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Numismatic Accessory Recommendations
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49 posts in this topic

 

I thought it might be nice to start a one-source thread for people to make recommendations about any kind of products that help them with their collecting, aside from actual coin buying.

 

This might cover:

Cameras

Photography setup equipment

Image conversion software

Storage options

Insurance

Plastic scratch removers

Loupes

etc.

 

So just look around your collection work-area and see if you can spot anything that you might like to tell other people about.

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Thanks, Arch! It should make it alot easier to "Stop & Shop".

 

Chris

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Meguiar's PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish was recommended to me by one of the best coin photographers as a good product for removing scratches from slabs for photography. Just rub on with a clean terry cloth in the direction of anticipated lighting. I bought some at an auto parts store and it works well. <$10, IIRC.

 

 

Disposable Powder-free Nitrile Gloves are what I wear when handling raw coins. Nitrile is superior to latex for me because I'm allergic to latex. They don't shed lint, they don't collect dirt (as cotton gloves do over time), they're cheap, and you can buy them from a discount warehouse store for <$10/box of 150 gloves.

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For the advanced collector a microscope can be a really handy tool. It’s not so much for grading, although it does have a role to play in that, as it is for really getting to what genuine coins look like close up. It’s also great for looking at the die finishing differences between business strike and Proof coins. I found it especially useful in comparing Matte Proof Buffalo nickels with their business strike counterparts. To be honest I’ve had a hard time seeing the difference between the two, but under a microscope the differences become far more evident.

 

There is a dealer who sells these at the FUN shows for reasonable prices. There is where I purchased my 'scope.

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Most important numsmatic accessory: Very deep pockets. :D

 

Seriously....

I love my camera (Nikon D300 + 200mm Macro lens + tripod).

I love my post-processing software (Nikon Capture NX & Photoshop Elements)

I love my website (www.pbase.com)

I love my loupe (Essenbach 3x6x9)

I love my lights (Reveal for photos, Ott and halogen for coin viewing)

I love my cotton gloves

I love my Airtites

I love my Danscos

I love my Safe Deposit Box

 

But most of all, I love the Forums, for all the numismatic knowledge the members have shared, and NGC for providing for this important censorship-free resource!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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Most important numsmatic accessory: Very deep pockets. :D

 

Seriously....

I love my camera (Nikon D300 + 200mm Macro lens + tripod).

 

Mmmm...D300...yum, yum...

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Most important numsmatic accessory: Very deep pockets. :D

 

Seriously....

I love my camera (Nikon D300 + 200mm Macro lens + tripod).

 

Mmmm...D300...yum, yum...

 

hm Knowledge #1 accessory. =1776719-CS_member.jpg

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Either a homemade or commercial Photo Copy Stand.

I also built a raised dais to place the coins on to keep from spending 4 or 5 hours bent over-really helps the back. This allows one to sit up straight or even stand if they so desire.

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This may be so obvious that it doesn't need to be said, but I think that the first thing that a new collector should purchase is a Red Book.

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The AnMo DinoLite Digital Microscope seems to be the new must have item, especially for VAMs, varieties, die cracks, errors, etc.

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Having gone through many means of housing non certified coins, I have become a great fan of Eagle 2x2 rigid plastic holders and the pages that they slide in to. I've tried regular cardboard 2x2's, (gee...I wonder what ever happened to the colored ones...blues, green, pink..I'll bet THAT dates me), self sealing 2x2's with the adheasive, flips, Cointains, foam rings, Whitman plastic and so on, but while results have been generally quite good, I am a convert to the Eagle line of holders. If I was starting over, I use these from day 1. A bit pricy, but I think they are the best thing I've found.

 

RI AL

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I have to agree about the microscope. To detect varieties and stuff, this is an indespensible item. Mine was given to me from the science department of a school where I used to teach, it's kind of old but the coin views are great...especially when looking for really fine details.

 

RI AL

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One thing many folks overlook is a good stapler. I like the Max HD-50DF Flat Clinch Full Size Stapler. It's not a $3 stapler (costs about $25) but it never jambs and it flat clinches the staples so that coins aren't damaged by 2x2s rubbing together. If you're clinching with pliers you're wasting a LOT of time.

 

WH

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I would like to hear from anyone who has had a good experience with some coin inventory software. The ones I see on EBAY have links to PCGS prices, etc. I would like to hear from NGC folks on what software works best for NGC slabbed coins and collections in general. I have accumulated way too many coins, prrof sets, etc., and need some inventory software for insurance purposes.

