When it comes to display, many things must be taken into consideration about your collection and about your personal style.
All to often coin collections end up in a box in a cabinet, but today we present options to help you dust off your collection and share it with the world.
Whether you are just starting to collect coins or a have been collecting for decades the first task in creating a display is choosing a space. The size of your collection will determine the size of the space you need. If you are just starting to collect coins you can display all of your coins. If you have hundreds of coins, perhaps choosing your favorites (I know it’s difficult!) will make your display more memorable and easier to maintain. Plus, you can swap out coins whenever you choose so every precious piece gets its day in the sun.
Once you know how many coins you are going to include in your display, choose a spot in your favorite room to show off your collection. Once your location is chosen you have some decisions to make, first you need to chose what type of display you like best.
Types of Displays
Coin Books are the go-to solution for beginner collectors. A collection can be brought out for display and stored. This is a great solution if you have limited space, or if you want to display your collection for a short time.
Tabletop displays sit on existing furniture. Typically display cases are made of wood and lined with velvet. The cases have a hinged glass top for easy viewing and quick access to your collection. Glass top cases are usually small enough to carry, should you need to move the collection to another room for a short time. Alternately, a treasure chest is equally functional and probably more fun.
Framed displays are hung on the wall. These shadowboxes are at a presentation at eye level and a joy to view. The coins are protected from well meaning but curious hands and do not take up space on otherwise usable surfaces.
Cabinets come in many sizes for large and small collections. Half size cabinets can sit on a surface like a desk, a buffet, or a short bookshelf. Large cabinets are freestanding, and are often pre-lit to make your collection shine.
Now that you have a space for your collection and a way to house the coins, lets talk about protecting your coins.
Types of Coin Protectors
There are two types of Coin Books. The first type is made of pressed paper board with pre-cut holes to press your coins into. These books are perfect for one-coin collections. Penny collectors, who collect every variety of new penny, for every year, often keep their pennies in a collection of Penny Books. The books include important information like year minted, and quantity minted beneath each coin space. You can find coin books like these, for many different kinds of low-face-value coins.
The second kind of coin book is a Collector Curated Coin Book. These books are actually binders with coin sheets. You can get coin sheets in various sizes to protect your collection. Each sheet has numerous coin-size pockets. You place your coins in the binder, one coin per pocket, and you can include any information you choose on a small slip of paper in an adjacent pocket. These Collector Curated Coin Books are preferable to ready-made Coin Books because you can see both sides of the coins, rather than just one side.
Flips are another storage option with two varieties. Cardboard flips arrive open with a plastic film on one side. Center your coin in the cardboard window on the plastic and fold the flip in half, sandwiching your coin. Staple the flip closed on three sides to make sure your coin does not fall out, and write any pertinent information on the flip with indelible ink.
Plastic flips are also rectangles that fold into squares. The nice thing about plastic pocket flips is that you can store two coins in one flip because there are two pockets per flip. You can get plastic coin envelopes too. Those hold one coin and close with a flap almost the same size as the pocket.
We prefer coin capsules for secure coin protection. Not only do capsules hold coins, they keep the air out. Humidity and other environmental conditions can change the way a coin looks. Sea air has high salt levels that cause a specific finish on copper coins, even if the coin never comes into direct contact with water. General humidity can effect the toning on silver, copper, copper-nickel and other alloyed coins. Keeping the seasonal fluctuation to a minimum can keep your coins looking fresh.
Another reason we like coin capsules is because they allow unobstructed views of the coin. Plastic flips and coin pages offer that too, but coins can fall out of pages and flips. Capsules are more secure.
There are both square and circle shaped capsules. I prefer the circle capsules because I feel closer to the coin when I’m holding a circle-shaped coin in a circle shaped capsule. Charles prefers the square snap capsules because they are more resilient and offer more coin protection should a curious coin admirer accidentally drop the encapsulated coin.
Now that you have some idea of the location for your display, the kind of display and the kind of protection you are going to provide for your coins, let’s talk about arranging your coins.
Like floral arrangement, coin arrangement is an art influenced by personal style. There are a few tricks of the trade that can help you make your collection really shine.
- Start with the largest coins first. There is nothing worse than getting your arrangement all lined out only to discover there is not enough room for your centerpiece!
- Decide on symmetry or asymmetry before you begin.
- Decide how much information you want to include in your display and make room for it. Framed coins are especially handsome with a certificate of authenticity, or history, or mintage information matted in the frame beside the coin.
- Maintain some empty space between coins so the eye can rest before taking in the next piece.
- Define your purpose. Why are you displaying your coins? Is it because you love them? Is it because you want to share the joys of coin collecting with friends? Is it because you want the wall to look less empty? There are as many reasons to display coin collections as there are coin collectors! Find your reason, and keep it in mind as you design your arrangement.
Whatever arrangement you make, have fun with it. This is your custom collection and you have built a thing of beauty.
Summary: Pick a display. Decide how to protect your coins. Make an arrangement.
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