There are many movies about pirates and treasures: they came into a dark cave where the level of humidity is above the maximum, find an old wooden chest full of perfectly shiny golden coins that are more than a few hundred years old, then pirates grab those coins with their dirty hands and at the end of a movie after many adventures, all coins are still perfectly shiny. Well, that happens only in movies. The reality is quite the opposite.
If you want to enjoy your collection and make it worthy, you must to invest a lot of time in properly taking care of every coin. There are plenty of rules on how coins should be cleaned, stored and handled. Take time to learn about caring for your coins because improper care could highly affect the value of your coins.
First of all, be careful with every coin and don’t touch them with dirty hands. Even more important is to not allow anyone else to touch your coins, because it is always healthier to a coin to watched but not touched. Oils, dirt, acids from your skin, sweat, food particles, and grease are harmful to coins. Old coins do not have any specific protection as the modern ones, as a result, the metal can react chemically and cause some darker spots on a surface and reduce their value radically. It is important to hold a coin by the edge while placing it between your index finger and thumb to avoid the interaction between your skin and metal. This is more important for old coins, but you might take it as a good habit of a coin collector. If you are not able to wash and disinfect your hands, then wear gloves. They should be soft cotton gloves but not ordinary gloves you wear daily while going outside during the winter. The top-level collectors always wear special gloves when handling any valuable coin, but it is not necessary if your hands are clean and you hold the coin properly as described above.
If a coin must be taken out of the special storage box and put to any other place, make sure the surface is soft, not oily, dirty and without sharp edges. Do not put old coins on any metal or stone surface and avoid the interaction with other coins or chemical substances. Do not scratch the coin with a nail, pen or knife because the surface will be damaged. Be sure to not ever drag or scrape your coins across any hard surface.
It is recommended to wear a mask while handling old coins in your hands. This is not a necessity. However, if a coin is very old and you sneeze on it, the moisture of your mouth can cause darker spots or even rusts, as a result, that coin would be damaged, and its value would be lost. Sometimes, the moisture of speaking or breathing could be enough to make a bad impact on old coins. As it was mentioned above, wearing a mask should be taken as prevention. However, it would be another good habit of a collector because some damages of moisture cannot be noticed right away.