Many collectors dread this day and some never get around to it! But yes it is necessary to perform an annual inspection and inventory of coins. Don't believe me? I already found three coins I forgot to remove from a vinyl flip that they were shipped in and yes they started to get a a green hue from the PVC (softener for plastics) already beginning to leach onto the coins.
Still whining? Come on folks, its the dead of winter! What else do you have to do. Trust me when I say its healthy for the collection, your mind, & soul! So without further hesitation let's begin…
Inspect those flips. Are they hard & brittle? Cracking? Did a Vinyl flip sneak in somehow? If you answered yes to any of these questions then its time to change that holder. If you are unlucky like myself and had some PVC leach onto a coin then you'll need an Acetone bath. If you don't know how to do this its simple. Buy pure Acetone (Walmart has some in the beauty section but make sure it is 100% pure) and a gallon of distilled water. Dip your coin in the acetone for just a few seconds and then rinse with distilled water. Quickly dry the coin (pat and never rub) with a soft cotton towel. Do not let the coin air dry as the water droplets will leave stains on the coin.
Alright time for those cardboard flips. Has the mylar window torn? Is the staple rusting? If using self-sealing types has the glue become unstuck? Are the coins starting to change color? If the answer is yes to any then change that holder!
#2 Coin Storage
Use coin pages? Pages can stretch overtime and shouldn't be ignored. Inspect each coin by tugging each holder in each pocket. Does it slip out easily? If so it is time to replace that page. How about the seams on each pocket? Have any torn?
Whats that? You say you use coin albums and this doesn't pertain to you? How about fit, even cardboard can wear over time. Feel like all of the coins are constantly slipping out of their slots a sliding behind the leatherette cover? Is the adhesive of the leatherette separating from the cardboard? If you run into any of these problems then the fix is a little tougher. You will have to contact the manufacturer or supplier to see if they carry replacement pages. Most do so you should be okay but if they don't you'll have to make a tough decision.
What about desiccants (like silicon packs for moisture). If you use these it is more than likely that it was thrown in and forgotten about. Bad news is its probably no longer effective. But not to worry, check with the desiccant manufacturer as most can be re-used by simply drying them out in an oven. Note: DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS THE MANUFACTURER GIVES YOU DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO DO SO.
You think you have the most organized coin collection around and it may very well be true but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do the once over anyway.
First is loose coins, we all have at least one lying on a desk or a shelf just waiting for us to do something. Well? Do something!
Second is neatness. Look at your storage options, is it time to straighten out those albums? Maybe label those boxes? How about neatly stacking everything in that safe?
Using a coin software program, excel, data base or pen & paper? Is it up to date? Do you need to add another attribute to make searching a little easier? Some useful attributions I've seen are where your coins are stored (box #2, album #1 page 4, bank safety deposit box, etc…). Another useful attribute is if the coin is part of a set (20th Century Type Set, Lincoln Cent Album, etc…)
#5 Collecting interest
So you've sorted & organized your coins but do you still like what you have? Collecting interests can change overtime and you may have coins that no longer fit and become a real pain every time you do your annual organizing. Its a at this time you really need to ask yourself if you truly want the coin or are you just being a coin hoarder (a.k.a. pack rat)? You can attempt to sell those collection oddballs via a dealer or auction (like e-bay) but if you are not comfortable with this then why not try trading? Many dealers at coin shows are open to trade and there are many online coin communities where fellow collectors swap coins daily.
#6 Coin Receipts & Photos
This one is for the Insurance Man! I pray this never happens to you but coins can be stolen or damaged from a house fire, tornado, or some other natural disaster which means you'll have to deal with an Insurance company. To help this process gather up all of your receipts and place them in a fireproof box along with pictures of your coins. Do not have a fireproof box? How about scanning everything and storing it on a CD at a friend or relatives house? If you don't have a scanner then I recommend using a bank safety deposit box.