Old Coin Holders: Great As Collectibles & For Storing Coins

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Coin collecting is one of the world’s most popular hobbies.

But did you know that within coin collecting there is another pastime that has grown somewhat of a following?

Collecting old coin holders is something many have been doing for years to assemble arrays of obsolete, historic, and retro coin storage.In more recent years, many coin collectors have looked toward buying old coin holders because they’re often cheaper to buy than new coin holders.

Let’s take a look at some of the old coin holders available to modern coin collectors.

Old Coin Holders: Another Angle On Coin Collecting Fun

Yes, old coin holders really do have a following.

Here are some reasons people collect old coin holders:

  • Nostalgia
  • Cost savings
  • Coin set theming

Another important reason people may collect old coin holders is to find certain types of coin holders for coin sets or coin arrangements that are no longer offered in the modern market.

A Word (Or Two) On Hazardous Materials

Warning, warning! Before you start plunging into the world of collecting or using old coin holders, there’s something very important you should know: some old coin holders contain materials that are hazardous to your coins.

Think of it like buying an old house. Homes built during the early 1980s or before may contain hazardous building materials like asbestos or lead paint.

Just as we have learned over the years which materials are dangerous for people (and, through the passage of laws and codes, have since banned the use of these things), numismatists have also gained a knowledge over the years as to which types of materials and environments aren’t safe for coins to be within.

Coins, though made of metal, are really quite sensitive to their environments and, therefore, should be carefully protected.

Many old coin holders contain components like polyvinylchloride (PVC), sulfur, and glues which pose a very acute threat to coins stored within.

Do your research on each coin holder you use and be careful as to which old coin holders you select to store your coins in!

Coin Cabinets

One of the first widely popular ways to store coins was is coin cabinets. Coin cabinets, usually made of wood and consisting of several drawers, can house dozens of coins. Some are quite fancy.

Coin drawers saw their heyday during the 19th century, though as time has drawn on other coin storage methods have evolved.

A few particular drawbacks with coin drawers is that they:

  • Are bulky
  • Are not airtight
  • Can impart slide marks on coins

Old Coin Boards

During the 1930s, a new method of coin storage was invented. The coin board was widely marketed by Whitman and made a convenient and cheap way to store and display coins.

The introduction of coin boards heralded the widespread collecting of 20th century coins by date and mintmark, such as Lincoln cents and Buffalo nickels.

Coin boards usually consist of one panel with several holes or portals designed for holding a certain arrangement of coins. Coin boards usually range from around 8 inches by 10 inches in size up to about 11 inches by 14 inches and are intended for framing.

While coin boards are manufactured today, finding original or classic coin boards may mean trips to garage sales, flea markets, coin dealers, or a click or two on eBay.

Old Coin Folders

By the 1940s, the advent of the large coin board had led to the coin folder. Principally similar to coin boards, coin folders essentially are condensed coin boards that are bound together to form a more conveniently sized foldout book.

Coin folders are what many coin collectors used in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s for storing coins, though they continue to be popular today as an efficient way of storing many low-value coins.

Fortunately for coin collectors looking to buy cheap coin folders for their collections, old coin folders are relatively easy to find at many coin dealers and incredibly cheap. While new coin folders cost anywhere from around $3 to $10, a gently used old coin folder from the 1950s or 1960s can be had for 25 cents to $1.

Old Coin Albums

Coin albums are largely regarded as a classic and (generally) safe way to store large sets of coins.

Often, when coin collectors think about old coin albums, their minds turn to a line of coin albums published by Wayte Raymond. Wayte Raymond coin albums were popular from around the 1930s through the 1960s.

Other manufacturers entered the coin album market as the years went on, including Whitman, Dansco, and Harco.

As mentioned earlier, it’s highly important you carefully scrutinize any old coin albums you purchase for actual coin storage because many old coin albums utilize harmful plastic chemicals that will, over time, damage your coins.

Here’s a video I made that shows one of my Dansco coin albums close-up:

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Old Coin Displays

Along with the array of coin cabinets, coin folders, and coin albums are the many coin displays that have been made for decades.

Coin displays, which usually amount to a more luxurious manifestation of the coin board, are among the most expensive types of coin storage you can buy.

Coin displays are also quite diverse, ranging from three-panel Lucite coin panels to wood clam shell coin cases with velvet lined interiors housing just one or two special coins.

Old coin displays range from the cheap to expensive, depending on what type you buy. As with coin albums, be mindful on avoiding any coin displays that may contain harmful plastics. Some basic background research on the specific type of holder you want to buy should help you get the info you need regarding dangerous materials.

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