 

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to reply,

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The NGC registry is a great tool for inventorying your slabbed coins and it gives you numismedia prices for insurance purposes. I have the rest of my collection inventoried using excel spreadsheet.

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I was wondering if a fireproof home safe would work well for storing and pretecting slabbed coins? However, if there is a fire, would the temperature inside the safe get hot enough to melt the slabs and ruin the coins. Does anyone have any knowledge about this issue?

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One thing many folks overlook is a good stapler. I like the Max HD-50DF Flat Clinch Full Size Stapler. It's not a $3 stapler (costs about $25) but it never jambs and it flat clinches the staples so that coins aren't damaged by 2x2s rubbing together. If you're clinching with pliers you're wasting a LOT of time.

 

WH

 

Very true. I love mine. You can find them a little cheaper on eBay.

 

 

Another excellent accessory is a simple hobby x-acto knife and replacement blades. They make popping open cardboard 2x2s, airtites, and other holders easy, and they're great for opening up packages too (carefully, of course). Actually, they're useful for about a million things, and they're cheap too.

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I recently bought 1 sentry .8 cubic foot fire safe (1 hour) and filled it up quickly, so I bought another. The interior is acceptable for mostly anything up to a certain extent (1 hour), I can fit almost 6 2x2 boxes across and 4 high, or 8 NGC boxes per safe. The safe isnt dial or key, there is a keypad.

 

Make sure when you get one, bolt it against the wall AND floor.

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I recently bought 1 sentry .8 cubic foot fire safe (1 hour) and filled it up quickly, so I bought another. The interior is acceptable for mostly anything up to a certain extent (1 hour), I can fit almost 6 2x2 boxes across and 4 high, or 8 NGC boxes per safe. The safe isnt dial or key, there is a keypad.

 

Make sure when you get one, bolt it against the wall AND floor.

You may want to check and see if you need desiccant or some other moister collector to protect your coins.

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I recently bought 1 sentry .8 cubic foot fire safe (1 hour) and filled it up quickly, so I bought another. The interior is acceptable for mostly anything up to a certain extent (1 hour), I can fit almost 6 2x2 boxes across and 4 high, or 8 NGC boxes per safe. The safe isnt dial or key, there is a keypad.

 

Make sure when you get one, bolt it against the wall AND floor.

You may want to check and see if you need desiccant or some other moister collector to protect your coins.

 

Yeah, I have one, they normally come with the safe...

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A nice mechanical scale with 0.01g accuracy and specific gravity capability. Link to Ohaus 310-00 scale.

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There are different levels of fire protection from different safes.

 

There are other companies, but Liberty (link below) makes some very high quality safes (and insurance companies are familiar with Liberty, at least mine was). The Lincoln model combines form and function, while some models at lower prices provide more than adequate protection. Other companies I am certain have quality safes as well, I just happened to have a local dealer making this practical for me.

 

http://www.libertysafe.com/safegallery.lasso

 

That said, some later poster indicates dessicant, and he/she was correct. The larger safe's can be purchased with dehumidifiers, to help protect coins and keep the environment inside the safe "safe" for them. Many safe deposit box rooms in banks are FAR FROM IDEAL for coin storage because they are actually HUMIDIFIED. Banks assume that many customers store precious documents (birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, cash, and other PAPER) and thus humidify the rooms. However, for coin collectors, this is a nightmarish environment.

 

When selecting a safe deposit box storage room at your bank, it may be important to find one that is: Not in a basement, that is NOT on an exterior wall that may be subject to weather conditions, that may not be on a top floor and subject to roof leaks, and after all those things, find out from the branch manager whether or not the vault where the safe deposit boxes are kept is humidified (most tellers won't know, or you cannot rely on their answers -- go right to the source).

 

So, could a fire still melt the contents of a home safe? Sure, if it burned long and hot enough. What you are buying with a safe is not only security, but time. If no one is home, or you live in a remote area, and thus it takes a while before fire crews arrive, that could mean a longer time before the fire is extinguished and thus your safe may reach beyond its protective limit.

 

This gets into the topic of insurance for your collection, whether you store it in a bank safe deposit box or at home in a safe or otherwise.

