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Collector's Corner: Accessories - Storing - Packaging - Appraisal - Grading



Storing And Filing Your Collection



Different collectors may have their own system for filing. Here you will learn one simple way to organize your banknotes, making it easy to store newly acquired notes and to recall already existing ones.

Before handling any banknotes make sure your hands are clean and dry.

Each note should be well protected, placed in some type of plastic holder that allows for display of both the front and back of the note. These plastic holders come as either sleeves or sheets.

Plastic sleeves are like those of photo albums; they can have up to six different pockets, each pocket designed to hold one item (a photo, baseball card, banknote, etc.). These sleeves are then inserted into either a three ring binder or a special binder for currency. Although these special binders may seem attractive, they tend to be expensive.

Storing your notes using single sleeves is also a viable option. These sleeves come in a variety of sizes and offer great protection for your notes. They may be sealed along three edges, allowing access through the top, or only two adjacent sides, so you can gently pull the sleeve open. If you decide on sleeve storage, you can organize your banknotes by country and keep them in drawers or boxes.

To decide between sheets and sleeves consider the following:
1. Which method will allow you to easily add to your collection?
2. Which method will be easiest to recall the existing notes?
3. Which method is best in protecting your notes?

The answers to these questions lead me to recommend keeping your notes in sleeves and storing them in drawers or boxes.

There are two different types of plastic holders: PVC and Mylar. Deciding which to use is VERY IMPORTANT as it may have an affect on your notes; the wrong kind of plastic may actually destroy your notes and not protect them.

PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) can be very harmful to your banknotes. After 20-50 years of storage in a plastic product made of PVC, paper products dehydrate and become brittle; upon touching them they disintegrate. Thus, you should never store your banknotes in plastic containing PVC.

Plastic holders made of MYLAR or MYLAR equivalent are the safest for storing your notes. They will not react with your banknotes, or any paper products for that matter, and will keep your banknotes well protected.

When purchasing your plastic holders, make sure to ask whether they contain PVC. If the person you are purchasing from is unwilling to offer this information or does not know, try to find out for yourself. One way to tell is the smell: if the holder has a strong plastic smell, it probably contains PVC. If it does not smell strongly of plastic, chances are it is made of MYLAR or an equivalent.

Storing each individual note properly is important in maintaining its condition, so be very selective when choosing your materials.

Once all your notes are protected in plastic, organize them in order of country, date or design. I recommend arranging them by country as this allows very easy recall. Place all your Italy notes together in one pile, your Egypt notes in another pile, and so on. These piles should then be organized alphabetically so that Argentina precedes Bahrain which precedes Cuba.

Next, within each country, arrange the notes in order of pick number: P1a before P1b, P1 before P2, and so on. If you have more than one of any particular note, pack them together and label the envelope with the appropriate information (country, pick number, quantity of the note). Your banknotes can then be placed as you have arranged them in either an album, a drawer, or a cardboard box. Make sure adjacent countries are separated from each other with obvious dividers. These dividers can be as simple as a piece of cardboard that is taller than your notes.

Each container in which you have placed your notes should be labeled with the country names it contains. Precise labeling makes recalling or adding to your collection very easy. If you have filled one box completely with a certain country and obtain additional notes for that country, you may begin a new box but be sure to label each box with the appropriate pick numbers it contains.

Always be very careful when handling the containers in which you have stored your notes. Some tips that will insure the safety of your notes include:

Always handle the notes within a box with the greatest caution.
Never hold a box using only one hand.
Never handle more than one box at a time.
Do not overcrowd your boxes as this may damage the notes inside.
Do not pack the boxes too loosely, either, as this also poses a danger to your notes.
Keep your notes away from heat, humidity, liquids, and children.

Whenever anyone views your collection, make sure you explain how fragile and valuable these banknotes are and that they should be handled with the greatest care. People may want to take the notes out of their holders; kindly object, explaining that even the slightest direct contact may cause damage to the notes. Minimize the amount of time your notes spend outside of their protective holders.