The Uses of Coin Flips in Your Collection

Advantages and Disadvantages of Coin Flips

Plastic Coin Flip with Paper Insert
Plastic coin flip with paper insert. Image Copyright: © 2015 James Bucki; All rights reserved.

A coin flip (see photo) is a small PVC, Mylar, or plastic pocket that folds in half, and is designed to hold one coin. Coin flips usually measure two inches square (when folded), but they also come in 1.5 inch and 2.5 inch sizes.

Usually, a collector or dealer puts a coin in the pocket of one side of the flip, and puts a small piece of paper or card, called an insert, in the other pocket which identifies the coin. Coin flips are most frequently used for ancient coins because the catalog information for ancients will not fit on the standard cardboard 2x2.

Sometimes the flip is cut in half where the fold is, so that you have just a little 3-sided pocket, with the opening across the top, into which the coin is placed.


  • One of the major advantages of coin flips over other coin holders is that the coin can easily be removed from the coin flip. This allows you to inspect the coin with a magnifying glass or microscope without the distortion or glare from the plastic.
  • Another advantage of using coin flips is their relatively small size. Rows of coins can be stored in a 2 x 2 cardboard box that can hold between fifty and 100 coins in their respective flips. This allows a dealer or collector to organize and reorganize their collection as it changes over time.
  • Remember to always purchase coin flips that are made out of Mylar. You can easily tell if a coin flip is made out of Mylar because it will be a stiffer plastic than those made with PVC.


  • One of the biggest disadvantages of using coin flips is that many of them are made with plastic that contains PVC. PVC is a chemical that is used in plastic to make it soft and pliable. Unfortunately, it can leach out of the plastic and deposit itself onto the surface of your coins. When left on the surface of the coin it can cause irreparable PVC damage to your coin. It is most commonly evidenced by green slime on the coin.
  • Also, the coin can accidentally fall out of the flip if it is not handled correctly. Additionally, since coin flips are not sealed, moisture and pollutants in the environment can seep into the coin flip and damage your coin.
  • Finally, safe coin flips made out of Mylar are harder plastic then the flips made with PVC which can chemically damage your coins. The drawback is the hard plastic can scratch the surface of your coin when you remove it and replace it back in the flip. Be very careful not to let the coin slide across the sharp edge of the opening to the pocket.

See Also

Example Usage

It is not a good idea to store your coins in plastic flips for longer than a few weeks, unless the flips are made of Mylar, because they can cause PVC damage to your coins.

Edited by: James Bucki