Choosing the right holder is an important first step in your collecting plan, because the cost of holders can sometimes be quite high, especially if your collection becomes large. There are many types of holders and accessories for protecting, storing, and displaying your collection. Some holders are meant only for short-term storage and may actually harm your coins over long periods of time. Surprisingly, we’ve learned that some holders, the very ones supposed to protect your coins, are made with chemicals that attack and damage them. Others are perfect for long-term storage and the careful preservation of your numismatic lovelies. Here are your options:
Cigar box (stogie storer): Inexpensive (unless you smoke high-priced stogies) and great for beginners. Lacks a certain level of sophistication and panache.
Paper envelope: Traditional and inexpensive. A variety of sizes are available at your stationery or office supply store. Coin dealers sell small 2-x-2- inch paper envelopes made for coin collectors. You can write information about the coin on the outside of the envelope. Colors allow you to code your collection. Sulfur-free versions are excellent for long-term storage.
The sulfur used to manufacture paper causes coins to tarnish, although today most of the envelopes targeted to the coin market are sulfur-free. Another potential disadvantage of paper envelopes: You can’t see the actual coin inside without opening the holder and disturbing the coin.
Cardboard 2-x-2s: Inexpensive. These start out as 2-x-4-inch sheets of Mylar (clear plastic film) glued to card stock containing two holes of identical size. The coin is placed on the Mylar, and then the holder is folded over and stapled together. Some cardboard 2-x-2s have a layer of adhesive that seals the holder shut and eliminates the need for staples. Coins are easily viewed through the Mylar windows. Excellent for long-term storage (except in areas of high humidity) and as long as the Mylar film remains intact.
If we had a dime for every coin destroyed by a staple, we could vacation in Bermuda for a week. Be careful when stapling the holder; make sure not to hit the coin. Also, be very careful when you staple the holder and crimp the staples to make sure that they don’t damage the coins in other holders. Removing coins from cardboard 2-x-2s must also be done carefully, so as not to scratch the coins.
Vinyl 2-x-2s: Inexpensive and great for handling and viewing of coins. Also known as flips, these 2-x-4-inch holders have two pockets that fold over to a convenient 2-x-2-inch size. One side holds your coin, the other a card upon which you may place a description.
We have a difficult time getting the harder flips to stand up in a row inside a box. The softer, vinyl flips don’t seem to have this problem. Excellent for short-term storage. Used by most dealers and auction houses as a convenient method of displaying, protecting, and shipping coins.
Some vinyl flips are made with PVC, a chemical that can leach out over time and damage your coins. Therefore, this kind of holder can’t be used for long-term storage. Certain brands are made without PVC, but this causes them to become brittle and crack.
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