Safety of Cardboard Coin Storage Boxes?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Publius2, Jul 3, 2022.

  1. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    What are the community's thoughts regarding the safety of those cardboard coin storage boxes sold through Wizard and CoinSupplyExpress? These are the ones that hold 2x2s and slabs. Some are generic and some are Lighthouse brand. Any difference there?

    I tend to be suspicious of paper products around my coins unless the paper is acid-free or listed as "archival" quality.
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  3. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Hey brother can you spare a half dime?

    I use the double slab type boxes...I purchased them at Wizard coin and have never had issue 1. These come in several colors red,black, blue,green,and tan... I keep all my h-10's in two of the double slab boxes, and I actually need need another one at present. One of the local dealers buys bulk lots from Wizard and sells them at his show. He sells a ton of them...sometimes sells out of his inventory at the show.
  4. ewomack

    ewomack 魚の下着

    I've also used the Lighthouse Interceptor boxes for slabs and have also never had a problem with them. The product description at Wizard Coin Supply claims: "Intercept Shield acts as a neutralizing agent cleansing the air around the coin protecting it from the harmful effects of corrosion."
    micbraun and MIGuy like this.
  5. MIGuy

    MIGuy Well-Known Member

    Like @ewomack, I use the Lighthouse Intercept boxes from Wizard Coin Supply. I have them for slabs and 2x2 flips. I also use the Lighthouse albums. The Lighthouse box description includes the following: "Archival quality box provides ACTIVE protection against tarnishing thanks to the INTERCEPT® material inside. 

    Each box is equipped with INTERCEPT TECHNOLOGY  material which purifies the atmosphere inside the box. The box is suitable for the storage and preservation of coins made of cooper, bronze, silver or gold. " More information here -

    I haven't had any issues and feel better knowing they use inert materials and are archival quality with the Intercept corrosion protection. They also aren't very expensive which is pretty great in my view.
    Fritz Scott and ewomack like this.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    And you should be for it is proven harmful because paper and cardboard products are laced with sulfur. Unless they state flat out that the product is made of archival quality material then it's a pretty safe it isn't.
  7. Mac McDonald

    Mac McDonald Well-Known Member

    Maybe I've been lucky...I dunno...but have stored hundreds of coins in various "carboard" storage boxes...the ones for 2x2 holders (commonly stapled) either likewise of cardboard or the 2x2 plastic Whitman snap-tite holders...for over 60 years without a problem. Some have been the cheaper thin-wall boxes with taped corners and white lids/covers, and some have been the more sturdy boxes with red-lid/covers...not sure of brands, etc.
  8. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    I appreciate the responses. Since I posted I've been doing some research and while certainly not definitive nor expert, I've drawn some tentative conclusions that, I believe, may help to reconcile the conflicting accounts of our experienced and knowledgeable respondents.

    1) The terms "archival" and "acid-free" are thrown around marketing efforts pretty loosely and generally seem to be equivalents in coin product circles. But they are not equivalent. In order to be "archival" quality, a paper product must be made of rag paper and meet certain ANSI and ISO standards. All other products that are made of wood pulp and are labeled "acid-free" may or may not meet the other standards that govern wood-based "archival" paper products. But a paper-based "acid-free" product must have a neutral or slightly acid pH and contain a buffering compound that neutralizes the hydrochloric acid gas released when the lignin in the paper degrades. So, most "art paper" that you buy for making labels and such that is acid-free will probably contain these buffering compounds. The best paper to use is a rag-based "archival" paper, bar none since there is no lignin to degrade at all.

    2) Who knows what companies like Lighthouse mean when they say their Intercept boxes are made of "archival" materials. Somehow, I doubt it meets the rag paper standard. (I mean no disrespect to Lighthouse or their undoubtedly fine products and I'm not singling them out except that their statements are useful for making a point.) Lighthouse states that their Intercept Shield technology protects against the dangers of paper breakdown so it may be a moot point whether their paper products are rag or wood based. Other products with wood-based paper and without the Intercept Shield technology are probably more hazardous to your coins, but how much more hazardous?

    3) The off-gassing that comes from wood-based paper is from the degradation of the lignin in the wood base. Take UV light, moisture, and heat and the lignin can break down very quickly. For example, the cheap newsprint paper turns yellow in hours if you let the paper sit in your driveway for a day. But of these three elements, the one that is the worst is the UV in sunlight (or any other light source but sunlight has a very strong UV component). The other two, humidity and heat, just accelerate the process of lignin breakdown and development of hydrochloric gas.

    4) Chlorine in the paper comes primarily from the bleaching process. Sulfides can come from the paper-making process as well as well as from glues, dyes, tapes, inks in addition to the general atmosphere.

    5) I take @GDJMSP at his word that he has witnessed damage from improper storage around and in improper materials. But I also take the word and experience of other responders that they have used un-certified products for decades without damage to their coins. How can this be? Well, I suspect it comes from a difference in how the products were stored. Keep these non-archival materials away from UV light, heat and moisture and they will not degrade at a significant rate at all and thus won't accumulate harmful chemicals at a rate/concentration that won't be flushed away when the box is opened. Those that keep their coins at home in a safe with a desiccant are, generally, going to look at their coins more often than those who are keeping them in a safe deposit box. Conditions in both locations are usually temperature controlled and both limit UV light effectively, but the safe deposit box will often (usually?) not have a desiccant and will be flushed less often.

