Coin Collecting Supplies
Published on 11/2/2020 by APMEX
Coin collectors require specialized supplies to take care of their collection. From storage to examination to protection, each collector or numismatist has a list of items they consider essential. You may not know exactly what to buy if you’re just getting started in the hobby. What coin collecting supplies do you need to have on hand?
One of the most helpful tools for seeing fine details on a coin is a magnifier or jeweler’s loupe. If you’re going to get into the hobby of coin collecting seriously, you’re going to want to be able to examine coins on a much finer level of detail than you can with the naked eye. A magnifier is one of the best ways to do this.
A jeweler’s loupe is handy if you want to keep your hands free, and a pocket magnifier is another excellent tool for seeing the small details that could separate a coin in grade. Even a basic magnifying glass will give you a little extra help.
Gloves and Cloths
Your skin produces natural oils that will discolor coins or paper currency over time if they’re handled without something between your fingers and the coin. Soft cotton gloves or cloths are a great way to keep those oils from touching coins. For lower-grade specimens, it may not matter as much, but for your high-grade Brilliant Uncirculated or Proof coins, improper handling can degrade them over time. Keep your hands away from reactive surfaces with gloves.
Capsules, Holders and Flips
Capsules, holders and flips are crucial coin collecting supplies. Keeping a coin free of degradation requires proper storage as well as proper handling, and these storage items are designed to do that.
Capsules are explicitly designed for a single size of a coin and are airtight, so that coin isn’t exposed to the elements. They are purchasable in many different types to fit any coin. Some holders are round, while others are square and look like the “slabs” used by the major grading services like PCGS and NGC.
Currency holders are explicitly designed for currency and are usually either a sleeve or a two-piece hard plastic holder that keeps currency safe. Some are specifically designed for display, while others are more useful for archival.
A flip is a small plastic envelope that holds a coin. Often they are combined with an acid-free paper insert as well. These are often individual but sometimes come in larger sheets.
With any of these items (particularly flips), you’re going to want to check and make sure they are unplasticized if you’re going to use them for long-term storage. Some are designed for coin dealers who want to display a product for a brief period, not long-term archival. PVC holders can damage coins over the long term and cause a buildup of crud and scum on the surface, particularly for Silver or Copper coins.
Be careful using older holders or flips you have lying around, too. If you don’t know what the material is, it’s better to get new flips. It’s not worth ruining a coin when you could spend a couple of bucks and get flips that will actually protect your coins.