As you can see by my previous posts it has been a pretty busy summer. I’ll be honest with you that was actually not as busy as some previous years. When I first really started getting into the hobby about 5-6 years ago I would spend every weekend driving to a different part of New Jersey collecting all the coins listed on the Pennycollector.com website for the state. It kept me busy and I enjoyed every minute of it, but my car definitely paid a toll. Have you ever driven on the New Jersey Turnpike? Suspension and tire destroyer is all I will say.
Now that the summer has come and gone my vacation days at work have disappeared for another year. This is always a great time to try to get all my recent coin acquisitions organized and stored properly for their permanent display. I usually try to do this within a few days of coming back from a collecting mission, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen and they start to pile up.
This is purely my process and everyone should try out different methods and pick what works best for you. I’m a little (ok a lot) anal retentive when it comes to this part but thought it would be beneficial to walk you through it anyways.
In addition to this blog I also have a website where I keep my penny collection listed with a map of the US and Canada showing all the places I have collected coins from and others still undiscovered. First I always take my new pennies and scan them into my computer so I can eventually add them to the website. With that done I then take each coin and use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe away any smudges, dirt or fingerprints. You can Google other ways to clean the coins, I usually only used brilliant uncirculated pre-1982 coins (we will discuss this in more detail in another post) so most of my pennies are already pretty clean and don’t require any major cleaning procedures.
I then place each coin in a cardboard 2×2 coin holder. These can be purchased in most coin collecting stores, and definitely online. A fellow TEC Member Oded Paz (and former President of TEC) sells a lot of really high quality collecting supplies and I’ve used him in the past, he really is great to work with. You can check out his website at http://www.odedpaz.com. They usually come in packages of 50 or 100 and are pretty cheap. I usually try to stock up on them once a year so I always have them on hand.
Another necessity is a flat clinch stapler and staples to lock the coin in place in the cardboard holder. As you can see from the picture above this avoids the bending of the staples and keeps everything nice and flat. Next I use my computer to create custom labels for each coin. I used to just hand write them but I quickly realized that I have terrible handwriting so using the computer was a much better option. When I first started doing this I had gone through a few different ink-jet printer labels before I found the one that fit my needs. Usually it is listed as “Return Address” label but the size is usually 1/2″ x 1 3/4″.
There are many different types and I usually just buy a big package of whatever is the cheapest. All computer word processors come with templates for each of these labels and you just need to locate the correct one. Then I start typing in the information. Usually across the top of the label I list the State abbreviation and then the location and a number if more than one machine was at that location. For example when I visited Sesame Place which is in Pennsylvania and had three machines I used the following for the first machine “PA – Sesame Place #1”. Then I leave a blank line and following that I give a brief description of the image on the coin.
Once I have the labels created on my computer I just print them out and stick them on. In most cases I want to make sure the entire coin is visible through the cardboard holder so I cut the label in half so the location is listed at the top and the design description across the bottom. Then I place each one into a 20 pocket 2×2 coin page for three-ring binders. Now an important note about these pages. There are a lot of cheap ones available online, however you want to make sure you find ones that do not have the harmful PVC in them. Then I store these pages in large three-ring binders that I buy at my local office supply store. Usually I get 3-inch binders for most of my collecting, but I do have special binders just for Walt Disney World which has a lot of coins so I get a larger 4 or 5 inch binder to accommodate.
Each of my binders usually contains two to three states worth of coins only just to try to help keep them organized and make it easy to add additional coins in the future. Each binder always has a section at the back for retired designs. Anytime a location updates their machine with new pennies I make a new label with the above process however I add “Retired 2014” or whatever the year is that the design was removed. These go at the back so I can keep all the retired designs together. I also like to create special binder spine labels that list each state contained in that binder, and I also try to design a cover that includes some of the penny designs collected.
Once all the coins have been stored in their appropriate binder I have small bookshelves in my basement that I keep them all together. The bookshelves are right beside my office desk that I use when doing all the above so everything is within arms length when needed.
