1) Rent a safe-deposit box.
You must rent a bank safe-deposit box. I would also suggest keeping a silicate inside the safe-deposit box to absorb moisture. There are some that change color when they need to be replaced. Most bank safe-deposit vaults are relatively cool and dry and maintain a reasonably-constant room temprature and humidity level. If in doubt you can ask to measure the vault humidity with a small hand-held hydrometer. I've received some strange looks but no objections, yet. Also, I've read and agree with the following: that you should use caution and not allow an attendant to handle your box - as it is pretty obvious if the box was heavy before you came in and is empty when you leave. An unscrupulous attendant may be in a position to notify an equally unscrupulous friend that you are on your way out with a backpack or briefcase full of heavy stuff. There are many articles detailing where thieves follow a dealer from a coin show and rob them while they're getting lunch with the car unattended, etc.

2) Own a burglary-proof safe.
You should own a home Burglary-proof Safe. Burglary rather than Fire-proof because some fire-proof safes can contain fire-retardent materials that either contain or hold moisture. Your home safe should only be used for temporary storage. Permanent storage should be at the bank. A silicate is advised for both.

Along with the safe, a monitored alarm system is never a bad idea. A friend also suggested posting a recently-used firing range target by the front door (if you're a good shot).
3) Rent a post office box.
Consider a Post Office Box for receiving coins and coin-related periodicals by mail.

4) Handle Carefully.
Only hold coins by the edge; never touch or rub the flat surfaces. Some argue that using gloves can cause increased drops. To protect from drops, see the next tip. You should always wash your hands before handling coins, even when using gloves. Oils and dirt from our hands are terrible for coin surfaces. Also, as explained in the next tip, don't blow on or talk over your coins. Using rubber-tipped coin tongs is very helpful.

Other things to avoid are extreme heat, extreme cold, humidity, and extreme fluctuations in temprature. Direct exposure to air is also to be avoided, as is exposure to any containers that contain PVC or the like. Most modern coin holders are PVC-free and most coin supply shops sell zip-lock and other plastic bags that are PVC-free. Most bank paper rolls are neither acid-free nor archival. Similarly, do not assume envelopes or photo-type storage boxes are acid-free or archival unless they specifically state as much.

Gold doesn't react with anything (one of the reasons it's so vaulable). Silver, however, can become toned very quickly when left unprotected. Some people enjoy toned coins. A toned coin is a corroded coin. The effects can be beautiful, but it is still a negative reaction to something in its environment. I've seen some coins graded at MS-67 that, because of tarnish or toning, look terrible. There are many opposing opinions on cleaning/conservation. The default is never to clean your coins, as some methods can produce minute scratches and blemishes. I won't advise on this subject, but I will say some harmless soap and water, and CoinSolv have marketly improved a coin's condition. Especially if there is PVC or adhesive damage from previous improper storage. Harsh chemicals can strip away a coin's patina and luster, and damage the surface - significantly reducing the coin's value. This is where prevention goes a long way. Even though coins are made of metal, their surfaces are very delicate. If you store a coin in a holder that has fingerprints or other foreign reagents on its surface, those reagents will continue to react with the coin in storage.

5) Work over something soft.
Use a clean, thick, lint-free cloth to examine coins over - to protect the coins from accidental drops. As indicated below, I prefer thick, cotton diapers (unused, of course).

6) Use 'canned air'.
Do not talk over or blow directly on coins. Saliva is deadly to coin surfaces, even in tiny amounts. It's almost an involuntary response to blow that piece of lint off your coin, but using an air duster, or 'canned air', works best.

7) Don't broadcast.
Avoid displaying your coins (I know that is tempting), or talking about your coins with friends, family, or neighbors. The fewer people that know you own coins, the better.

8) Don't broadcast.
Avoid reading coin periodicals, etc. in public, for the same reason.