    What, you may ask, am I now going to do after creating all this verbal mush? I am going to invest in some Lighthouse slab boxes with the Intercept Shield technology for my storage locations where the size of the Lighthouse boxes can be accommodated. In my other storage locations where space doesn't permit Lighthouse, I will continue to use the "non-archival" boxes but continue my practices of desiccant use and frequent flushing. One additional change though will be to eliminate paper document storage and make it separate from coin storage. The same basic reason why you shouldn't store your coins where you store your guns.

    Thanks again for everyone's thought-provoking responses.
  9. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor Supporter

    Look on Amazon for Lovimag copper foil tape. Jim
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
    MIGuy and CoinCorgi like this.
  10. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    I use the same double boxes with a layer of shipping tape around the outside cover for strength. I also use 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" flips with various capsules, 2x2 flips, or whatever inside them, and my own printed label in the flip. These fit nicely along with the slabs and work well for raw coin storage.
    Paddy54 likes this.
  11. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    When it comes to coin storage and what happens to the coins, nothing is absolute when it comes to results. This is largely because of all the variables involved, and there are literally thousands of variables. And just one of them is the coins themselves. But every single home has thousands of different variables inside that home, as well as outside it, that affect if, and how coins tone.

    For example, thousands of collectors have used the various cardboard coin albums. And though the album is kept in the same place, and it contains many different coins, some, stress some, of those coins in that album acquire very attractive toning, while other coins even of the exact same type or series and same date and mint, seeming don't tone at all or very, very little. And yet other coins in that exact same album acquire very ugly and or unsightly toning. And all of this happens in the exact same album, stored in the exact same place. And when it comes to the timing of the toning for these coins all in the same album - even that can be grossly different. Some may tone very quickly, others very, very slowly, and yet others seemingly not at all. Some collectors even seek out and buy these albums specifically because they do, they are well known, for doing exactly what I've described above.

    Given this, and anybody who's been collecting coins for any amount of time at all knows that what I've said above is true, of course there are going to be examples of the same kind of thing happening to coins stored the various cardboard coin boxes. Some are going to tone nicely, some not at all, and some will get ugly toning.

    The reason that we try, or should try anyway, to avoid using paper and cardboard products that contain sulfur and various other chemicals that are known to be harmful to coins is because there is a very good chance that you will end up with your coins getting that ugly and or unsightly toning that you do not want ! Sure, you might avoid it, but are you willing to gamble and take that chance ? And that's exactly what it is - a gamble.

    For every person who says they've used various cardboard and paper products for coin storage and not had any problems, and yeah they're telling the truth, there are 10 others who have had problems from using them. This is why 80% or more of all older coins have been dipped at least once in their lifetimes. They are/were dipped to remove all that ugly/unsightly toning caused by collectors using cardboard and or paper products. And/or other improper storage methods.

    All of this is why products like Intercept Shield, silica gel packs, hard plastic coin holders, and quite a few others were even invented, sell like hotcakes and are used by thousands. It's all done to try and prevent ugly toning on coins.

    What each collector does is his or her choice but don't try and fool yourself into thinking that it doesn't happen just because there some it doesn't happen to. It most definitely happens ! It has always happened and collectors have long struggled to find ways to stop it.
  12. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Hey brother can you spare a half dime?

    I also believe that its environmental as to where you live climate wise...however my two safes are on the upper floor of my home. Not in the garage,or basement. I've never had issues in either safe. Now as what Doug said as to certain albums or boxes. My old just found Whitman albums has made a mess out of most of the coins. TG they were not anything most have vergis,and more carbon spots.
    As I purchased in 1968 and 69 PDS nickels. Like 2 rolls of each. Now the coins i put in tubes are fine.
    No vergis,no carbon spots. ...which has me wondering why? As the tubes are from the late 50's and early 60's where most haf pvc in the plastic. 1 of the tubes thas caps on each end....that I've never sen before....
  13. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    I think I've had more problems with the slabs themselves rather than the storage method, but I try to open boxes on a regular routine just to air them out while I enjoy viewing the coins. Stale air couldn't be any good thing.
    Mike Thornton likes this.
  14. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    If the container isn't offgassing, I'd expect it to be the other way around. In "stale" air, the box contents react with the reactive stuff and use it up, and then it's inert air. But, like Doug said, "it depends" -- on what's in the box, on what the box is made of, and what's in the "fresh" air.

    Also, I don't think any of these boxes are actually airtight, so it may not matter.
    Kentucky likes this.
  15. rmpsrpms

    rmpsrpms Lincoln Maniac


    You certainly don't want the coins to come in direct contact with cardboard of any kind (eg albums), but if they are in 2x2's they are decently protected.
  16. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    Good read
  17. whopper64

    whopper64 Well-Known Member

    I use Lighthouse Intercept boxes for miscellaneous slabs and flips, as well as mint and proof sets. Haven't had any problems but then again one big factor is that I live in the desert southwest where it is hot and dry (low humidity). I do keep all my coins in a closet converted to shelves with coins only. Controlled humidity and temps via central air, and no light either.
  18. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    While giving them some fresh air, consider giving them some water and sunlight too.
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  19. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Randy Abercrombie and Kentucky like this.
  20. Mike Thornton

    Mike Thornton Learning something new everyday. Supporter

    Come on now. You know "air them out" is just excuse for your obsession. I'll admit I take mine out just to reorganize, enjoy and simply look and play with them. Don't be ashamed. There are far worse obsessions, right?:happy:
    Cliff Reuter likes this.
  21. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    The inside of my safe smells like Luther,s air change can't be a Bad idea.
    Mike Thornton likes this.
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