Protecting Large Coins

Protecting Large Coins

Protecting most coins is easy, there are multiple methods of achieving this. 

The inexpensive 2X2 Mylar flips offer an economical way of providing protection, although not without problems.  The Mylar can be damaged, and so can the coin contained within.  I once had an uncirculated half dollar in a 2X2 flip and a staple from another flip made a small hole in the Mylar.  The coin soon had a black spot directly under the damage.

The acrylic snaps also work well for smaller coins.  They provide a greater physical protection, and the coin is immobilized by a holder that fills the snap. 

Unfortunately, larger coins exceed the size of either of these, so something more must be done.  This is unfortunate since the 2X2 flip is the least expensive.

What Are We Protecting from?

Coin protection is needed for physical protection, keeping the coin from wear.  Wear can reduce the grade of a quality coin.  The other protection is from environmental damage.  We should have as little air, and certainly no air flow, as possible.  Impurities in the air can cause environmental damage.

Coin Capsules

Coin capsules made of acrylic can reduce wear significantly.  Capsules must be the proper size to reduce air, and thus reduce the likelihood of environmental damage. 

Larger coins can be encapsulated.  For coins of 1.5 ounces and larger, there may be little option to capsules if protection is desired. 

Fit the coin to the capsule.  A coin has a diameter specified by the mint that made it, and while there must be a slight gap, the capsule should be able to minimize the coin movement.  The other dimension, the thickness, must not be ignored.  The coin cannot be allowed to bounce up and down within the capsule if it is moved.

Some popular larger coins can be placed into direct fit capsules.  One such coin is the five-ounce silver quarter.  It fits in an Air-Tite Z5 capsule. 

The problem here is not all coins of the same weight have the same diameter and thickness.  The companies that produce capsules cannot make a capsule for each possible coin.  So, when we get to larger coins, we often are confronted with capsules being of a diameter to accommodate several coin varieties, and a thickness adequate to also accommodate the same coins.  This makes one or both dimensions too large for a given coin type.  So, how can the coins be immobilized?  The answer is larger coins are often fitted into coin capsules with washers.  Washers of various sizes can be used to fit snugly into the capsule and snugly around the coin.  This keeps the coin from moving both horizontally and vertically.  The washer holds the coin firmly in place.

The Other Consideration

Some capsules fit together snugly, and do not open when the coin is picked up.  Others fit loosely, and they may open when you do not wish them to do so.  Choose a quality capsule.  Be aware some coins from some quality mints may not be as snug as you need them to be.

The Need

Larger coins are becoming more common than they once were.  The two-ounce Australian Generations Coin Series form the Perth Mint and the two-ounce Royal Mint Queen’s Beasts coins are different dimensions.  A single capsule size with different washer sizes satisfies the problem of encapsulating whichever coin you have.  The same capsule will hold the 1.5-ounce Canadian silver coins, provided the proper washer is used. 

Who Makes Coin Capsules?

Air-Tite, Guardhouse, and Lighthouse are three brands available.  Not every company makes the full range of capsules for the increasing number of varieties of large coins. 

Air-Tite identifies some of the capsules for larger coins with the word “deep.”  The size of the washer must also be specified.

Using Capsules with Washers

The coin will not drop into the washer if it fits properly.  There will need be a slight push.  To avoid transferring oils and other contaminates from your hands onto the coin, wear white cotton gloves designed for this purpose. 

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