My original article got very long, so I decided to break it up. I don't want you to lose interest.
Say No To Chemicals
Paper envelopes, plastic PVC flips. These are cheap ways to store your coins. Don't. Spend the extra bit of money to get better quality products. Paper was not created to store coins in and will release chemicals onto your coins over time if they are stored in paper envelopes. The chemicals will cause unattractive toning, discoloration, and spotting. Paper can easily turn a great mint state coin into a disaster. PVC can often be worse. If you've ever seen that disgusting green slime on the surface of a coin, that's PVC, polyvinyl chloride damage. The chemicals in certain plastics will leech out and damage the coins over time. Storing coins in PVC flips is generally fine for a short period of time, but once you keep them in there longer, it will be damaged forever and will be ungradable by the grading services and you will find it difficult to find a buyer, even at a significantly reduced price.
Don't Talk When Your Coins Are Out
Something that is done way too often is talking when coins are out of their holders. Your mouth is filled with saliva, which is released from your mouth and will land on the coins. At that points, the coin will begin to spot, change color, and create unattractive toning. Mint state and proof coins are destroyed all the time by talking. For a personal example, when I was much younger (I've learned a lot since then), I was looking at a Franklin Half Dollar I have. I then sneezed all over the coin! I was very freaked out and quickly tried to carefully wipe it off. It looked like it worked, but, interestingly enough, after a couple months, a couple dark spots appeared on the coin. Fortunately, this is a circulated common-date Franklin Half Dollar worth only a small premium above spot, but still, I am still upset I ruined a coin.
Store Your Coins Properly
Another common mistake when it comes to protecting a collection is coin storage. Keep your coins in a controlled environment, with minimal temperature and humidity changes. If you keep your collection in a log cabin in northern Michigan or Minnesota where it is only heated occasionally for trips, that's a bad idea. It's also a bad idea to put coins in attics or basements. Many people recommend using silica to help protect the coins from the humidity. Intercept Technology is a great way to protect your coins from tarnishing and destruction. A great way to protect your coins is to have them all slabbed and “sonically sealed” by a professional grading service like PCGS or NGC. You can put them in a dark, dry safe with silica in an Intercept Technology storage box. That way, your coins are safe from burglary, fire, and, most of all, the environment.
Breaking Coins Out Of Slabs
Should you break coins out of slabs? Well, the answer depends. My recommendation is no, but some people have reasons to. Some collectors are absolutely against breaking coins out of slabs, while others do it all the time. Some people like having the raw coins and only buy slabbed coins because 1.) that's what is available or 2.) they like to know it's genuine and authentic, but would rather put them in an album, like the Dansco 7070 album. If you do break coins out of slabs, be sure to be careful to avoid damaging the coin and also…and this is extremely important…send the broken slab back to the grading company!! People often send coins in for regrading and each time that happens, the population number for the coin is increased in the database. By sending the slab back, it tells them that the coin is no longer considered in that population and can be removed. The company will not be mad at you for breaking it out, but rather be grateful that you took the time to help make the population and price reports as accurate as possible.