Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Moisture and your coins

Years back, I never gave moisture a second thought. I should have - my safe was located in our basement and that basement certainly got musty, but I never thought about the contents of the safe. I guess I was lucky - I remember some wheat cents corroding, but it wasn't even that many of those and nothing else was harmed.

Still, I read that dire consequences can befall your coins if you don't prevent high humidity. That worried me, so I started investigating.

My first concern was my safe deposit boxes. That's where everything really valuable is and it's also where I have the least control over conditions. The vault is on the same floor as the teller area and is air conditioned, so I feel that's probably fairly safe, but people do recommend desiccant.

My home safe, which only has papers and low value coins, also needs desiccant.  There is more need here than at the bank, because we almost never run air conditioning. We have central air, but neither my wife nor I like it, so it takes really brutal conditions to get us to turn it on. Therefore, the safe definitely needs protection.

But what to get?  The most common form of desiccant is that "blue indicating" silica gel and apparently there are some health concerns with that:

Cobalt Chloride has been classified by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) in Group 2B. Which states Cobalt Chloride is possibly carcinogenic to humans. Very toxic to aquatic organisms. May cause long term adverse effects in the environment.
I found an "orange indicating" silica gel at Amazon:

Is that safer? I don't know, but I ordered one.

But will that be enough?  I found this "Use Silica Gel and Desiccants for Maximum Results"  which says I'd need about 60 grams for the safe.  The box I ordered is 40 grams, so I guess I'll need another or will need to regenerate it more often.   I think I'll just try the one first and see how often it needs to be baked.

That article also points out that regenerating requires many hours in an oven.  That could be inconvenient, especially in the summer.  Inexpensive as it is, buying these to throw away without regenerating seems very wasteful and offensive, but I might just buy a few more and save regeneration for the winter months.

Note:  All my coins are in a safe deposit box.  I keep nothing in my home. 

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