How to take care of collectible coins: expert tips & tricks
For both experienced numismatists and enthusiasts of this extraordinary hobby, collectible coins mean not only a treasure of special monetary value, but also the joy of caring for unique precious metal objects of artistic significance. However, taking proper care of a coin collection requires certain knowledge and skills: it is important to understand that the condition of coins can have a decisive influence on their final value. The production technologists at the Lithuanian Mint share tips on how to take care of your coin collection. By following these recommendations, you can be sure that your collection will retain not only its physical characteristics, but also its historical value, and will be in perfect condition, so that you can enjoy your coins for years to come, and even pass them on to another generation.
Where and how to store the collection?
In order to minimise their exposure to ever-changing environmental conditions, the coins should be stored in their original packaging (transparent capsules, presentation boxes, etc), while the coin collection itself should be kept in a room with a temperature of 18 °C to 23 °C and a relative humidity of 45 % to 55 %. We do not recommend storing coins in a damp, poorly ventilated, unheated room, such as a cellar / basement, and it is important not to place coins on hot surfaces or near strong heat sources, such as heating boilers or radiators. It is important to realise that temperature fluctuations, humidity, dust and air pollution all contribute to the oxidation of metal surfaces.
As some of the metals and alloys used in the production of coins are not resistant to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and mechanical damage, we also advise against removing collectible coins from their capsules (if it is needed, one should put them back in as soon as possible), as the surface and shape of the coins may be accidentally damaged by scratches, bumps, etc. This reduces the numismatic value of the piece.
If you have purchased a collectible coin without a protective capsule, or if the capsule is broken, you will find special stands for coins and medals on our eshop.
How to clean and maintain coins?
If you do have to take the coins out of their capsules or special inserts, make sure to wear special gloves for jewellery and precious metals, and always take the coins only by their edges. To avoid physical or chemical damage, do not place coins on bare palms, glass, rubber, plastic, leather or other hard, dirty or wet surfaces:
- Silver and silver alloy products are particularly sensitive to human sweat and surroundings that contain sulphur or chlorine compounds – it can darken the surface of the product after contact.
- Mercury and its salts, which can be found in cosmetics, are very harmful to gold and gold-plated items – it can cause white spots on the surface of coins affected by such substances.
It is important to remember that moderation is an integral part of care. Avoid cleaning coins (or any other precious metal objects) too often, as even cleaning can damage the surface and reduce the value of the piece. Clean your coins only when it is actually necessary, use a soft cloth and a cleaning solution made for precious metals to remove all dirt and oxidative deposits. Never use abrasives or other harsh chemicals that can damage the surface of the coins, and avoid rubbing, which can leave scratches or bumps.
You can get special cleaning cloths, wipes, gloves and cleaning solutions suitable for collectible coins at jewellery stores.
Don’t forget to keep records
One of the greatest joys for any numismatist is enjoying the collection of coins they have amassed. In fact, that has practical benefits, too: keep records of all the coins you have acquired, including the date of purchase, condition, value at the time of purchase and other relevant data. Updating information, such as changes in the value of the coin on the secondary market, will allow you to keep track of the general value of your collection over time, and regular maintenance will help to ensure that all your coins are in excellent condition. In addition, the catalogue of the collection will make it quicker and easier to assess which coins are missing, for example, in the event of theft.
As you can see, proper care and maintenance of coins are essential if you want to enjoy your collection for many years. By following our recommendations and using the right tools, you can ensure that your collectible coins remain in the same condition as when you bought them. By storing your coins properly and taking the time to care for them regularly, you will be guaranteed that your collection can be enjoyed by future generations of your family. Good luck with your collection!