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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

HISTORY OF COIN CARE

How Coins are Preserved and Protected
2x2 E-Z Self Seal Coin Holders from the 1960s.
Photo courtesy Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez.

Alot has changed in the hobby of coin collecting over the past several decades, including how we store coins. We’ve come a long way over the last century. In the 1920s, most coin collectors were still storing their coins in small paper envelopes, while wealthier collectors organized their coins in beautiful coin cabinets. These ornate wooden coin cabinets were, for their time, among the most protective and organized methods of storing coins.

Even today, some collectors still prefer storing their coins in cabinets, at least for temporary display purposes in special private or public exhibitions.

Over the past 10 decades, we’ve learned a lot about preserving coins. One of the many things we’ve discovered is that coin cabinets – as beautiful as they are – do not represent the safest method for storing coins. The design of the typical cabinet leaves coins vulnerable to contaminants in the air, as well as in the wood of the cabinet. What’s more, countless coins stored in these cabinets have been notoriously damaged by being stored in the drawer trays that are slid in and out of the cabinet. Many numismatists still refer to the light rub seen on the high points of many classic coins as “cabinet friction.”

Meanwhile, paper envelopes have also proven unsafe for a multitude of reasons. Among these are the flow of air in and out of the envelopes, friction imparted on the high points by sliding coins in and out of the envelopes, and chemical reactions caused by the sulfur, glues, and other corrosive agents in the paper.

In the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, we saw the arrival and eventual dominance of coin boards, folders, and albums. Many of these products are quite aesthetically attractive and represented a more economical way to store and organize coins than either coin cabinets or paper envelopes could afford.

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About COINage

CoinAge June 2019, Detecting the Newest & Best Fake Coins, Ruined & Rescued : Wildfire Coins Restored, Coin Collecting through the Ages, And More....