Where to Keep My Coin Collection

So, I started collecting coins when I was 11, and I had a paper route, which gives an 11-yr-old an impressive amount of spending money for an 11-yr-old.

It sat dormant for a while while I was in college, and while I was poor, but in the last 10 years or so, I picked it up again. I was really surprised to find out that collection which had been worth about $1,000 when I was 15 was worth about $15,000 by the time I was 40. And I’ve added a lot to it since.

I can’t keep storing it in a cardboard box. I actually had a bad incident once, when some stuff got wet because a closet had a leak in the ceiling. I didn’t lost anything, but it was sad.

I’m looking at lock boxes, document boxes, etc., and I can’t find anything that works. I need something that is about 20"x12"x8", and everything is just a little to small, or it’s bigger than a military footlocker. I’d go ahead and buy something too big, except I don’t have a lot of room. It doesn’t help that the bigger we get, the more they cost, albeit, I’m trying to protect something pretty expensive; it just doesn’t seem fair.

What I want is fireproof and waterproof. Lockable would be great, but it’s not necessary.

I’ve looked at all the discount stores, the housewares stores, and Amazon. I think maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. I’ve never bought anything like this before, and I don’t know what I’m doing.\

Anyone with more experience got any better ideas?

Gun safes come in a vast array of sizes and price points. Check hunting places like ‘Bass Pro shops’

I don’t want to rain on your parade, but coins kept in a shoebox are highly unlikely to be ‘mint’ and any damage, even the slightest scratch, seriously reduces the value.

If you just do a search for “safe” at Amazon you get all kinds of different sizes.

Safe deposit box?

I have a fire- and water-proof lockbox like this one. I use it for storing a very few paper files, personal papers and backup hard drives. Would it work for your purposes? It was under a hundred dollars at Staples, but I don’t remember exactly what I paid for it.

I wondered about that, is it say 5lbs of coins worth 15k in appreciated value or an incredible 15k in coins in the piggy bank.

I have some early US minted coins, about $50 worth, just fun to keep around.

Thanks to this thread, today I discovered that mattresses are more expensive than safes.

Would you want accessible as well as lockable and fireproof? If so, a home safe is your best option. The safe should be physically attached to your house’s structure (bolts through the floor for example) so someone can’t just cart it off. Check the fire-rating on safe; two hours is typical.

A safe deposit box is what I use for my really unusual/rare stuff (anything over $200 in value, although some wouldn’t necessarily think that was a definition of “rare”, but it is to me). Can part of your collection be in the box, and the rest left at home? What percentage of your collection is the more valuable stuff?

A safe deposit box isn’t fireproof nor waterproof, but is locked (it is hoped!). Also banks are not fiscally responsible for damage to contents of the box. However, the bank probably has better fire protection than your house does.

Do you have insurance on the collection? I don’t, since the cost eats into your profit eventually. I’m not a member of ANA, but I believe they offer some lower cost insurance options. I’ve asked if a coin collection can be counted as part of your assets for financial purposes, and the answer was only if it was insured.

Keep in mind that a good practice is not not let anyone know that you have (any) valuables in your house, whether coins, guns, or jewelry. Do put “coin collector” if your Facebook profile. Since this forum is (pretty) anonymous, you’re safe asking questions here.

Finally, besides the loss of the coins and their financial value, what is really lost if the coins are stolen or damaged? Most financial records can be reproduced nowadays, but things like old photographs and certificates aren’t replaceable. Surveys have said that the first thing that people save from their burning house, besides their family and pets, are the family pictures and wedding albums. So does losing coins just make you sad, or is it your retirement account? Can you forego any protection and still sleep at night?

Umm, they’re not loose in a box. Each one is in an acid-free container, envelope, or case, the kind designed specifically for holding coins, and labeled, which are then organized into smaller boxes, also free of acids, and anything that could cause damage. Except for a few that are in displays on the wall, but nevermind. Anyway, it’s the smaller boxes that are in the big box. I had them in a plastic box, but they outgrew it. Plus, I needed a flat, plastic box for something else.

And, I was thinking that the collection would be the biggest thing, but there’d be a few other things I’d keep in the firebox as well, like my passport, a copy of my son’s birth certificate, the big-limit credit cards I don’t carry, and are right now in my underwear drawer, the titles to the cars, and some property we own, which aren’t irreplaceable, but would be a pain in the ass, as well as an expense to replace, and such.

They have them on Amazon, but there’s this weird jump in sizes; they go from being about 1"x2"x2" too small, or suddenly the size of a military footlocker. I don’t have that much space. I guess I could put more stuff in it. I have three sets of heirloom silver, none of which is complete (guests get mix ‘n’ match), but they’re all in cases, and they take up some space. I’ve got a few 1st edition, and autographed books, that aren’t worth a whole lot, but could increase. I’ve got an original Star Wars lunch box, complete with thermos from 1977, that supposedly is worth about $100. I haven’t checked.

I guess I should just get the big one, then fill it up. I’ll try to find one that delivers with Prime.

The trouble with a safe deposit box is that neither the bank nor your insurance company insures its contents and it is possible to lose it all. The Times had an article some time last year about a man with a valuable collection of watches that he lost through some kind of bank malfeasance but they refused to indemnify him, although they did later retrieve part of it from some warehouse the bank had. They had opened and emptied his box through an error.

On the other hand my parents had such a lockbox that had a few things of mine of minor value (e.g. 13 silver dollars I got as a bar mitzvah gift in 1950, the scorecard from the perfect game I saw in 1964) and when they moved, the movers stole it.

Should that have been 1’x2’x2’ ?

In any case, if you want something bigger than a small home safe, and smaller than a medium sized office safe, look for a fire-proof file cabinet or a fire-proof file drawer.

It sounds like A standard double-drawer file cabinet is too be for you, but you may be able to get a single-drawer unit. Fire-proof drawers are typically smaller than a double-drawer filing cabinet, and bigger than a home safe.

The ones on Amazon are the perfect size to fit a replica Stonehenge.

Take the most valuable items from the collection and put them in a safe deposit box.

Don’t. Read my earlier post.

In the never-ending quest for guarding personal possessions, in the future, the genuinely paranoid used personal individualized satellites which replaced Bank “safety” deposit boxes.

Safe from a pair of dwarves, and they go up to size 11.

An anecdote is not data nor a general rule.

All storage systems have a risk of loss. The question is which has reasonable chances of loss for a modest price.

The percentage of people who have lost items stored in safe deposit boxes is incredibly low compared to losses at home due to theft, fire, natural disasters, etc.

Your point doesn’t make any sense, realistically.

From the FDIC web site:

Get a cheap safe, put some worthless papers in it - like the instructions with the combination, some valuable coins and lock it and put it in your closet. Now find a good decoy place to hide your coins.

As for the bank safety deposit box, legally they are not safe at all and the bank is not responsible for them, but yes they are a option.