Caring for Rare Silver Coins: A How-To Guide

Taking Care of Rare Coins
Taking Care of Rare Coins
Follow these essential rules for proper rare coin care, and your time investment in caring will pay dividends.

If you ever decide to become a serious rare coin collector or investor proper handling and storage of your collection becomes essential. Fortunately, once you know the rules, proper storage and handling is simple. It’s all a matter of knowing what to-do and what not to-do.

1_blue1_1 Get it Graded. First it’s highly recommended to grade any rare coins, and obtain a certificate proving the grading service. The two major grading and authentication services we recommend to our clients, Professional Coin Grading Service P.C.G.S. and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, N.G.C., sonically seal the rare coins they certify inside inert hard plastic holders that allow for safe, efficient handling, examination and storage.

With High humidity, air pollution, salt air and temperature extremes, these can sometimes adversely affect the surfaces of rare coins. So, an intercept shield-holders and boxes are designed to protect your coins from these environmental risks with technology—which were developed by Lucent Technologies. This level of protection is truly a smart move.

2_blue1_1 Use a Shield Holder. Second, when storing rare coins graded and certified by P.C.G.S. and N.G.C., it’s highly recommended to use Intercept Shield holders and boxes. Intercept shield-holders and boxes are lightweight, immobile holders that will help guarantee the long-term safety of your coins.

For the third point, when handling raw coins–coins that have not been sonically sealed in a P.C.G.S. or N.G.C. holder–here are several hard and fast rules you ought to follow.

1_blue1_1 Clean Your Hands. Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling any rare coins. Your hands are a breeding ground for bacteria and naturally contain oils that can damage any rare coins you might handle. Gold, silver, nickel, aluminum, zinc and copper can all be adversely affected by these bacteria and oils. Coins that are handled over time can develop carbon spots, change in color or even corrode. All of which will adversely effect the value of your coins.

1_blue1_1 Never talk or eat over or near rare coins. All it takes is a microscopic partial of saliva or food to land on rare coins to change its appearance. Carbon spots, changes in color and even corrosion can occur.

1_blue1_1 Always hold a coin by its edge – never allow your fingers to touch the obverse or reverse of the coin. Over the years hundreds of very expensive coins now have fingerprint and thumb-prints. More often than not, even the most skilled coin care expert cannot remove these prints. The prints permanently damage and reduce the values of these rare coins.

1_blue1_1 Use a Jewelers Felt Pad. When examining coins that have been graded or that are still raw, use jewelers felt pad. Drop a rare coin once and you’ll never hold one again without a table and jewelers felt pad directly underneath the coin your examining. If dropped, P.C.G.S and N.G.C. sonically sealed plastic holders can crack, shatter, and chip. When a single mark can be the difference between a coin being worth $50,000 or $15,000 you certainly want to make sure you never take that risk.

When examining a coin you should always have the following checklist in mind: make sure any coin you examine has no hole or plug. No kidding; people have been known to put holes in rare coins and people have been known to plug these holes in an attempt to recover the numismatic value of these coins.

Make sure there are no rim bumps, damage or repair. Don’t buy rare coins that have rim damage. Collectors hate those coins and investors just won’t buy them.

And, make sure any coin you examine hasn’t been cleaned. Look for heavy lines and abrasions. The surfaces of the coins, whether toned or brilliant, should be original. Improper caustic cleaning has damaged valuable coins. When you’re taught by an expert, you can easily tell a cleaned coin from one that remains original. High quality rare coins should never be cleaned by anyone other than a skilled professional numismatist. It can destroy the coin.

Follow these essential rules for proper rare coin care, and your time investment in caring will pay dividends.