I won’t get into the details of how I add the pictures of the coins to my website as is can get a little technical and I barely understand the process myself. But feel free to stop by and check it out: www.DavidsCoinTravels.com. I primarily use it for my own cataloging purposes. Every so often I do receive coins from other collectors or friends that know I collect them and find some on their own travels. These are always appreciated but I usually don’t list them directly on my website as I keep that purely for just the coins I have personally collected. I always like to see where I’ve gone and the places I still need to visit. It’s a big country and I’ve got a lot of exploring still to do.
10 thoughts on “Storage and Organization of Penny Collection”
Pingback: davidscointravels Office Tour | David's Coin Travels
This helped me so much!!! Pressing pennies has been a pretty serious hobby of mine for quite a while, and I’ve accumulated a decent amount, but have been trying to figure out how to store them for ages! Thank you for sharing, it has helped.
Wonderful I’m so glad it helped. I know for ages I was just using the smaller plastic penny booklets you find at the theme parks and attraction gift shops but when they only store 24 pennies at a time those booklets start to pile up. Once I finally started using the 2×2 cardboard flips and binders they become much more organized and I find I go through and look at them all more often. Good luck with your collection!!
DO YOU CATALOG your collection so you know what you have or are missing?
I used to keep them all cataloged in spreadsheets. Initially, I had one for each US State, and then separate ones for Disney, Universal, or other places that had lots of penny designs. Unfortunately, that quickly got outdated. I did also purchase some coin collecting software that I tried to use but most of the info it asked for really didn’t pertain to pressed coins and was more for standard “unpressed” collections so it didn’t work well for my purpose. For the most part, now I find that the Disney designs I’m pretty good at remembering the ones I have and only need to press the newly released designs. There are some older retired Disney designs that I have a separate “wish list” for that I check with periodically for listings on eBay or if someone contacts me with a bunch of coins they are looking to sell. I also keep pictures of my collection on my website so I can easily pull up pictures of the machines and designs at the places I’ve already visited to see if I already have that set or not.
Do you have a system that works well? I’m always looking for suggestions.
I have been working on a spreadsheet based off of the Penny Collector site. As you are aware its cumbersome and hard to update. I have 1000s of pennies and I am trying to obtain as many as possible. Its something I do with my oldest Granddaughter. I have her every Sunday and we do pennies. I wish there was an app or even a way to use what the Penny Collector has as a have/need spreadsheet.
This is the most frustrating part about collecting them, along with so many discontinued. If I had a wish list, there would be an app that you could take a picture of your coin and it would add it to what you have and subtract from what you are missing. It would also be amazing to have an app that when traveling you could see what machines are along your journey.
Thanks for your response,
Has anyone used the “Penny Adventurer?” book from Pennybanz? I saw it and thought it looked promising. I have a smaller collection.
I did pick one up just to check it out and I maybe should make a post just going over it since it is a bit unique. I can see it being useful for certain collectors as it has a nice pouch inside for extra change to be pressed, then some pages to store the pressed coins afterward. There aren’t too many pages to store the coins so I’m thinking it may be more of temporary use while you are out collecting or on a vacation. The bulk of the book is journal-like pages to document where you went, the date, and details on the trip/coin. It doesn’t really fit my personal style of collecting but I do like some of the additional features that you don’t find in the other more standard penny booklets.
Thanks for the great article, David. I’m going to organize my pennies like this and was wondering how many pages fit in a 3″ binder? I want to buy nice binders and am trying to determine how many I’ll need. Thanks again.
Thank you so much, I’m glad to hear it gave you some ideas for your own collection. I have mostly 4″ binders and they hold about 30 of those pages when filled with 2×2 flips and coins. A 3″ binder I would guess probably would hold 15-20 pages. You can sometimes squeeze a few more in there, but when the pages are loaded up with coins they do take up quite a bit of room. If you have any other questions please let us know.