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Collector Supplies

Read about collector supplies that protect the value of coin collections.

Coin collectors generally need to invest in a magnifier and a reference book. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Coin collectors generally need to invest in a magnifier and a reference book.

Collector supplies are important to protect the value of coin collections. Coin collectors can choose from a variety of storage containers to protect their coins, but high-value coins require special consideration. Understanding how to protect coins is important because the condition, or grade, of a coin can affect its value. Even something as simple as a fingerprint can reduce a coin's value.

Coin Collecting Containers

Many containers exist for preserving coin collections. Although collector supplies vary, one thing does not -- very valuable coins should be kept in airtight containers, according to Telesphere Numismatics. Containers for coin collecting include:

  • Jars, boxes and bags. These work only for circulated coins or spare change, not for valuable coins.
  • Paper envelopes. Paper envelopes specifically used for coin collecting are best. Regular envelopes may alter the coin's color. Paper envelopes should be used only for coins of lesser value.
  • Folders and albums. These are often used to save series of coins. However, they do not work well over the long term for valuable coins, as they contain sulfur, which can alter the coin's tone.
  • Mylar-lined cardboard. With this type of storage, the coin goes between two cardboard halves, which are fastened together with a stapler or adhesive. Also known as 2 x 2s, these coin holders allow coin viewing, explains My Coin Collecting. Mylar-lined cardboard containers are relatively inexpensive and safe.
  • Plastic flips. Coins of middle value that aren't going to be handled often, removed or shipped can be stored in plastic flips. Sometimes known as safety flips, plastic flips are pockets that hold coins. However, coins stored in this type of container may be scratched, and plastic flips that contain polyvinyl chlorides do not work as collecting supplies.
  • Tubes. These plastic containers hold many coins. They work for circulated coins and higher-value coins, as long as the coins don't move. They don't allow coin viewing, however.
  • Hard plastic holders. This is the best choice for high-value coins. They won't alter or scratch the coins. Air-Tites are a type of hard plastic holder with a snap-together acrylic inside holder.
  • Coin edge holders. These holders allow for viewing of the coin's edge.
  • Capital holders. These holders are made of plastic Lucite. The collector can either screw or snap them together.
  • Slabs. These plastic containers are sonically sealed and made out of hard plastic. They are great for high-value coins, but they are expensive.

Cleaning Coins

Coin collectors should not attempt to clean coins. They can inadvertently reduce the value of their coins if they do. Coin cleaning should be left to professionals -- and only done if necessary. Even wiping a coin with a soft cloth can scratch it and reduce its value. Because coins are so delicate, it's considered poor manners to pick up another collector's coin by anything other than the rim, according to Collectors Corner.

Other Collecting Supplies

Coin collectors generally need to invest in a magnifier and a reference book. Incandescent lighting of 75 watts is desirable. Some coin collectors also use halogen lights. Other collecting supplies include velvet, gloves, a mask, a microscope and a metal detector.

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