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How to Safely Handle and Store Silver and Gold

A gold coin and a silver coin in protective slabbing.

Protecting Your Investment is as Important as Investing

When it comes to your investments, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You worked hard for the money you invested in gold and silver. By taking care of that investment, you help ensure that it gains value over time. Follow these principles to handle and store your silver and gold safely.

How to Handle Your Gold and Silver

If you want to preserve the condition of your investment, you’ll want to be careful. These are metal, but this is not iron- They must be cared for and treated gently.

Precious Metals are Soft

If you have invested in silver, gold, or other precious metals, how you handle and store them is vital. One of the first things to keep in mind is that higher-purity precious metals- Those in the 999 range and above- are soft.

It’s normal to see scratches, scruffs, corrosion, and signs of wear on circulation coins. They bump against each other in your pockets, clinking against keys and anything else you are carrying. Metals like nickel are considered both hard and ductile.

This is worthy of note because gold and silver are much softer than the coins in your pocket.

Think of the old western trope of the gunslinger biting a gold coin, which is only to illustrate the softness of gold- Please do not try it at home. This would be done because gold is exceptionally soft, and the bite would leave teeth marks on a high-purity gold coin.

Side note: Can you imagine the pain a gunslinger or ranch hand would have felt if it had not been a genuine gold coin?

Similarly, 999 fine silver is exceptionally soft. High-purity silver is too soft to be useful for jewelry, so most silver jewelry is sterling silver. Silver gains strength when it is alloyed with a more robust metal.

Keeping this in mind, it is imperative to be very gentle when handling silver or gold.

Oil from Your Skin Can Damage Them

Your skin produces oils that can damage the surface of your gold and silver rounds and coins. These oils can cause discoloration and pass along contaminants like grease and dirt to the surface of the metal.

The great debate of gloved hands versus barehanded handling is complicated, and there is no clear consensus.

On the no-gloves side of the debate, gloves can make it difficult to safely hold your coin, making it easier to drop. Remembering that gold is soft and can be damaged easily, you may want to hold your gold coins on the rim without gloves.

On the other hand, even after you’ve washed your hands, they will still produce oils that can mar the surface of the coin. This is especially true for copper coins, which are very reactive to the oils on your skin.

If you have a Proof coin, even holding it by the rim without gloves can leave fingerprints on the mirrored field that hurt the coin’s value.

If you decide to handle your gold and silver, thoroughly wash and dry your hands first. If you wear gloves, make sure they are lint-free cotton gloves, as plastic and latex gloves contain lubricants and powders that can hurt your investment.

Prepare a safe, clean space to remove them from their capsule and have a towel or lint free cloth to place them on. Using plastic tweezers, remove the round or coin and make sure to only handle it by the edges of the rim.

Avoid speaking and breathing directly over your gold and silver, as even the moisture from breathing and speaking can damage these precious metals.

The only way to know that your handling does not damage your coins is to avoid handling them.

How to Store Your Gold and Silver

Handling your precious metals with care is one aspect of protecting your investment. Storing your gold and silver bars, coins, and rounds to preserve their condition is the second part of protecting your investment.

How to Store Your Gold and Silver Coins, Rounds, and Bars

Following a few fundamental principles regarding exposure to the elements, your gold and silver will be kept safe for years to come. Store your gold and silver in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

This area should be free of heat, humidity, and moisture. Preventing oxidation and tarnish is the goal here.

Capsules to Keep Individual Coins and Bars Safe

Coin flips are a practical short-term storage solution, but it’s imperative to make sure that you use unplasticized or PVC-free coin flips. PVC is used in producing many plastics, and when it off-gasses, it causes irreparable harm to coins.

For long-term storage, consider airtight, direct-fit capsules. These should fit the dimensions of your coin and form an airtight seal so there will not be room for coins to bounce around the inside and scratch themselves.

Buying in Bulk? Coin Tubes are the Best Bet

Coin, round, and bar tubes might be the best way to store your metals safely if you’re buying coins or rounds in bulk. Your coins, rounds, and bars may not ship with tubes unless the product page specifies otherwise, but you can find a heavy-duty tube for whatever you collect.

You can even find tubes for 10 ounce bars and many are stackable so you will be able to save space when you decide where to store these containers.

Where Should I Keep these Tubes and Capsules?

Now that we have covered how to store your silver and gold as individual pieces, where should you keep your hoard? There are several choices, but they boil down to third-party storage and self-storage. Your choice depends on elements like cost, accessibility, and security.

Self-Storage in Your Home (Midnight Gardening Won’t Yield Many Tomatoes)

Midnight gardening is used to describe hiding precious metals in your yard or garden. This would be done after dark, so the neighbors don’t see what you’re burying, hence the name

This is inadvisable due to a lack of external security, the difficulty of hiding a freshly dug hole, and the ease with which elements can wreak havoc on your investment. In the event someone found out where you’d hidden these, there would be little to no safeguard preventing their theft.

If you decide to store your gold and silver at home, it is advisable to have three layers of protection. For instance, in a locked safe, under a floorboard, under a rug, and dresser.

The more layers you have, the less likely a would-be robber would have to find them. And of course, secrecy is your best defense. If no one knows it’s there, it cannot be robbed, so avoid discussing your metals investment unnecessarily. Loose lips sink ships.

Third-Party Storage

Arguably the safest way to store your silver and gold is by taking advantage of a third-party storage solution. There are a few options among these to consider, from safety deposit boxes to banking vaults, all the way to precious metal depositories.

Each of these has advantages, drawbacks, and costs.

No third-party option is free, and the costs will often vary from company to company.

Between self-storage and third-party storage, there is much debate. Self-storage lacks a constant guard unless you have a pack of dogs, but third-party storage means you cannot dig your Gold Eagles up at 3 am. Which is the best fit for you? Only you can say.

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe!

Whichever route you determine is the best fit for storing your silver and gold, the fewer people that know about it, the safer your investment will be kept.

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