obscure valuable design features with patchy green or gray splotches.
Keeping your gold coin bullion in the wrong environment for too long can cause PVC residue to destroy the surfaces of higher-grade coins in your collection. It’s best to avoid flips or other plastic containers when storing higher-value coins like gold.
It’s also a good idea to store your gold coin collection away from heat sources like furnaces, fireplaces, and warm appliances. The melting point of gold is 1,948 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing gold metals near heat sources for too long may not melt them completely but can cause them to become soft and vulnerable to bending.
Unlike gold, these coins are much more susceptible to oxidation in environments with high air exposure and humidity. Coin-collecting enthusiasts who store silver in cardboard boxes sometimes notice discoloration after several years.
Protect your coin collection by storing it away from appliances that emit water vapor, like humidifiers or air conditioners. High levels of moisture can react with the copper in sterling silver, which causes the surfaces of your coins to turn green.
Placing these coins in a plastic holder may be practical for temporary transportation, but not ideal for long-term storage. A PVC plastic holder can produce acidic reactions that cause the metal to pit (decay). If you need to use a plastic holder, arrange each coin in an acid-free soft silica gel pack before placing them inside.
Silver is much less malleable than gold, so store this metal away from your gold collection to avoid scratching or tarnishing other coins. If you don’t want to invest in silica gel packs, consider separating your collection into different coin albums—also called coin folders—to reduce the risk of coins damaging each other.
Collectors pay top dollar for more valuable coins like platinum. The manufacturing process for minting platinum is slow and intensive due to the metal’s low malleability—increasing its demand on the market.
Coins like platinum aren’t as vulnerable to the same environmental factors as the metals mentioned above. Platinum is chemically inert—meaning it will not oxidize at any temperature and will not corrode from the mineral acids in plastic coin holders.
You may be able to keep these coins in a cardboard box without risk of damage. Still, other storage options, such as a locked metal cabinet or a coin storage facility, may provide better security.
Some less common circulated coins, like the American Eagle Palladium Coin, are reactive to acidic minerals and heat. Palladium won’t oxidize at standard room temperatures, but prolonged exposure to heat could cause a brownish layer to form over the surface.
Properly store these coins away from heating appliances and sunlight for the best results.
How to Clean Your Coin Collection Before Storage
Cleaning coins before sending them to a secure storage area can be tricky. Metals like gold and copper can react poorly to tap water—so washing them in the sink sometimes does more harm than good. Collect the following items to begin:
- A clean bowl
- A non-abrasive rag
- Baking soda
- A soft bristle toothbrush
Start by placing a small amount of water on your soft bristle toothbrush and lightly scrub away dirt on your coin’s surface. You can also use a non-abrasive rag, but avoid scratching your coin with your fingernail. Use baking soda or vinegar to upend stubborn grime stuck to the surface.
Some coin-collecting enthusiasts leave their coins to soak in warm water overnight. However, this strategy could cause significant damage. Instead, rinse your coin collection with cold water and let it air dry.
Avoid experimenting with harsh chemical cleaning solutions. Improper handling could cause corrosion that lowers the value of your coin collection by hundreds of dollars.
Choosing the Right Storage Option for Bullion
Casual coin hobbyists proudly display their coin albums on mantels or in glass cabinets. Those who take coin storage more seriously may hide them away in mattresses, under floorboards, or in portable safes. Still, your investment could be at risk of damage or theft from family members or friends if you store your coin collection at home.
Certain environmental factors in your house—such as high humidity—could destroy your coin collection over time, even if you lock them away in enclosed spaces. Disasters like house fires can also create devastating losses to your investment.
Avoid coin damage by moving them to safer locations. Here are a few questions to consider before you store your coins:
- How many coins do you own?
- What type of coins do you own?
- Do you plan on purchasing more coin bullion in the future?
- Do you own high-grade coins?
- How much space do you have to store coins at home?
- Can you afford off-site storage?
Coin Storage for Gold
Remember that plastic holders will damage your gold coin collection. Instead, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper and place them in air-tight coin holders or a large, password-protected metal box.
Don’t store your coins in a safe deposit box. The FDIC does not insure safety deposit boxes, leaving them vulnerable to bank regulations and surprise losses. Moving your coin collections to bank vaults may seem practical if you have a large volume of precious metals, but this solution carries similar risks.
Avoid storing coins in the same place you purchased them. Third-party facilities have higher autonomy over the stored gold in their facilities, often with little accountability.
Store your coins in a separate, highly-secure vault facility where you can monitor and interact with your investment without going through an intermediary. Some services offer secure bullion pickups and delivery for total peace of mind.
Coin Storage for Silver
Beware of keeping your silver coin collection at home. Closets, basements, and attics attract moisture, reducing the quality of your metal. Many vault services offer oxidation and acid-free storage options to preserve these coin investments.
You can protect these coins by placing them in air-tight metal holders. Some even offer 24/7 surveillance and serial numbers for your bullion to keep your stored investment out of unauthorized hands.
If you want to keep these coins at home, invest in a waterproof and fireproof safe. Bolt your safe onto the floor, so thieves can’t take it out of the room.
Coin Storage for Other Precious Metals
You don’t need to wrap your platinum or palladium in tissue paper unless you store them near other coins that tarnish easily. Instead, place them in a cardboard box and ship them to a secure vault.
Where to Store It
Instead of relying on unsecured at-home storage for your coins, a better option is a professional precious metal depository. At these facilities, you know your collection will be safe 24/7 and stored at the proper temperature and humidity level to prevent damage or corrosion.
When choosing a facility, ask whether you can access or withdraw your coins at any time and if your items are stored separately from other collectors’ coins.
Final Considerations for Coin Holders
Coin collecting can be exciting, but your investment could suffer unnecessary losses without the right coin storage solution.
At Learn About Gold, we teach you the importance of keeping your coin collection safe. Our team also helps you find and compare some of the leading gold IRA services in the country to grow your investment and direct you toward excellent storage solutions.
You can start your coin-collecting journey today by taking our gold quiz online.
Contact Learn About Gold for more tips on coin storage.