Handling a Coin

Whether you’re an investor looking for a safe store of wealth, or a collector building a numismatic catalog, properly handling your gold, silver, platinum and palladium coins is critical to building and maintaining the value of your collection.

Coins with contact marks, evidence of cleaning, rim blemishes or worn features for example can decrease in value - significantly in some cases!

This is especially true for numismatic coins, proof sets and brilliant uncirculated sets. These coins and sets are often of low mintage and purchased for their historical/collector value, any blemish can reduce their value a great deal. For example, some proof and brilliant uncirculated sets come with a mirror-like finish that if damaged, can drastically reduce the coins value.

Bullion coins like the American Gold Eagle also require careful handling and proper storage. If you store your coins in a container made of PVC for example, a material that decomposes when reacting to heat and light, the substance that is released (hydrochloric acid) will eventually eat away at the metal in your coins and diminish their resale value.

Gold coins are very soft and can be easily damaged. As metals go, gold is extremely malleable so the higher the coin’s purity, the greater the need for proper handling. It does however make sense to get in the habit of handling all your gold coins with care, regardless of purity.

With 90% junk silver coins, a collector needn’t bother quite as much with proper handling etiquette. While these silver quarters, dimes and half-dollars do have the potential to tarnish, their value is primarily derived from metal content and not condition.

Here are some basic rules that will help you preserve the condition and luster of your coins!

6 Rules for Proper Coin Handling

  1. Always handle your coins by the edges, never by the face. Dirt and oils from your hand will tarnish the coin’s surface.
  2. Wash your hand or use hand sanitizer before handling your coins. Dirt, and especially oil from your hand, can cause coins to decay. Clean, sanitized hands are free of damaging oils.
  3. When handling your coins, lay a soft towel or thick (…but soft) cloth on the table where you’re working. If you drop the coin you’re handling, this will ensure a soft landing.
  4. Never breathe on your coin’s surface and never, ever use saliva to clean the surface of a coin. Occasionally a coin owner may think saliva is a safe coin cleaning agent…..not true.
  5. Only handle your coins when absolutely necessary. The best defense against damaging your coins is to keep them properly stored away.
  6. Keep coins stored in a cool, dry place. Excessive heat and moisture can lead to corrosion.</li>

Speaking of storage, this is where your coins will be 99.9% of the time. Many coins today come to you in a plastic sleeve. Larger orders may even be delivered in a plastic capsule or holder, which can serve as a good storage vessel for your investment(s).

Coin albums and flip books are a good way to store lower valued coins but they’re not completely airtight…moisture in the air in fact can discolor your coins over the long term.

For more valuable coins in your collection, consider using air tights or a coin slab, which is a hard plastic case usually reserved for coins that have been graded by a third-party firm like the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).

Cruise on over to the coin supplies section to find the right coin storage option for your needs. You will find all the tools you need to affordably inspect, maintain and store your coins and more!

If you have any further questions about properly handling your coins or if you’re ready to place an order for any gold, silver, platinum, palladium or copper, please visit our main site anytime or call us weekdays at (800) 313-3315.