If you enjoy collecting rare or valuable coins and currency, then preserving the value of the collection is one of your highest priorities. Incorrect storage and handling can damage coins or harm fragile paper bills, drastically reducing their trade value in the coin market.

As you acquire more and more valuable pieces to your collection, you need to consider the safety and overall quality of each piece. Follow these guidelines to make sure that each coin or paper bill you have stays in the best condition possible.

Storing Coins and Paper Currency

Because coins are metal, many people can make the mistake of thinking they are indestructible. However, collectible coins, especially those that are very old, can easily become damaged if they are carelessly stored. Paper is even more vulnerable. For this reason, you need to take precautions against elements that cause damage.


Can moisture harm a metal coin? Some metals are actually very susceptible to degradation as they are consistently exposed to moisture. Copper coins, for example, develop a patina and etching in the presence of water, and silver coins can also begin to lose some of their definition.

To help reduce moisture around your coin collection, protect each coin inside a sleeve. Sleeves can be made from paper or plastic, but it’s important that the plastic sleeves are hard plastic, with cushioning for the coin. Vinyl-based or PVC flip coin storers can ruin your coins over time, and moisture and heat only speed up the process.

Paper bills might be packed with moisture absorbers to keep them dry.

Keep coins out of naturally humid places like the basement or the attic. Instead, keep your collection in a secure safe in a room that has humidity control. The main level of your own home is usually at a good level of interior humidity because of modern climate control.


Acid is another substance that can affect metal coins and paper bills. Many cardboard or paper holders for coins are not suitable because they are not acid free. Try to look for products that are made especially for collectible coins. Paper pages for storing currency should be acid-free and preservation grade.

Never store coins or bills inside a regular envelope as these usually are processed with acidic chemicals that can affect the quality of rare or delicate coins.

Extreme Temperatures

Very hot and very cold temperatures increase the stress on metal objects. The metal expands and contracts with every change in temperature. For some more modern or resilient coins, the fluctuations will do little harm. However, when you have a coin that is several hundred years old, you want to use extreme caution.

Keep collections out of utility rooms. Do not store them in an unheated storage unit or in the trunk of a car. If you do not have reliable air conditioning in your home, then you may want to keep your collection in a bank security box for better temperature management.

Scratches and Marring

The way you store and handle your coins and paper bills should minimize any chance of adding additional imperfections to the coins you have. The more pristine the coin or bill, the more value it will maintain.

So, if you use staples to hold smaller paper inserts together, keep staples away from exposed coins as they may leave scratches. Try not to store two coins together in a hard case, as they can bump against each other, causing abrasions and nicks.

Never tack down a paper bill because you risk tearing the paper if you remove it.


Generally, you should always speak with a coin assessor or collecting professional before you clean any coin in your collection. Sometimes, cleaning a coin can reduce its value or harm its design. If possible, get your collection professionally cleaned instead of cleaning it yourself.

Of course, you can easily clean some coins at home, but you want to make sure it is safe to do so, especially if the coin is valuable. Never scrub with a brush or towel. Don’t soak a coin in cleanser without more information about the most effective cleaning method so you can protect the coin’s value.

Collection Safety

Finally, a collection represents a significant investment. You need to take certain precautions for safety against theft and natural disasters. You might consider:

  • Insuring your collection independently. Home insurance might not cover the value of your collection if it is lost or stolen.
  • Storing your collection away from home. As mentioned above, a bank safety box can sometimes a better place to keep coins. Home fires and flooding are real dangers, and your entire collection could be compromised as a result.
  • Bolting down the safe. When you do keep coins at home, consider a burglar-proof safe over a fireproof one, and bolt it to the floor. If a safe is bolted down, then a burglar can’t just remove the entire safe from the house in the event of a break in.

For more information, contact our team at Rocky Mountain Coin. We’re always selling unique, valuable coins for you to add to your collection. Call us today to learn more.