How to display & store coins is something every collector must face and like holders there are many different solutions and each has its own appeal.
Coin Storage Devices
3 Ring Binder Coin Pages
Vinyl pocket pages that fit right into standard 3 ring or 3 D-ring binders that can purchased at most general merchandise or stationary stores.
Coin pages are quite popular amongst collectors due to their low cost, ease of use, and ability to accommodate cardboard or flip holders. Additionally, the pages come in a variety of sizes to handle different square holders; a 12 pocket page for 2.5x2.5 holders, a 20 pocket page for 2x2 holders, and a 30 pocket page for 1.5x1.5 holders.
Depending on weight and environmental conditions, pages can stretch, crack or wear over time causing holders to slip out. So be sure to inspect your pages once a year.
Like other products, pages are made by different suppliers and each to their own specifications. Below are a listing of some the types of pages available by supplier.
BCW Coin Pages
Advantages - Lowest cost of all suppliers (by as much as 50%).
Disadvantages - Pages are thin and tend to sag when using heavy coins. Pages can stretch, crack or wear over time causing holders to slip out (inspect annually). No thumb notch to easily remove coins.
Recommended Use - Use with coins that weigh 5 grams or less
Cost - 30 to 50 cents per page
Cowen Coin Pages
Advantages - Thicker vinyl pages allow for heaver denomination coins. Thumb notch available on each pocket making coin insertion and removal easy.
Disadvantages - Pages can stretch, crack or wear over time causing holders to slip out (inspect annually).
Recommended Use - Use with coins that weigh 27 grams or less.
Cost - 80 cents to $1 per page
Lead Dog Coin Pages
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Storage boxes offer the most space efficient means to store coins as boxes are typically narrow and easy to stack and can store a large number of coins. The disadvantage to using boxes is the ability to display coins as they have to be removed to be viewed.
Cardboard Coin Boxes
Description - Come in a variety of sizes (1, 2, or 3 rows) that can accommodate a variety of cardboard , flips, and even some hard plastic holders sizes (2.5x2.5, 2x2, or 1.5x1.5). Boxes are acid free and low sulfur to help reduce coin damage. Coin boxes also come in larger sizes to provide storage for mint sets, proof sets, or coin rolls.
Suppliers - Generic
Cost - ranges from $3 to $12 per box
Boxes for Slabbed Coins
Hard plastic boxes that can accommodate third party grading slabs from companies such as ANACS, PCGS, or NGC.
Suppliers - Whitman, PCGS, NGC, Intercept Shield
Cost - $8 to $15 per box
Standard Coin Albums
Haven't decided on a coin holder and need an alternative? How about a coin album. These are very popular amongst collectors as they provide an attractive presentation of coins in a nice leatherette bookshelf binder that on average measure 10 inches tall x 9 inches deep (the size of a standard hardcover book) that makes for easy storage on any bookshelf.
Coin albums are made from acid free cardboard pages with a bonded leatherette surface, pre-drilled holes and mylar slides to protect coins. To add coins to an album no holders are required, simply insert your coin into one of the sized holes (openings) and then slide a mylar sleeve between the cardboard and leatherette surface to protect the coin and you are done.
One general disadvantage to coin albums is that they can be limiting or out dated. Album suppliers attempt to project as far out as possible the years in which a coin will be produced but they can only forecast so far out. For special sets (like type sets), you are limited to whatever a supplier determines are the correct coins for a set, something you may not agree with.
Like other products, albums are made by different suppliers and each to their own specifications. Below are a listing of some the types of pages available by supplier.
Description - Most popular album among collectors. Readily available by most coin retailers. Albums come with an optional slipcase that also inhibits certain gases that can damage your coins.
Color - Album and slipcase are a brown leatherette while the pages are an off-white with black text.
Cost - $15 to $30 per album
Description - The oldest provider of coin albums in the U.S. Readily available at most coin retailers and bookstores. One disadvantage with Whitman albums is the lack of a slip case.
Color - Album and pages are a dark blue leatherette with black text.
Cost - $15 to $20 per album
Description - Readily available at most coin retailers and bookstores. Albums come with an optional slipcase and special inhibiting page insert that inhibits certain gases from damaging your coins. One disadvantage with Littleton albums are their use of a ring binder arrangement whereas other album makers use a post and screw binding for their pages. Their pages appear to be loose but one may argue that it is easier adding or removing pages.
Color - Album and slipcase are a green leatherette, pages are white with black text.
Cost - $15 to $40 per album
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Stock Coin Albums
Description - These are a combination of coin pages & standard coin albums. They utilize the same binder as a standard coin album but instead of pages with pre-sized openings they have vinyl pocket pages. Being smaller than 3 ring binders they hold less coins per page and cost more than your run of the mill 3 ring binder.
Suppliers – Dansco, Littleton, and Lighthouse
Cost - $15 to $40 per album
Description - These are similar in concept to Stock Coin Albums only smaller, with a binding that is less durable and no additional pages can be added. But they are affordable and portable. Many collectors use them to transport just a few coins to shows or conventions. Coin wallets come in a variety of sizes with 12, 18, 24, and 60 pockets for 2x2 holders.
Suppliers – Whitman, Littleton, SafeT, Unisafe and Lighthouse
Colors - Most suppliers offer wallets in 1 or 2 colors (black, brown, or blue). The only exception is Uni-Safe who offers 5 colors (black, blue, brown, green, & red).
Cost - $2 to $5 per album
Special Coin Albums
Description - Certain hard plastic or acrylic holder manufacturers provide albums specifically for storing their holders. These companies to date are Eagle, CoinEdge, and Airtites.
Cost - $17 to $30 per album (not including holders)
Where you store your coins is just as or even more important than what you store your coins in. The most detrimental damage to a coin is from corrosion. Corrosion is simply a chemical reaction and understanding this can help prevent any damage to your coins. Chemical reactions are fueled by three major factors; Air, Water, & Temperature. The more we limit these factors the better odds you will have.
The preferred environment for a coin collection is a cool and dry area. For some though this type of environment is not so easy. For people that live in humid climates one might consider a desiccant pack. For people that live in areas of high pollution or temperature, a fire rated safe may need to be considered.
Another storage location I highly endorse (especially for valuable coins) are bank safety deposit boxes. Banks provide security and controlled environments. Though it is wise that any coins stored in a safety deposit box should be in a waterproof hard plastic holder as you have no idea what someone may be storing in a box above yours. You never know if someone has an investment in the form of a bottle of wine that could break and leak into your box and onto your coins.