Collecting paper currency is a very rewarding and historically captivating hobby. When it comes to preserving and storing your valuable collection, which represents a potential value of considerable sums of money, all your meticulous and determined efforts of both time and expense could be at risk if you don’t have the adequate tools to preserve it. Paper currency, like most materials composed of paper products, will suffer over time due to continuous exposure to the elements. It is vitally important to maintain proper storage and preservation techniques to ensure your collection will hold its value for generations to come. Here are a few of the better ideas and techniques in the collector’s tool-box to utilize the safest preservation and handling methods.
1. Coin Sleeves & Pages (Sheets) are Your Best Friends
The most important and crucial procedure in preserving any form of paper currency is to make sure they are stored in sleeves or sheets made of archival-grade materials to protect them from dirt, moisture and debris, either from handling or the environment. This means that they must be acid and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) free holders. Preserving your collection in holders that contain these damaging elements will do irreparable harm to your collection instead of preserving it. It is highly recommended that the best and safest storage holders should be composed of a mylar-polyester material for long-term currency preservation.
2. Never Handle Currency with Bare Hands
When handling your paper currency outside of its protective holder, it is also extremely important to do so only when wearing either soft cotton or nitrile gloves. Never handle you collection with bare hands because of the potential for transferring damaging oils or dirt directly to your specimens, which will cause permanent staining. Remember to handle your paper currency only when absolutely necessary, or you can make use of a quality pair of studded tweezers to examine them when outside their of protective sheathing. Make sure any table surface is perfectly clean if the currency is laid down upon it to prevent needless contamination as well.
3. Use Professional Help
If there are any signs of damage, wear-and-tear, or any other type of imperfections to any individual specimens in your currency collection, it is never recommended that you take on the repair or cleaning of your currency yourself. Any cleaning or repair procedures must never be considered by using anyone untrained or unskilled in the proper methods, so always seek expert advice. In addition, unqualified attempts at cleaning or repairing your currency will more than likely cause a decrease in value as well.
4. Be Mindful of Where You Display Your Collection
Light, heat, and moisture are the worst elements affecting any paper currency collection, and can damage the paper itself, the ink, slowly causing shredding or tears, and eventually the pictures to fade away completely. Never display your collection in direct sunlight for any prolonged period of time, as it will cause fading, yellowing, and brittleness to occur. Use a halogen bulb for any close examination purposes, since ultra-violet rays are known to be destructive to paper currency.
5. Proper Storage is Critical
Proper storage of your currency collection is just as important. It should be kept in a relatively cool and dry environment, and must certainly be kept from any excessive heat or humidity. This means the damp environment of a basement or the heat extremes of an attic are generally the worst places to store your collection, and could cause irrevocable damage. It is recommended that the storage temperatures be generally constant at 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity setting at 45-55% for optimal conditions. Depending on the size of the storage container or area, use of silica gels or dehumidifiers can also aid in controlling your storage environments.
Coin Supply Planet has a wide variety of archival-safe storage components and devices for your paper currency collection requirements, including currency sleeves, currency pages, currency boxes and cases, as well as Dansco currency book albums and Whitman currency book albums. For high quality, durable, and long-term storage solutions and supplies, we have what you need to make your paper currency collection stand well above the rest.