5 Tips For Maintaining A Coin Collection

Posted by admin on Monday, August 29th, 2011

Those new to coin collecting often ask what is the best way to keep coins in good condition. This is a good question, as the condition of a coin will, ultimately, be the biggest determinant of its value. Old coins in mint condition are worth more than those with nicks and scratches. For numismatists that collect new coins, it is worth remembering that they will, one day, be considered old coins.

So, from buysilver.org here’s a Cheat’s way for collectors to remember what NOT to do in order to keep coins in the best condition possible, and maintain their value in a collection.


CLEAN Those Coins

Many believe that sparkling coins are the most valuable, and, in a way, this is a true concept. However, cleaning coins that are tarnished, or coloured through age and exposure to the elements, does them no good at all. Oxidisation, or toning, is a natural process that happens to coins once they have been exposed to the air. Removing this toning from a coin will take away any remaining lustre, and could add tiny abrasions that will lower its grade and value.

Having said this, however, one of the best ways to start children collecting is by presenting them with a range of bright, shiny coins that are in circulation. In this situation it is best to use a weak solution of soapy distilled water and a soft towel on which to place the coin to dry naturally.

For all other coin cleaning needs, use a professional.


The number one way of damaging coins is for them to be touched, played with: handled. Bare fingers carry chemicals, oils, and tiny dust particles that do immediate and often irreparable damage to high-grade coins. Proof coins will definitely be damaged by such carelessness. Collected coins should only ever be handled with cotton or latex gloves, and, even then, the faces of the coins should not be touched.

EXPOSE Coins to the Elements

Storing coins in a place that is susceptible to temperature and humidity extremes, such as cellars or attics, will expose them to the very elements that cause oxidisation. Such conditions will also ruin the containers in which they are stored (cardboard, plastic containers, etc). Oxidisation will lead to discoloration, and values be decreased accordingly.

Coin collections should always be stored in a dark , dry place, which should be temperature controlled.

ACIDIFY Through Poor Storage

Keeping coins in paper, or cardboard boxes, or inside envelopes often leads to the coins being exposed to acids which will cause discoloration, spotting, and toning. Such protective covering should always be acid free, and collectors should ensure that they ask for acid free supplies.

TAKE OUT of the Wrapper

Coins are like any other commodity. Once they are taken out of the wrapper in which they were sold, they immediately lose value. Consider a television, or personal computer. As soon as they are removed from their boxes, the resale value drops dramatically: they become second hand. It is said that a new car, once removed from its protective wrapper of the showroom, loses as much as a third of its value.

Imagine paying hundreds of pounds for a proof set, newly minted, and then removing them from the mint issued holder, and seeing the value drop immediately in this way. Coins should never be separated from their holders, and it should be remembered that a set also includes any authentication paperwork such as certificates.

So, the way to preserve the value of coins is to Never “CHEAT” (Clean, Handle, Expose, Acidify, Take out).

Share your thoughts

You must be logged in to post a comment.