Now that you've gained some knowledge on coins and collecting, it's time to start thinking about how to store your collection. Before you decide to go out and make your first coin purchase, you need to make sure you have all the supplies necessary to be successful. Keep in mind, however, that no amount of supplies will work if you don't store your coins properly. Be sure to keep them in a temperature-controlled and relatively dry environment.
To get a good look at your coins, you will need a good magnifier. It is simply a given that cheaper magnifiers do not have the quality of optics that better magnifiers have, so this is an area where you don't want to get the cheapest you can to save money - your eyes are very important! It's important to protect them by not falling victim to a cheap magnifier.
Printed price guides make good general reference guides to gauge the value of coins, but be sure to check online value sources to get a more market-fresh idea of value before buying or selling. Additionally, when you select a specialty in collecting (which may or may not happen quickly), be sure to research books in your area of interest, then buy AND read those before jumping too deeply into spending money on coins. That education you receive could save you a lot of money in the long run. Have patience and give yourself some education - you will thank yourself later!
After reading and deciding what you would like to collect, you have to be sure to purchase the proper albums that will meet your needs. Some people choose manufactured pre-printed albums for their collections with slots for the coins - these can look very nice when completely filled, but some collectors choose a slightly different path that pre-printed album pages will not fit. In that case, archival safe flips and 20-pocket pages are a great way to collect what you want without the limitations that pre-printed albums present.
Undoubtedly you will find the need for placing coins into holders regardless of which method of storage you choose. Coin holders are most commonly 2 inches square when folded over, so the market commonly refers to them as '2 by 2 holders.' There are other sizes, but these are most common for coins up to silver dollar size. We recommend against using staple holders of any kind, because staples can rust and affect your coins, but more importantly, staples are also a prime way to damage coins severely if the coins are not very carefully removed from holders containing staples.
Instead, we recommend archival safe-flips for storage of coins. They are a little more expensive (usually 8 to 10 cents each versus 3 or 4 cents for the staple kind), but they won't scratch or damage your coins due to staple scratches, and if you get the double-pocket flips, you have a larger area where you can write information about your coins.
It is VERY important not to buy flips that contain Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). The plasticizers used in PVC leech out of the plastic over time, and create a green, oily film on coins that WILL ruin the coins. If you shop flips online, make sure you buy "archival safe" flips, which do not contain this dangerous-to-coins chemical.
If you buy flips locally, make sure they are rigid and do not smell plastic-like. The smell of a new plastic beach ball (or similar soft plastic item) is exactly what you want to avoid in buying flips. Good flips have no odor at all. Additionally, when you buy coins, be sure to remove the coins from any flips you suspect may contain PVC.
||Kelsey graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a B.A. in mass communications. She is new to the world of numismatics, but as the Marketing Specialist for MCM is dedicated to learning all there is to know.|