9) Keep track.
Maintain an inventory list, with photos if possible, for insurance and estate purposes. Some important information to include in the list, in addition to the obvious coin physical information/characteristics, would be:
    - Purchase Date
    - Purchase Price
    - Location, if you have several Safe Deposit Boxes
    - Catalog number, if available
    - Assigned unique ID numbers, will help identify identical coins: e.g. #1, #2, etc.

See Advanced Tools below for more information and suggestions.

10) [For U.S. only] Use coin folders for organization.
I learned later on that coin folders can be an easy, inexpensive way to help organize yourself. Coin folders can be an invaluable tool for assembling a series, as they do a great job of giving you a map or checklist of the chronolgy and existing variations and/or mintmarks that were produced. Plus, they provide some interesting facts and mintage statistics. You can either use them as intended by inserting your coins directly into the spaces provided; or if you would rather store more valuable series in flips or plastic holders, you can write annotations into the spaces. At a glance, you can see what you have already, and what you're missing.

The three most popular folder manufacturers are Harris (which have pictures of the coins on the outside), Littleton (green with gold lettering) and Whitman (blue).

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Here are some basic tools you will need to maintain your collection:

1) A Bank Safe Deposit Box (or two), probably on the large size. See above for description.

2) A Home Burglary-proof Safe. See above for description.

3) A Post Office Box for receiving coins and coin-related periodicals by mail.

4) Silicate for inside both your safe and bank safe deposit box.

5) A pair (or two) of white cotton gloves.

6) A thick, soft, lint-free cloth for examining coins over, in case a coin jumps out of you hands.
(I recommend a few real cotton diapers, unused of course).

7) A pair of rubber-tipped coin tongs. Great for placing coins in cardboard/mylar 2x2s.

8) A magnifying class, preferrably at least a 5x power, with LED.
(sounds expensive, but I found that Wal-Mart has a perfect rectangular slide-open version in the optical section for ~$9.95. This is more expensive than the Whitman 10x, but this offers a much larger view window)

9) Several sizes (quarter, half-dollar, silver dollar, and silver eagle) of 2x2 cardboard holders that you staple together. These are cheap and very good medium-term protection from the elements and hands. Plus, you can write notes and info. directly on the outside.

10) A flat-staple stapler (or pliers to crimp normal staples flat). Normal staples can scratch coins that are stacked together. Picture shown is Max Flat Clinch, but I also own a Swingline version. After trying these I threw out all my other staplers and use these for everything.

11) 'Canned Air', aka a Compressed Air Duster, used to blow off lint and debris from your coins. Never blow off lint with your mouth or talk over your coins. Follow all directions and precautions indicated on the product.

12) An inert container to store you 2x2 cardboard-holdered coins in your safe-deposit box. The best option, if you can find them, are Intercept Shield boxes. Intercept Shield boxes (and collectible bags) are lined with copper, which reacts with any gases BEFORE they can eat at your coins. Other inert containers by Whitman (blue plastic) will also suit, because they fit 2x2 cardboard holders perfectly and come with removeable dividers. You can fit the whitman blue boxes inside Intercept Shield boxes. Avoid paper or cardboard boxes, such as shoe boxes or photo boxes (which I would also avoid for photos unless they specifically say "archival" and/or acid-free).

13) If you don't want to use boxes, I find the Harris brown plastic generic albums work well, especially when you want to keep specific groups of coins together. They come in two sizes and hold 2x2 cardboard holders, 60 or 80 slots. I would also keep these albums in larger Intercept Shield boxes, and the Intercept Shield "keepsake boxes" would hold several Harris albums.

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1) A 10x magnifier. Whitman makes a very nice, super small sliding led magnifier. This is actually cheaper than the above 5x, but the window is much smaller. The best would be to have both.

2) A small digital scale, specific for coins. One with a plastic cover, and auto-off feature is better.

3) A mm caliper, either digital or physical sliding-type, that measures both outside and inside dimensions. If you have a choice, plastic would be preferred in case it slips against the coin.

