By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for CoinWeek.com ……
For arsenic long as there have been Proof coins, there have been collectors trying to preserve them. Proof coins, which are much strike more than once ( at least doubly ) on polished planchets by specially train dies, are specifically designed to be appreciated and are not intended for use in general circulation .
During the 19th and early twentieth centuries ( the early years of Proof coin production in the United States ), it was presumably much more unmanageable to spare these collector coins from the damage that can ruin their beautiful, crispen surfaces. Proof coins are authentic magnets for fingerprints, spots, haze and early undesirable surface issues.
Damaged Proof coins are typically known as impaired Proofs, and they are normally worth only a bare fraction of the Gem or Brilliant Proof coins representative of the prototype of Proof coin quality. Of course, not all Proof coins boast brilliant surfaces – a point well exemplified by the Matte Proof coins normally struck during the 19th and early twentieth centuries. even without fragile, mirror-like devices and fields, these Matte Proofs are easily susceptible to visible damage and are no less sensitive to mishandling than their bright Proof counterparts .
While early Proof coins weren ’ triiodothyronine in the first place preserved in cellophane envelopes or rigid plastic cases ( as has been the case since the modern Proof coin era began in the United States in 1936 ), there are still enough of stunning Proof survivors from that earlier period. conversely, there are countless impair modern Proofs that have been damaged due to mishandling, improper storage, or other forms of disregard .
One can thank the meticulous numismatic stewards of previous generations for the gorgeous early proof coins that exist nowadays .
Educating Collectors on Proper Storage
Keeping Proof coins well preserved seems to elude some collectors, in share due to circumstantial storage situations but in other cases due to a simple miss of cognition on the subject. The United States Mint has worked to educate its proof coin customers on how best to preserve their purchases. For exercise, in the early 1960s, the U.S. Mint packaged its Proof sets with a paper insert bearing the following care instructions :
This package was designed to prevent or delay tarnish and discoloration. Nevertheless preferably or subsequently tarnishing may occur. Care in handling and storing will help to prolong the newly minted luster of the coins. Heat and send sunlight are particularly harmful .
By the early 1990s, the United States Mint included the play along, more specific repositing recommendations :
To preserve the beauty of your Proof coin set storehouse in a cool, dry space .
Condensing this couple of instructions down into a unmarried arrange of guidelines, one would surmise that the optimum condition for Proof set storage is a cool, dry placement away from conduct sunlight. Yet the proper storage of Proof coins, not to mention collectible coins in general, is much more complex than these apparently bare instructions may suggest. Pollutants, temperature division and physical handle of the coins are all volatile variables that can affect how well your proof coins fare over the long term .
Having said that, yes, a cool, dry set away from direct sunlight is an ideal location for storing your proof coins. This can mean storing them in a vault, a safe, a cabinet, or some other alike structure tucked away from exposure to inflame and intense light. The extra circumstance of keeping coins in a dry localization besides implies they should be kept in a climate-controlled environment. therefore, storage in an loft, basement, garage, commercial memory unit–or even a amateur fomite such as a camper–could increase the risk of environmental damage to Proof coins .
But there ’ south still a lot more to the proper storage of Proof coins than tied these recommendations require. Unsurprisingly, thorough address of the write out would credibly necessitate that the Mint exit an entire booklet of care instructions. Of course, that isn ’ t probably to be feasible due to package space constraints and production costs. even if care booklets were included with Proof sets, one wonders how many people would actually read them from binding to cover .
indeed, a lack of education in the field of Proof neologism preservation may be one reason why countless millions of once brainy, gorgeous Proofs have become spotted, brumous, or otherwise lackluster in appearance. But collector negligence international relations and security network ’ t the only rationality why thus many show signs of damage .
There are ten thousand uncontrollable factors, besides, including humidity and air pollutants. For exercise, mint collectors in Florida experience oppressive vent humidity on an annual basis from the months of May through October. Hobbyists living in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on all sides and therefore must contend with the salty sea vent. In Los Angeles, California, systematically high levels of air pollution can wreak havoc on coins .
There are besides concealed problems on some Proof coins that misfortunate collectors don ’ thymine lawsuit themselves but merely inherit. For example, milk spots are ill-famed on Proof American Silver Eagles, and these blotchy white patches are attributed to a detergent residue leftover from planchet training. These white spots can appear months or years after the coin was minted, regardless of whether the mint is stored in its original government holder, a third-party attest slab, or a vacuum-sealed vault in the arid of deserts .
Another issue plaguing mint collectors is festering damage from exposure to polyvinylchloride, or PVC. many early and mod individual Proof coins have been stored in aftermarket flips, albums and holders laced with the destructive fictile agent. Often, PVC wrong shows up long after the coin ’ s exposure to the chemical ; a collector may unwittingly buy a coin that was once exposed to PVC lone to find the coin acquiring the revealing, irreversible signs of its wrath, including sea foam park patches or cloudy haze across the come on years subsequently .
Expert Tips on How to Preserve Proof Coins
“ The Mint ’ s recommendations [ as listed on the Proof fix inserts ] are great, ” says Richard Montgomery, president of Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC). indeed, a cool, dry placement aside from direct exposure to sunlight is a key component in preserving Proof coins.
Read more: How to send your Coin Master link?
But Montgomery says there are several other keys to keeping Proof coins in the best condition, including environmental consistency .
“ Constancy in temperature is significant. You very don ’ thyroxine want big swings in temperature, because that can have an effect on the alloy. ”
What about the holders ? What should Proof coins be stored in ?
“ Original Mint holders are very good, particularly the modern ones, ” Montgomery comments .
And as for the older cellophane flatpacks of the 1950s and ’ 60s ? “ They keep the coins properly safe and are credibly reasonably inert. ”
He says advance 21st-century holders could help better preserve those older Proof coins .
“ But that ’ s the contrarian trouble, ” he adds. “ The collector believes if they see a Proof coin in its master holder that it ’ sulfur worth more, but that holder may not be the best environment for the coin. ”
One could therefore draw the decision that the Proof sets left in their original holders are surely adequate, specially if they are undamaged, and that the coins will probable be precisely fine if they are not removed. however, for Proof coins that have been removed from their master holders or those that are already sold as singles, Montgomery says inert Mylar flips are good for dependable, cheap storage .
Holders are an crucial circumstance in the safe repositing of Proof coins, but sol is the environment around the holder. exposure to air pollutants is a long-familiar cause of countless surface issues. But what may not be arsenic well understand is what precisely qualifies as a pollutant, a category that includes several elements common to many households .
One of the most nefarious ? tobacco products .
“ Smoke can seep into coin holders, particularly loosen flips, ” explains Montgomery. “ [ Tobacco smoke ] can besides be a trouble if coins stored in holders or albums are removed for viewing in the home. ”
other common family pollutants include cleaners, cable car exhaust in or near garages, and naturally occurring land chemicals like sulphur that may be found in or around basements .
“ It ’ s truly important that Proof coins, or in truth any coins, be kept in a clean environment, ” he stresses. “ ampere long as the air is cleanse, the coins should fare well. ”
The use of dehumidifiers and air purifiers in the home can help toward this conclusion. Montgomery besides says collectors should do their best to keep their coins in a stable set.
“ possibly they should merely keep their coins with their wine in the cellar, ” he chuckles .
barely don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate keep the coins in the wine .