Collecting coins or Canadian paper money is a fun and fascinating hobby. Collecting paper money can be a bit more of a challenge than collecting coins in some respects. While coins are designed to last for many years, paper money is intended to be replaced after only a few. Not only can this make it more difficult to find collectible paper money in good condition, but it also means that there is more you have to do to preserve paper money in its current condition.
1. Avoid Exposure to Direct Sunlight
Ultraviolet radiation can be damaging to paper money, causing the colours to fade. To avoid this, store your paper money collection in a windowless room if you have one. If not, put it in a dark corner where the sunlight cannot penetrate.
2. Control the Heat and Humidity
Paper money is made of a porous material that can absorb moisture from the air. However, it isn’t made to contain water, so this could cause the ink to bleed and the paper to flake, curl, or crack. You need to control the humidity in the area where you store your collection, maintaining it between 30% and 50%. High temperatures can also damage paper money, so make sure that the temperature in the storage area never gets any higher than 23 degrees Celsius, or 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Display the Bills in Albums or Sleeves Designed for the Purpose
Money sleeves or sheets made of transparent Mylar are an excellent way to protect your collectible paper money while still being able to admire it from both sides. Mylar is known for being an airtight material that does not allow water droplets or pollutants to permeate. The sheets may have holes punched to one side so that you can store the sheets in a binder or album. Don’t use just any plastic document sleeve for storing money, however. PVC is an ingredient in sheets not made for storing money that can damage it.
Similarly, you can use an album with paper pages for storing your paper money collection if you don’t mind only displaying one side of it at a time. However, be sure to use acid-free paper if you go this route because exposure to acid can damage the bills.
4. Avoid Handling the Bills With Your Bare Hands
Storing the bills in Mylar sleeves allows you to admire them without having to handle them with your bare hands. When your skin makes contact with paper money, oil and moisture on your hands can cause the ink to smudge. Use gloves to handle the bills when you first put them in their album or protective sleeves or sheets, and be sure to wear them if you ever have to take the bills out again.
The material from which the gloves are made also makes a difference. It is recommended that you use gloves made of nitrile or soft cotton. Furthermore, handling the bills too often can cause them to deteriorate more quickly, even if you are wearing gloves, so only take them out when it is absolutely necessary to do so.
5. Keep Tabs on Your Collection
Make a critical inspection of your paper money collection on a regular basis, looking for any early signs of damage. These may be subtle and hard to spot, but that is why you hold regular inspections, to identify early signs of damage before it gets too severe. You may have to alter the storage conditions to prevent further damage.
Have you recently become interested in numismatics? Have you inherited a collection from someone else? Are you asking yourself questions such as, “Where can I find coin collecting supplies near me?” If so, look no further than Colonial Acres, where we carry supplies for collecting paper money as well as coins.