4) Some variation of inert plastic holders for more expensive coins. Some popular manufacturers are AirTite, Guardhouse, Lighthouse, etc. Of course, It doesn't make sense to spend $2 on a plastic holder for a coin worth $1.75 and cardboard/mylar 2x2s should work fine for those. I have tried many different plastic holders and the following are my humble observations:

    a) AirTites are great but being round and having many sizes can cause some storage issues, they are very expensive, and there is no extra room for labeling. Years with no toning!

    b) Guardhouse 2x2 plastic holders are a nice product, but again not much room for labeling. The advantage I've found with Guardhouse 2x2 plastic holders over Lighthouse 2x2 plastic holders (which look virtually identical) is that Guardhouse holders have far fewer scratches out of the box. I ended up throwing most of the Lighthouse plastic holders out. Years with no toning!

    Ken from offered the following dimensions for Guardhouse holders:
    Cent – 19mm
    Nickel – 21.2 mm
    Quarter – 24.3 mm
    Small Dollar – 26 mm
    Half Dollar – 30.6 mm
    Large Dollar- 38 mm
    Silver Round - 39 mm
    ASE – 40 mm

    c) I have ordered some new Lighthouse Intercept 2x2 holders and look forward to seeing them in action (hopefully inaction). The new Lighthouse Intercept holders come in a range of sizes from 16mm to 41mm in 1mm increments. Hopefully the foam insert will accommodate the "in-between" coins. So far, they have not had many scratches like the normal holders and I have not discarded any.

    d) I am revising this section, having recently inspected some stored coins that have been in Coin World Premiere holders for between 6 & 12 months, EVERY coin has signs of slight (some more) edge toning. Scandalous! A few coins I consider ruined. Obviously I have taken all the precuations described herein, so I am quite surprised, dissapointed, and puzzled as to the cause. All holdered-coins have been stored in binders with Littleton Anti-Corrosion pages and silicate. I recommend NOT using CW Premiere Holders and removing any coins you have stored in them immediately.

My favorite holders have been CoinWorld Premier plastic holders. Guardhouse holders are a little cheaper, but the advantages of CW Premier holders are: 1) they are the same size as PCGS holders so you can store certified coins in the same way as your uncertified coins; 2) I have found almost no scratches on any of the holders out of the box; and 3) there is plenty of room for labeling. You can get CW Premier holders for about $.99, sold in packs of 3 from They come with labels, but

I use my 10-year-old Brother handheld P-Touch Labeler. It can create very small labels (with some scissors) which will fit in the bottom corners of Guardhouse and Lighthouse holders.

Again, Guardhouse would be my number one choice, but they do not have as many sizes as Lighthouse, and Lighthouse is a European brand so they may be easier to obtain than Guardhouse. Guardhouse # 1. Lighthouse # 2. Air-Tites # 3.

I label the outside for the following reasons:
    1) These particular labels stay on until you take the off, which is easy
    2) I can change or update info. when needed without removing the coin
    3) I don't want the label material, adhesive and print locked away inside with the coin
    4) The coin is not permanently sealed, and you can reuse the outside and inside.

5) For larger groups of similar coins, I recommend either Numis or CoinSafe square tubes. They have a good seal and since they are square, they don't roll. They are also easily labeled on the outside or top for quick identification.

6) Some kind of database or catalog to track your coin purchases and sales. I use Microsoft Access (database), but LibreOffice is a free document suite that includes a database, along with a word processor, spreadsheet, etc. There are also commercial programs available that are specific to coins (graded photo examples, price estimates, etc.). Additionally, there are several coin websites that allow you to keep track of your collection online, with current market prices. Pen and paper works too. As mentioned above in Tips #9, this is important for insurance purposes and estate planning. Also see above Tips #9 for recommended data fields. Databases can also provide queries, which sort information based on criteria - such as "display all coins from Austria, or Mozart, etc."