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Storing and Displaying Coins

To keep the value of your collection safe, here are four standards you should follow:

Plastic Tubes
Plastic Tubes
Foldout Albums
Foldout Albums
2x2 Cardboard Holders
2"x2" Cardboard Holders
  1. Always store your coins in a place that is consistently cool and dry.  Sharp changes in temperature and moisture promote tarnish and spots that will devalue your coins.  For instance, don't store your coins in the attic or basement where the temperature can fluctuate significantly.
  2. Keep your coins in their original holders, if at all possible.  All modern proof sets and commemoratives should be bought and sold in their original cases and capsules.
  3. Save the Certificate of Authenticity and the information card that comes with United States Mint proof, uncirculated set, and commemorative sets.  These items are considered to be part of the set, and if they are missing, your coins will be harder to sell.
  4. As your collection becomes more valuable, you may want to store it in a safe-deposit box.  Or, if you choose to keep your collection at home, check with your insurance company to make sure it's covered for the full replacement cost.

Storage Options

Flips are clear plastic holders with two pockets - one for the coin, the other for a label.  Some flips, such as those made of Mylar®, are good for storing coins but can be a little stiff and brittle.  When you put a coin into a flip or take it out, "bow" the flip to avoid scratching the coin - press both edges gently to make a wide opening for the coin.

Soft plastic holders aren't always a better alternative.  You definitely want to avoid them if they contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  This chemical, used to make plastics softer, will take a valuable coin and turn it into a sticky, worthless mess.  How?  Over time, the sticky film spreads from the container to your coin, eating into its surface.  For this reason, it's been nicknamed "green slime."

Other good storage choices include:

  • 2"x2" cardboard holders.
  • Plastic tubes (ideal for rolls of coins).
  • Hard plastic holders (preferable for more valuable coins).  They are available for individual coins and small sets.
  • Polyethylene sleeves (good for short-term storage).
  • Paper envelopes (for circulating coins).  Be sure to use envelopes especially made for holding coins, or your coins may change color over time due to reaction with sulfur or other chemicals present in the paper.
  • Foldout albums, when properly used, offer some protection from wear and handling.  However, over several years, coins may tone due to reaction with sulfur or other chemicals in the air.  Therefore, these albums are not a good choice for long-term storage of higher-grade coins.
  • Slabs (sonically sealed hard plastic holders for individual coins).  They offer good protection, but slabbing coins is an expensive process.  For that reason, slabs are generally suitable only for more valuable coins.
Glossary  |  Why Collect  |  Collecting Approaches  |  Getting Started  |  Anatomy of a Coin  |  Buy or Find
Collecting Coins  |  Caring for Coins  |  Storing and Displaying  |  What to Look_For  |  Grading  |  Mint Marks
Kids Site - Library  |  Kids Site - Sharing Your Hobby