Care and Preservation of Your Silver Coins

Posted by on October 26, 2011
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2010 & 2009 Silver Pandas encased in sealed plastic holder (photo by sirquitos*)

Storing and caring for your silver coins is important. Barring the remote chance of government confiscation, a bank safe-deposit box is the safest way to keep your silver coins from theft. If you keep them at home, make sure that your home insurance will cover the full replacement value of your silver coins.

Silver coins oxidize and you should protect them from chemical as well as physical wear. Handling silver coins should be done with care. Using 100% cotton gloves will prevent the oil from your skin from being stored on the silver coin leading to its discoloring, tarnishing and or spotting. It is best to touch neither the obverse side (heads) nor the reverse side (tails). This can be done by holding them with your finger tips by the edge of the coin.

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You will want to keep your silver coins where the temperature is steady and the humidity is low. Moisture and large temperature shifts can cause tarnishing and spotting of your silver coins. In general it is not appropriate to clean collectible silver coins.

If you are collecting silver coin proof sets and/or silver commemorative coins they should be kept in their original packaging whether these are cases or capsules. Also any and all Certificates of Authenticity or any other information cards that come with you silver coins should be kept. These are very helpful if you find that you want to sell your collectible silver coins.

The 2”x2” Cardboard Holders come in a variety of ‘window’ sizes for traditional diameters of silver coins. Fitting; dimes, nickels, quarters, half-dollar, and dollar size silver coins. A lot of collectors will keep these holders in plastic 8”x11” 3-hole punched plastic pages that have pockets for each individual silver coin holder and then keep the pages in a three-ring binder.

There are ‘flips’. These have two pockets. One for the silver coin and the other for a label. Mylar (a registered named plastic) is considered superior to many plastics because it does not deteriorate as many other plastics - even though it is stiffer and more brittle than many other plastics. When using a stiff and/or brittle variety makes sure you ‘bow’ the ‘flip’ by pressing the opposite edges on either side of the opening in order to keep from rubbing the silver coin’s surface. Soft plastic holders may contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which can eventually coat silver coins with a sticky green corrosive slime. This slime eventually eats into the silver coin’s surface and ruins it. Polyethylene sleeves are not good for long-term storage of silver coins, but they do well as short-term storage.

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Care and preservation options for silver coins

Paper envelopes are sometimes used for circulated coins and appropriate if they are made for coins. Other envelopes might have chemicals that may react to the silver coin and cause discoloration, tarnish and/or spot. There are also many foldout albums which are good for protecting the silver coins from wear. However the silver coins are not protected from air-born chemicals that can cause the silver coins to become discolored, tarnish and/or spot.

Plastic tubes are ideal for rolls of coins. Hard plastic holders are preferable for more valuable silver coins and available for various sizes and also small sets. “Slabs” are sonically sealed hard plastic holders for individual silver coins and the best of the discussed holders. However the process is expensive and best reserved for your more collectible silver coins.

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