A coin collector is only as good as their tools.
Properly handling coins preserves their value and keeps them looking shiny. A new collector should invest some money into proper coin storage and handling supplies.
Here is my list of the top 4 items every new coin collector should buy for proper coin storage and handling.
I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.
1.) Cotton Gloves
Did you know that the oils on your hands can actually be damaging to coins? Your eccrine sweat glands are in the highest quantities on your hands and feet.
According to Wikipedia, “The secretion of eccrine glands is a sterile, dilute electrolyte solution with primary components of bicarbonate, potassium, and sodium chloride (NaCl).”
Water and sodium chloride can all be damaging to coins. This can lead to bronze disease in copper coins, and unattractive toning on silver.
To minimize damage while handling coins, a good practice is to always hold coins by the edge, and be very careful not to touch the obverse or the reverse of the coin. But if you are handling valuable coins, or want to be certain you are taking every precaution necessary, it’s best to wear gloves.
I recommend 100% cotton gloves as the best way to prevent damage. Cotton is soft enough to prevent scratches on the coin. Plus, it will keep the oil and sweat on your hands from touching the coin.
2.) Coin Holders
You may think that coins are resistant to damage due to being made of metal. While coins hold up better than paper money, even a small scratch can damage the value of a coin.
The difference between a coin in MS 70 vs a coin in MS 69 can be a scratch barely visible to the human eye, but can detract hundreds of dollars in value from the coin.
To keep your coins in as pristine condition as possible you need some type of storage for them. Even sitting in a change jar by your nightstand a coin can be damage simply by touching other coins.
There are two good ways to store coins to preserve their condition.
First, for more common coins, I would recommend some simple cardboard coin flips. These are also called “cardboard holders” or “2×2’s” are great because they don’t take up a lot of room.
Cardboard flips are also good for cataloguing as you can write the denomination, year, mint mark, grade, and value all on the flip.
These cardboard flips on Amazon are a good set, they come in different sizes too. Be careful buying flips from sellers on Ebay or Amazon that don’t have any reviews. Cheap flips can contain PVC plastic which can damage a coin. (For another brand of coin flips that don’t require staples, check out this article: “Peel-N-Seal Cardboard Flip Review: No More Staples!”)
For more valuable coins, I would use an Air-Tite coin capsules. These are more expensive than cardboard flips, but your coin is less likely to be scratched by a stray staple or fall out of the container.
If you are looking to buy Air-Tite capsules on a budget, I would suggest buying the larger size capsules since it will be able to fit any coins.
Ideally, you want the coins to be a tight fit in the capsule so there is little air touching them and less space for the coin to hit the edges, but as long as you don’t move the coins around much, being in a slightly bigger container should not be an issue.
Here is a link to 25 Air-Tite capsules on Amazon. These capsules are 38mm wide making them perfect for Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars. This is a trusted brand that does not use PVC!
3.) Magnifying Glass/Jewelers Loupe
When assessing coins, it’s important to notice every little detail. As I mentioned earlier, even a tiny scratch can make a huge difference to the value of your coin.
When I am coin roll hunting or looking at newly purchased coins, I always have a magnifying glass with me to look for important errors or damage.
Whether you use a magnifying glass or a jewelers loupe is really up to you, I prefer a magnifying glass because I find the handle more comfortable. Plus, it’s bigger and easier to find on my desk.
I have recommended this magnifying glass before. This one is great because it comes with a detachable lens if you need more or less magnification. The built in light is also useful for making out small details.
(This magnifying glass doesn’t come with batteries, but unlike other magnifying glasses it requires AAA batteries, not the small, circular watch batteries.)
4.) Silica Gel
Humidity can damage your coins. Small amounts of water in the air react with the metal of the coin and other trace amounts of salt or oil to start chemical reactions.
Keeping your coins dry and away from heat is a good way to slow these natural reactions.
Silica gel, the same stuff found in your packets of beef jerky, is a super-absorber of humidity. It’s used in food, gun, and clothing storage as well as coin and precious metal storage.
I like the WiseDry Brand for the quality and the fact that the silica gel packets change color from yellow to green when they need to be recharged. Recharging is as easy as microwaving them for a couple minutes!
Keep some silica gel in the the safe, box, or drawer you use to store your coins. I would not recommend putting your coins in contact with the gel or the packet. Having the gel in the same container is enough to keep moisture away.
What do you use when handling your coins? Leave a comment below with any recommendations, or things I may have missed.
And, as always, vote in our poll!