Posted on February 15, 2021
Whether you buy precious metals for their investment potential or because you love collecting, storage should be top of your mind. Choosing the right storage solution can protect your precious assets against environmental damage and theft. Learn more about your storage options so you can find the right one for your collection.
What Are the Different Ways Bullion, Proofs and Coins Could Be Stored?
Your storage choices vary, depending on the form your precious metals take. Discover the most common options for your collection.
New proof coins typically come in their own protective storage cases. Keeping your proof coins in these cases protects them from fingerprints and the elements. If you buy a second-hand proof coin without a case, you could use one of the standard coin storage options.
There are several common coin storage solutions, each with their own advantages and disadvantages:
- Cardboard 2x2s: These cardboard containers are affordable, compact and easily labeled. However, the plastic can create spotting and toning, and the staples can scratch coins.
- Coin flips: These are also cheap and easily labeled. However, they're not airtight, so there can be some environmental damage. Coins can also develop micro-scratches as they slide around inside the pouches. PVC coin flips can also decompose and leave green marks on coins .
- Slabs: These sonically sealed hard plastic holders offer exceptional long-term protection. However, their high price can be a barrier for some people with large collections .
- Coin folders: Folders help you store and organize your coin collection. Most have just three or four pages, so they're meant for smaller collections. Folders only show one side of the coin, which can be disappointing for people who enjoy admiring their coins. They also expose coins to fingerprints and the atmosphere. Some are also made from materials with trace elements that can damage coins .
- Coin albums: Like folders, coin albums are storage and organization solutions. A protective plastic insert covers both sides of the coin, which are both easily viewable. Albums are perfect for larger coin collections, as some can hold up to 200 coins at a time. As with folders, albums made from poor-quality materials can also degrade coins.
As bullion takes several different forms, there are a variety of storage options for these pieces. Large quantities of bullion come in monster boxes. These hard, thick plastic boxes are usually sold sealed to keep the elements away from their contents. That makes them the perfect place for storing bullion coins or bars. Some dealers sell empty monster boxes that collectors can use for storing smaller bullion quantities.
If you buy a smaller quantity of bullion, especially from pre-loved bullion, you might consider another storage option. You can store bullion coins like regular coins. There are also special airtight plastic bullion holders for bullion bars. While these are very effective, like coin slabs, they can be expensive.
What Environmental Conditions Are Ideal?
Precious metals need the right environmental conditions to continue looking their best. Finding the right environment isn't too difficult. If you feel comfortable somewhere, your precious metal collection should too. The ideal storage environment for your bullion, proofs and other coins should have:
- Low humidity. Copper and silver, present in many coins, reacts to moisture and causes an effect called toning . Store your precious metals with silica gel pouches to reduce moisture in the air .
- Stable mild temperatures. Heat speeds up the time it takes for other environmental factors to degrade metals. Cold can also damage the coin surface. A stable temperature that is not too hot or too cold is ideal.
- A non-acidic atmosphere. Acids from wood furniture, cleaning solutions and cooking can enter the atmosphere and cause toning and tarnish. Certain storage solutions are also acidic. Choose your storage option carefully to prevent this damage.
- Clean air. A variety of air pollutants can damage coins, so the ideal storage environment should be free of chemicals and toxins.
How Does Security Work for Storing Bullion?
Collectors and investors want to know their collections are safe from thieves. That's why many people prefer storing their bullion, proofs and other coins outside their home in purpose-built facilities. These are some of the more secure options for your precious metal collection and how they work:
- Safe deposit boxes: Individual locked boxes in secure vaults at banks and other facilities offer two layers of protection. Each box has two locks; you keep one key, and the facility keeps the other.
- Private vaults: Another off-site storage option, private vaults are often more accessible than safe deposit boxes. Many have online or pin code protection to help people access their collections outside regular business hours.
What Other Considerations Should Consumers Keep in Mind?
Consider these other points when storing your precious metal collection:
- Store silver and gold separately. Gold is soft and can scratch near harder silver. Silver can scratch and tarnish near gold .
- Check the insurance policy. Safe deposit boxes and private vaults typically have insurance policies that cover the assets in their care. However, these policies are not created equally. Examine the details of any third-party insurance policy to make sure the coverage limit is high enough for your collection.
- Be discreet about your collection's whereabouts. The more people that know where you store your collection, the more at risk it is. It's a good idea to tell just one trusted person where your collection is, so they can retrieve it if anything happens to you.
While it can be difficult to give up the control that comes with keeping your precious metals at home, that is rarely the best solution. The storage options above can help investors and collectors keep their precious metals safe and in good condition.
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