 

Imagine if you stored your collection in a bank safe deposit box in NEW ORLEANS just a couple years ago, and hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck, and your bank was literally under water for days, weeks or months. How would your precious or even PRICELESS collection fare? The same with a safe in your house! The (large) fireproof safes are RARELY waterproof. Some smaller safes (similar to one described that could be filled with just a couple NGC storage boxes) may be water and fireproof, but could be carried away by a thief. Even if bolted to wall or floor, could be pried off a floorboard.

 

Back to the fire or flood though and thus the need for insurance. If you are a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), you are eligible to purchase insurance at various levels of coverage and in different amounts through a group plan they have arranged through the Hugh Wood Agency in New York City, a policy underwritten by AXA, a reputable company.

 

Visit the ANA's web site at www.money.org

 

Before you stop and say "my homeowners will cover it" - think again, and check! Most homeowners insurance policies may cover a coin collection, to a maximum of $250, $500 or possibly $1,000 per loss. For many of us, that may be a single coin - never mind our collections! Also, unlike scheduling expensive jewelry items on your homeowners policy, most homeowners carriers have little to no experience with coin collections, and therefore, are either unwilling or if they ARE willing, will charge excessive premiums to do so. The policies you may obtain through the ANA group plan have options which can save you money if you keep your collection in a safe deposit box, or in a safe, have a security system, etc.

 

While you need not provide them with a complete list of your collection to purchase your policy, you WOULD need an inventory in the event of a loss to make a claim, which is only reasonable. They do require you to list with them any individual coin items that are worth in excess of $10,000 - another perfectly reasonable requirement.

 

There are plenty of ways to take inventory of your collection:

 

1. The NGC Registry is a start. It may not be comprehensive, but it is something!

2. Some people use Excel spreadsheets

3. Some people use a simple pen and paper

4. I've seen software advertised in Numismatic publications specifically designed to help take inventory of a coin collection. Specifically, I've seen the ads in Numismedia, the official publication of the ANA.

5. Personally, I use a Microsoft Access database which I can export to Excel, and I start with a graphic user inter-phase (GUI), with drop-down menus and so on such as:

 

a. Year of issue

b. Composition (Silver Bullion, Gold Bullion, Coin Silver, Clad, etc.)

c. Item Name (simple name like): 1976-S Proof Ike Dollar

d. Item Description (detailed such as): 1976-S Proof Ike Dollar, PR69 by NGC Serial Number 1234567-001

e. Face Value: $1.00 (U.S.)

f. Purchase Price: $25.00

g. Replacement Value: $40.00 (and I might base this on Numismedia, the PCGS Price Guide, or the Red Book, whatever you have that is available for the subject at hand, and whatever is favorable). Keep in mind that your insurer may use their OWN value in the event of a loss which may be different from yours. Also, when you tally the value of all your coins, it will help decide how much insurance to purchase, so realistic replacement estimates are important!

 

I know the topic was originally fire safes, but it REALLY does overlap into insurance, the two cannot be mutually exclusive.

 

 

I was wondering if a fireproof home safe would work well for storing and pretecting slabbed coins? However, if there is a fire, would the temperature inside the safe get hot enough to melt the slabs and ruin the coins. Does anyone have any knowledge about this issue?

61895-safe_lincoln.jpg.c8c00f84b94239484cad69248927745f.jpg

Edited by BULLY

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As a follow-up to my earlier post...

 

I was just thumbing through the "Money Market" (a catalog from the American Numismatic Association - ANA), and I found a couple of software programs for sale.

 

FIRST: I have no experience with either one of them, so I cannot comment on them.

 

SECOND: IF anyone here does have experience with them, perhaps they can comment.

 

THIRD: I read that opened DVDs and such may not be returned, thus my suggestion to ask around.

 

FOURTH: Two prices, one for members, one for NON-MEMBERS.

 

FIFTH: The catalog is available online at www.money.org

 

SIXTH: While I am an ANA member, I am not affiliated with the ANA in any official capacity so I am NOT endorsing these items, trying to sell them, nor do I necessarily recommend them. The topic was raised, and these seem to fit the subject at hand. Decide for yourself. As I mentioned, I have no experience with the items at all. In an earlier post, you may have seen that I use a self-created Microsoft Access database. I hope others have experience with either of these and perhaps can comment. I may even be interested myself. It might be nice to have a database that was actually created specifically for this, rather than my homegrown creation. Although Access costs more than these do, so....

 

Items for instance:

 

Coin Collector's Assistant Plus, by Carlisle Development Corp.

