How to Protect My Rare Coin Collection
Your rare coin collection is something you should be proud of. It is likely part of your "nest egg." You have spent some of your hard-earned money to build a unique and impressive coin collection, so it is important that you keep it safe. Coin collectors spend years or even decades putting together collections that often have pieces that simply cannot be replaced. It is difficult to build an impressive coin collection, but it is very easy to lose it if you do not protect it. Let's make sure your Morgan Dollars, Peace Dollars, American Silver Eagles, and other coins are in good hands. Here are some of the best practices to help you protect your collection and investment.
Rare coins are a type of art. We all know that much of the value of coins comes from their history and aesthetic appeal. This is why a Morgan Silver Dollar may trade for many times over the melt value of silver or a $20 Saint Gaudens for a premium over melt gold. It is important to keep your coins in the same shape that you bought them in.
Rule #1: Never "clean" your coins. Many people are tempted to try to remove a blemish or maybe some dirt off of a coin. What you may not know, is that improperly cleaning a coin will devalue the piece more than a little mark or dirt will. Improperly cleaning rare coins can remove the original "skin" from a coin which takes away from its luster. True coin collectors want original coins, even if that means it has a few blemishes. For example, a $100,000 Morgan Silver Dollar could be devalued by 2-3x if it is improperly cleaned. If you simply can not stand a blemish or mark on one of your coins, your best bet is to send it to PCGS or NGC, two of the leading 3rd party grading services in the numismatic industry, to be professionally conserved. Rather than decreasing the value of your coin, this process will increase the value of your coin. Although not all coins can be conserved, the services are well known for doing a great job. They are often known for removing "milk spots" from American Silver Eagles and improving the eye appeal of other coins.
Rule #2: Wear gloves! A pair of cotton gloves, that could be purchased for just a few dollars, could help protect the value of your coin collection. Even if you wash your hands, your skin contains a certain level of oil than can be harmful to the surface of a coin. It is also important to only handle coins by their rims. This ensures that none of the important details come in contact with another surface. This rule only applies to ungraded coins.
Rule #3: Consider getting your coins graded by a third party grading service such as PCGS or NGC. Not only does this process ensure that your coin is authentic and assign an exact grade to your coin, but the holder that the coin is sealed in protects it from the elements.
Your rare coin collection is valuable. Whether its a few hundred dollars worth of American Silver Eagles and other Modern Coins or a few million dollars worth of classic rarities such as Morgan Silver Dollars and $20 Saint Gaudens, your collection should never be loose. The cost of a safe is much less than the cost of replacing your entire coin collection. Safes range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Use your judgement based on the value of your collection to determine how strong of a safe would suit your needs. Optimally, you want a safe than can not just be picked up and taken from your home. Consider buying a safe than is either too heavy to carry, or have it bolted into the floor. It is also important to make sure that you are not storing your coins in a room that has too much moisture, as it could cause certain metals, such as silver, to spot or tarnish.
An extra step rare coin collectors can take is to buy an insurance policy to protect the value of their coins in the event that they do get stolen. Often these policies are not too expensive and can give you peace of mind that you will be covered in the event of a theft. It is also important to consider insuring any packages that you ship that contain your coins. Insurance for your rare coins can be purchased through most shipping carriers. Keep in mind, a certain percentage of packages are stolen or lost in transit. You don't wan't this to be you.
A well organized rare collection is the best kind. It makes it easier to find what you are looking for and easier to make sure that all of your coins are still in your possession. It is also helpful to keep a log of the certification numbers on the slab of any certified rare coin you may own. This will help law enforcement potentially find your coin if it is stolen. Every certification number is unique, and it could lead to the discovery of a stolen coin if a thief tries to sell it. This will help you protect yourself from rare coin theft.
Keep It Quiet
This goes without being said; it may not be the best idea to go around town bragging about how much money you have sitting in coins. Many people are tempted to boast about their Morgan Dollar collection or newly purchased American Gold Eagle. Just keep in mind, the more people who know that you have these laying around the more of a chance that someone may become "curious." This is not to say that you can't show family and friends your coins and share your discoveries, but just be smart about it.
Whether you buy silver bullion, $20 Gold Coins, Silver Dollars or modern rare coins, these best practices could save you a lot of money and headache. If you have any questions about how to protect your rare coin or precious metal portfolio, feel free to give us a call at 516-739-5822 to speak with one of our numismatic experts.