How Do I Care For My Gold & Silver Bullion?
Prior to making your precious metal purchase, you conduct due diligence regarding the price you would expect to pay, the value of the mint you are working with, and the estimated appreciation value of the coin series or bullion collection you are buying. Less thought is given however to how you will care for those precious metals once they have been shipped to your home. More often than not, investor’s misunderstanding regarding the proper care of their collection can lead to actual damage or loss of value to the metal. While we tend to think of metal as a durable commodity, the reality is that gold and silver represent soft metals that can react adversely if not handled and cared for properly. Proper care and storage allows precious metal owners the ability to preserve the value of their investment.
Handling of Precious Metals
Coin condition is a leading indicator of the value an owner can hope to obtain when it becomes time to liquidate their holdings, so proper handling is a precondition of preserving your coin’s value. Always remembering that it is much easier to maintain a coin’s mint condition than attempt to restore it once it has become dirty, it makes sense to reduce excess handling of your collection. Unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary to pick up your coin pieces, and when that happens you must take the proper precautions. Human skin has all manner of oils and lotions that can prove harmful to precious metal if exposed. As such, the suggestion is to wear soft, lint free cotton gloves to avoid transferring fingerprints, oils, or toxins to your collection. As a side note, do not use plastic or latex gloves owing to the fact that these are coated with powders and lubricants that can prove equally harmful to your collection.
Prior to viewing your collection, you should first clear a working spot to lay out your coins and rounds. Place a soft towel or cloth down to reduce incidents of scratching. When handling your decorative rounds or bullion bars always pick them up and hold them by the edges because holding on to them by the surface can wreck havoc on their designs. When splitting your attention between both tarnished and pristine coins, work with each category separately to avoid cross contamination, and always make sure to wash your hands between each set.
Cleaning Your Collection
While many collectors believe that cleaning their bullion will result in improved condition and increased value, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the majority of collectors would prefer a well preserved, albeit tarnished, coin than one that has been cleaned incorrectly because cleaning your coins can actually result in damage and a lower overall value for the piece. As an excellent rule of thumb therefore, cleaning your precious metals yourself can have a detrimental impact on your investment.
For those who eschew this advice, any cleaning efforts should be superficial at best, and completed with only mild soap and warm water. Using corrosive chemicals and polishes is not recommended because they are specifically formulated with acidic components that will damage the coin’s surface. To dry, simply pat them dry with a soft cloth and allow to air dry, to prevent trapped moisture, before placing them back in storage.
Storage and Display
Storage and display decisions are based on choosing cases that will not cause damage to the coin or bullion’s metal. For instance, many collectors like the organizational ability afforded by placing their coins, encased in plastic sleeves, in binders or albums. Unfortunately, plastic sleeves are not airtight, so the metal can discolor the coin if moisture gets trapped in the sleeve. Likewise, PVC and plastic containers contain acidic gases that promote corrosion in certain metals, but you will receive superior results using non-reflective cardboard container sleeves. For that rare piece that you must display, wooden shadowboxes protected by a glass display panel is an excellent combination of visual imagery and environmental protection.
In terms of storage, consider using airtight containers crafted from natural materials such as coin slabs or wooden boxes. As important as the container’s material is to preserving the value of your bullion, how you store your coins and rounds in the case has an equal bearing on the condition your coins will remain while in storage. Avoid storing haphazardly, to reduce friction marks, and stack your coins in neat piles separated with plain cardboard sheets. Finally, never store pristine examples of your collection with tarnished coins as that risks cross contamination in the same manner as handling them for cleaning processes.