Many people preparing for the possibility of economic collapse or the perfect storm of natural disaster are collecting junk silver. Now you’re wondering how to keep silver coins from tarnishing. The steps are simple but perhaps not obvious.
Perhaps you are traveling around the country, or around your state, frequenting antique shops and estate sales. Maybe you have gone online to purchase junk silver in bulk. Either way, you are now watching your silver coins add up. You might also be watching those silver coins turn gunmetal gray or army green as time and storage sets in.
What if My Coins Are Already Tarnished?
This is a big one. What if you collect coins from various locations, estate sales, garage sales, etc. and the coins you have are already headed into dingy territory? This fix is simple. Remember the coca cola science experiment we all either did or watched someone else do in grade school? It’s similar to that.
You want to “wash” your coins in a solution that will eat away all the tarnish from the outside and leave them shiny and new. All you need to do is place your coins on a sheet of aluminum inside a clean sink. Then you dump a pot of distilled water over the coins and add baking soda.
You can swirl the coins and the baking soda around a la a wicked witch or troll swirling a cauldron. You can even cackle, but that won’t help the coins. Pour the coins into a strainer and rinse them off, and before your eyes you have brand new looking coins.
How to Store Silver Coins to Prevent Tarnishing
Now, if your coins are already in mint condition, or if you have cleaned them up, and you need to keep them from tarnishing again, you’ll need to store them properly.
What Not to Do
First, you will need to know what not to do. The chemicals and elements that cause silver to tarnish in the first place should be avoided, and some fabrics even cause the tarnishing process to speed up. Do not store your silver with wool, rubber bands, or paint. The last thing you want is to open up your stored silver and find it black.
What to Know
Beyond the don’ts, storing silver coins is pretty simple and obvious. You want to keep your coins as airtight as you can. Oxygen can contribute to tarnishing. It is also ideal to keep them in a fabric bag that lends to cleaning silver, like a soft cloth.
What You’ll Need
Sounds like a contradiction, right? How do you keep your silver in a cloth fabric bag and air tight at the same time? You do both. You put your coins into a bag made with a fabric like this one. Keep them in small amounts so you don’t have piles of coins rubbing together with little air pockets between them.
Next, you can store the coins inside the fabric bag inside of an airtight container, like this one. You can keep a lot of little bags inside one big airtight container. This way, your coins are in contact only with each other and anti tarnish fabric, and they are not exposed to oxygen.
Finally, you want to try to control the humidity level. Humidity and higher heat can cause oxidation in the coins, which leads to tarnish. Store your coins in a cool dark place. If you have a basement (or a witch’s den), that would be ideal. Of course, if you are not a troll or witch, and you don’t have a basement, your storage facility or a deep dark closet corner will suffice.
You have a couple of things to remember. First, be sure it is clean and tarnish free before storage. Second, be sure to store it correctly, proper bag, proper airtight container. Finally, be sure your storage location is appropriate.
The nice thing about this strategy for cleaning and storing is that you can do it as you collect. Whether you are collecting online or around towns, you can clean and store your silver in small batches, maintaining the integrity of the already cleaned and stored collections.