It says "...Features pricing provided by Coin World. Enter any US coin into the database including commemoratives, government sets, bullion, California gold, Hawaiian, and Colonial issues. Print custom reports and labels including want and sell lists. Load an unlimited number of coins and search across multiple fields including specification, purchase and sale information, condition, certification, inventory codes, notes and more. High quality pictures are included in the program - or upload your own photos. A status line at the bottom of the screen displays the total value of your collection. Pricing updates are available annually from Carlisle Development. Windows compatible." Item SU036 List Price $84.95 ANA Member Price $75.95

There is add on software available for US Currency and for World Coins. SU36C, SU36W

 

Special Combination Offers also available.

 

The other item is

Coin Keeper Deluxe Software by HobbySoft.

It says: The only software inventory program that combines a comprehensive database of US coins issued from 1793 to the present and the "Official A.N.A. Grading Standards for U.S. Coins" in one program. Enter coins with ease in the collection entry window and change or delete records as needed. More than 1,000 high quality images by grade help you to evaluate coins in your collection. Coin Keeper Deluxe tracks your collection with multiple reports based on value, sold and want lists or create custom reports. Software updates are available every January from HobbySoft with the current issues and market values. (PC ONLY)." Item number SU038 List Price $89.95, ANA Member Price $85.95

 

I would like to hear from anyone who has had a good experience with some coin inventory software. The ones I see on EBAY have links to PCGS prices, etc. I would like to hear from NGC folks on what software works best for NGC slabbed coins and collections in general. I have accumulated way too many coins, prrof sets, etc., and need some inventory software for insurance purposes.

 

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to reply,

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as far as loupes, schneider makes one for use with slides. However, most coins are about the same dimension as a photo slide and is highly corrected and precise. They come up on ebay from time to time and sell for 100-150.

 

I use a bausch and lomb triplet 10x which isn't ideal but gets the job done manly to look at the high points of the coin devices to check the strike.

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/469349-REG/Schneider_08_040200_10x_Platinum_Illuminated_Loupe.html

Edited by sinohog

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Thanks for the advice so far; insurance will certainly be an issue once my collection grows.

 

Most fire-proof safes also are designed to retain a certain amount of moisture as well. To help offset moisture with either safes at home or safety deposit boxes, I'm hanging onto the "do not eat this packet" dessicant packets that come with some electronics and other items; they are designed to absorb moisture. Also, I intend to certify any uncertified coin I have of reasonable value and condition for the added protection of a sealed, airtight container. Certifying fifty or a hundred coins worth $5 to $30 each might not be cost-effective, but coins worth $200 or more, carry personal sentimental value, or could grade exceptionally well are worth sending in. Membership in NGC's or PCGS' clubs can be purchased with five and eight included submissions respectively at a discount, making the cost of certification including mail run about $25 per coin.

 

I have already pulled all of my moderate value coins out of cardboard and PVC holders, switching them over to mylar flips. Some modern silver eagles I collected in the 1990s have already picked up slight toning, and one--naturally, the 1996, has tarnish spots.

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Either a homemade or commercial Photo Copy Stand.

I also built a raised dais to place the coins on to keep from spending 4 or 5 hours bent over-really helps the back. This allows one to sit up straight or even stand if they so desire.

 

Amen. If you are going to seriously photograph coins a good quality copy stand is a must.

 

My "secret setup" is a Canon 20D (someday I'll upgrade to a 50D) with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and a diffused Canon 420EX Speedlite mounted on a Kaiser RX-2-XA Copystand.

 

Here is the Kaiser info:

 

http://www.adorama.com/KRRS2XA.html

 

You can pay a little less or a LOT more but this is an excellent German engineered stand that will last for many years.

 

Also, especially if you are buying gold coins, a good quality digital scale is a must as it's the best way I know to detect counterfeits.

 

After throwing out two $100 Ohaus Chinese made digital scales that died after about a year of light use I finally found one that works great and actually lasts:

 

http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/jennings-jscale-jsvg40.aspx

 

The Jennings JSVG40 is more scale than most coin people will ever need and for about $90 it's a real bargain, especially as it comes with a 20 year warranty. Old Will Knot Scales is a good online vendor with fair prices and well packed fast shipping. I highly recommend them from personal experience.

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I was wondering if I was the only one thinking that. The red book was the 2nd thing I got, right after my 1st Morgan.

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