How to Care For and Store Your Rare Coins
In all likelihood, you’ve spent a significant amount of time, energy and money making sure the rare coin you now own is the best possible choice for your collection and budget. It’s not going to look after itself though, and it’s vital that you do what you can to preserve its current condition.
If you’ve purchased your coin through an official rare coin dealer, such as South Cape Coins, then it will already be NGC or PCGS graded, in which case it will also be appropriately sealed in a plastic slab, which will help ensure that it maintains its condition. It’s important that you keep the coin in this protective container and don’t attempt to break the seal, open it or handle the coin with your bare hands.
If you are new to numismatics and/or are purchasing rare coins to diversify your investment portfolio, then you should only consider coins that are graded and certified by an independent coin grading company such as NGC or PCGS. Otherwise, if you don’t know enough about it, you might find that the coin you purchased has a lower grade and value than you’ve been led to believe.
Under exceptional circumstances however, a collector might purchase a coin that isn’t graded and hasn’t been stored effectively. If this is the case, steps need to be taken to ensure that the coin isn’t handled incorrectly after purchasing, as this can seriously damage it physically and affect its value.
With this in mind, we’ve given you a few basic (but vital) pointers that will help you to better understand why you really do need to protect and store your rare coins as best you can.
1. Don’t touch the coin with your bare hands. Simply touching it can irreparably damage the coin. This is especially true for coins that are mint state or proof coins, which shouldn’t for any reason be removed from their protective casing. Natural oils and dirt from your hands can cause discolouration or miniscule scratches that are only visible under a microscope. Always be sure to wear a pair of soft cotton gloves when handling your coins. These, along with a good microscope, should be invested in before you start coin collecting.
2. Don’t clean your coins. It might be hard to believe, but serious investors/collectors are more interested in a coin that is in original condition than one that has been cleaned. This is because cleaning (especially if done carelessly or with the wrong type of product) can do more harm than good. Often, it results in tiny scratches and the removal of any original lustre, which of course affects its overall rare coin appeal and grading. If you really think you need to clean your coin then seek expert advice first. Bear in mind that cleaning coins is especially not advisable for exceptionally rare specimens and the process will never increase the value of your coin, although it will most likely depreciate its value.
3. Plastic slabs are best for storing your rare coins. Although it costs more, capsules protect the coins from moisture and exposure to acid (if coins are stored in paper or cardboard that is disintegrating) which causes spotting, discolouration and oxidation. Make sure any plastic container you use is PVC free, as this can also cause irreversible damage to your coins. Once stored in an effective container, keep the coins in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a home safe or safety deposit box at the bank. The latter option is definitely worth considering if your collection contains exceptionally rare or valuable specimens. This way, their safety is ensured and they are kept in a controlled environment, free from humidity and temperature changes.
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