COIN COLLECTING

Articles Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises

Coin collecting is the collecting or trading of coins or other forms of legally minted currency.

Frequently collected coins include those that were in circulation for only a brief time, minted with errors or especially beautiful or historically interesting pieces. Coin collecting can be differentiated from numismatics in that the latter is the study of currency, though both are obviously closely related.

Coin collecting Collecting or trading of coins collected coins Numismatics

Caring for Coins

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If you want your coin collection to retain its value, you must know how to properly care for, handle and store your coins. Many budding collectors make the mistake of mishandling their coins, or storing them improperly, ruining what could be a possibly lucrative investment.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to protect your collection from the start:

Donít clean your coins, unless you absolutely have to. Many times, cleaning will reduce the value of a coin. Collectors prefer the time-stained coins to the shiny ones, but if you have to remove dirt, simply wash the coins with soap and water. Wash them one at a time; donít put them all in the water at the same time. Never scrub or brush the coin; you donít want to make even tiny scratches on its surface. Use a towel to pat the coin dry.

There are cleaning products on the market made specifically for coins, but use these with caution. And you may want to consult a professional coin grader for an opinion before you attempt any cleaning procedure.

Handle your coins very carefully. Donít touch the face or reverse side if you can help it; picking coins up by the edges is the best way to preserve them. Your fingers contain oils that can corrode a coin over time, so many collectors prefer to wear cotton gloves while handling their coins. These are available for a reasonable price at many coin supply shops and online dealers.

Be careful when talking around your coins; saliva can damage them, too. And, of course, protect your coins from coming into contact with food, beverages or other household contaminants.

Proof coins are especially hard to keep clean and clear of corrosive substances. Any mark or stain on them will reduce their value, so itís important that theyíre handled correctly. Some coin holders, especially the PVC-based flips, can actually damage your most rare coins over time. The chemicals in the plastic can interact with the coinís metal, and result in a coating of thin green slime that will ultimately ruin your coins.

Consider purchasing acid free coin envelopes, or hard plastic cases specifically designed for long term storage. There are a number of archival supply houses out there; check online for some good sources, or ask your local hobby shop to stock what you need.

Your storage system should also be a dry place with temperature control; specialized coin cabinets and safety deposit boxes are usually adequate. Avoid stashing your collection in a basement (too damp) or an attic (too hot). Avoid exposure to direct sunlight, and make sure the collection wonít be jostled about or dropped from a shelf.

Coin collection suppliers offer a vast range of storage devices, including specially sized boxes, sleeves, albums, envelopes, plastic slips and hard cases. The storage solution you choose should be based on the value of your collection.

If you are just starting out and havenít acquired any rare or high-value coins, a standard press board album might be a good solution. As your collection grows in size and, hopefully, value, a more professional storage system will be in order.

To protect your most valuable coins, take them to a professional grading house. Your coins will be evaluated and encased in an appropriate holder, with the valuation information and the grading services identification marks for future reference.

If you are lucky enough to own individual coins that are expensive or exceedingly rare, consider renting a safe deposit box at your local bank. The modest monthly or yearly fee is a small price to pay for long term safety of your valuable collection.

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