Classical Numismatics Discussion
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Hanukkah Sameach!!! 20%+ Off Sale in the Shop NOW!!! Tell them you want a coin from FORVM for Hanukkah!!!! Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!!! 20%+ Off Sale in the Shop NOW!!! Support Our Efforts To Serve The Classical Numismatics Community - Shop At Forum Ancient Coins

New & Reduced

Author Topic: A Coin Cabinet Guide: Things to Know, Questions to Ask  (Read 231 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nathaniel N2

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 141
  • A Lover of History and Art
A Coin Cabinet Guide: Things to Know, Questions to Ask
« on: May 16, 2023, 07:45:59 pm »
A Questions Guide to Buying a Cabinet (Written by a Novice)

TL;DR: Ask as many questions about the archival qualities of the cabinet as possible. You want to know that every material used at every step of the process is safe for your coins so that they age beautifully.

Cabinet Basics
We all want to be able to preserve our coins in the best way possible and to present them in an attractive way that really draws in a wow factor from those we talk to. From doing research, talking to expert conservators, and asking an annoying number of questions to a cabinet maker. I want to share what I found about cabinets in the form of questions you should ask whoever you are buying a cabinet from.

The less volatile the materials used the better. If your goal is to perfectly preserve the coins with as little toning as possible, the best material is inert pvc free plastic, the same as you use for flips. Stainless steel for casing, and an overall modern look. If this makes you happy, then that's amazing! You are done choosing your cabinet design. Other people want wood and velvet or felt for a more vintage look.

Wood is a dangerous substance as it degases, that is to say that the smell of wood can damage coins. Our goal should be to avoid as much of the wood smell as possible and also to isolate our coins from direct contact with the wood.

What wood is used? Mahogany is the king of coin storage, other woods may be acceptable but beware fir, or pine as these are some woods that degas a lot. Just think, you've never heard of a birch or mahogany candle, but you have seen pine scented candles and you know the smell of oak. If it smells, avoid it.

Is the wood dried? Kiln drying the wood cooks out the woody smell reducing degassing and making it more archival safe. Old woods are also safer as they have almost fully degassed.

How is the cabinet built? You will want to avoid glues and non archival safe solvents in the assembly.

Is a water based polyurethane or 2 part epoxy used to seal the wood? Sealing the wood further slows degassing. It is important that it not be a chemically based sealant as these degas worse than wood. Safe sealants include water based polyurethane and 2 part epoxies ad neither of these release any vapors when dried, be sure to do your research online to make sure as each manufacturer is different. Avoid any oil, or alcohol based sealants. 

What separates the coins from the wood? You want an inert substance between the coins and the wood. At minimum this should be an archival safe acid free soft fabric such as felt or velvet, above and beyond the wood should be isolated from the coins with a plastic.

How is the fabric adhered to the wood? You want the adhesive here to be archival safe as well, if it isn't then your coins will be in contact long term with something you don't want them to be.

By asking these questions, you should be able to assess if the cabinet you are interested in will suit your needs.

If you live in a humid area, buy silica packs to store in your cabinet to keep out moisture.
Looking for more underpriced uncleaned coins. Let me know if you find them.


All coins are guaranteed for eternity