Left unprotected or stored in the wrong type of coin holder, your coins can get damaged. This damage can greatly reduce the value of your coins, or in the worst case, leaving them worthless. Each type of coin holder provides different levels of protection, has different advantages and disadvantages, and associated costs.
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2x2 Coin Holders
A 2x2 coin holder (aka 2-by-2) is a popular two-inch by two-inch square cardboard holder. The holder has one or more circles cut out and has a Mylar plastic sheet glued to the inside. When folded over and stapled shut, this holds the coin securely and allows it to be viewed on both sides while protecting the coin from fingerprints and environmental damage.
There are other sizes that include 1.5 inches for smaller coins and 2.5 inches for large coins. Another brand uses adhesive to glue the holder shut. The major disadvantage to the self-adhesive holders is the time it takes to assemble them. Additionally, you must be careful to make sure that the self-adhesive coin holders are acid-free in order to avoid corrosion or discoloring on your coins.
Advantages: Ability to write identifying information on the holder, low-cost, organize and reorganize coins in 2x2 pages (see below) and the ability to view both sides of the coin.
Disadvantages: Staples may scratch the coin when being removed from the holder, and they are not airtight.
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2x2 pages allow your 2x2 cardboard holders to be organized in any way that you desire. They allow you to conveniently store and view your collection in any three-ring binder that is available at local office supply stores. Make sure you buy non-PVC-based pages and three-ring binders, otherwise your coins can be damaged as the PVC leaches out of the plastic and into the environment surrounding your coins.
They also come in sizes to hold 1.5-inch cardboard holders and 2.5-inch holders. Coin flips (see below) can also fit in these pages. Be sure to use a flat clinch stapler to avoid the bulging staples on the back of the holder. These can tear the plastic 2 x 2 pages when inserting or removing the coin. Additionally, if the staple is not flat, it can scratch the adjacent coin.
Advantages: Low-cost, ability to organize and reorganize your collections and you can view both sides of your coins.
Disadvantages: Can become very bulky for larger collection
03 of 08
Coin flips are small plastic, dual pocket containers. One pocket is used for the coin, while the other pocket can contain a small piece of cardboard that describes and catalogs your coin. The most common size measures 2" by 2", but they come in 1.5-inch holders for smaller coins and 2.5-inch holders for larger coins.
These are most commonly used by coin dealers because of their compact nature and their ability to be stored in long cardboard boxes that can be labeled and organized. Also, coin dealers can write inventory numbers, identifying information, and prices on the paper insert. This allows a coin collector to learn more about a coin before they purchase it.
Advantages: Coin can be removed easily without damage, large area for description/catalog information, compact, and low cost.
Disadvantages: Can be made with PVC that can damage your coins, coins can accidentally fall out, not the best option to display your coins.
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Hard Plastic Coin Holders
Hard plastic coin holders provide some of the best protection for your coins. Most are made with an inert plastic such as polystyrene. Unlike cardboard 2x2 holders and coin flips, hard plastic holders are specifically made to house a particular size of the coin. They come in many different varieties and styles that can hold individual coins, uncirculated sets, proof coins, and entire collections. For custom holders, Capital Plastics is the leading manufacturer.
Advantages: First-rate protection, a vast variety of options and styles, can view both sides of the coin, and the coin cannot easily fall out.
Disadvantages: Bulky to store, expensive and nowhere to write identifying information.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Coin Edge Holders from Amos Advantage
Coin Edge Holders from Amos Advantage allow you to view all three sides of the coin, including the edge. The new Native American dollars and presidential dollars which have lettering on their edges are normally covered by the cardboard or plastic holder. The coin edge holder is made out of a rigid Mylar plastic that allows you to safely store and protect your coin while having a complete view of the coin without removing it from its holder.
Advantages: Allows a complete view of the coin, rigid plastic protects the coin and are double sealed to provide an almost airtight environment.
Disadvantages: Moderately expensive, are bulky to store, and nowhere to write information about the coin.
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Encapsulated coins provide the best protection for your coin. The coin is protected by a rigid inert plastic shell that is sonically sealed to provide a virtually airtight environment. The coin is suspended within the plastic shell using a soft inert plastic insert that prevents the coin from moving or vibrating and thus incurring damage. Additionally, an expert evaluates the coin for authenticity and provides a professional opinion regarding the coin's grade.
Advantages: Best protection available, guaranteed authenticity and professional grading.
Disadvantages: Expensive (average $30 or more per coin), the only way to remove the coin is to break the holder.
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Coin World Premium Coin Holders
Coin World's Premium Coin Holders look very similar to the encapsulated coin holders (see above). Some people also refer to these as "DYI (Do It Yourself) Slabs." They offer a lot of the same protections such as the hard plastic shell and have a soft inert insert to hold the coin securely. But they are not sonically sealed and are not considered airtight. Additionally, they are not authenticated and graded by a professional numismatist.
Advantages: Some of the best protection for your coin and the ability to put identifying and catalog information inside the holder. Additionally, the holders are not permanently sealed. This allows you to remove the coin for inspection and place it back inside the holder.
Disadvantages: Moderately expensive (approximately $1 to $2 per holder)
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Coin tubes allow you to store rolls of coins and protect them from the environment. They come in a variety of styles including hard clear plastic round tubes and opaque plastic square tubes.
Advantages: Ability to store a large number of coins in a small space.
Disadvantages: Moderate cost ($.50 to $2 per tube), coins may be damaged from vibration, must remove the coins in order to view them.