By Peter Mosiondz, Jr. for CoinWeek….
Would you like to keep your coin collection safe and save money at the same time? Sure. Who wouldn’t?
I have my coin collection on a separate insurance policy from my homeowner policy. I pay a much lower premium with my collectibles insurance company than I would pay my home insurer. And, when I notified the company that I obtained a burglar resistant safe they reduced my premium another five percent. They also increased the limit on the value I could keep at home in the safe.
Before rushing out to buy a safe, think a few things over very carefully.
A tiny, lightweight safe can easily be carried off or wheeled away on a small hand truck. There’s nothing wrong with buying a safe of this size if that’s what the budget allows, but make certain it can be bolted to the floor and that it’s burglar resistant, as opposed to, say, fire resistant. Let me explain.
A burglar-resistant safe, especially one rated at TL-15, is much more difficult for anyone to force open than a fire-resistant safe. In addition, a fire-resistant safe, in the event of fire heat exceeding 2000° Fahrenheit, will expel chemicals inside itself that are very harmful to coins. When contemplating a safe, also look for steel fabrication and a high-quality lock. I prefer the combination lock but the choice is yours.
In most instances a safe is a one-time purchase, the cost of which will eventually be recouped by lower insurance premiums. My home office safe has already repaid its modest cost.
Although my coins are on a separate collectibles insurance policy, I did want to have some added security at home and save some money on my homeowner policy as well. I had a home burglar alarm system installed and what piece of mind it provides! I insisted on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week central station monitoring. I opted to spend a few extra dollars up front to incorporate a fire alarm in the system. I was most pleased to see my homeowner premium get reduced by 10 percent. With the police station only a half-mile away, the intruder has no chance here.
Some collectors may desire a safe deposit box at their bank. Ask questions on the fire issue that we raised as well as whether the bank insures you in the event of theft or loss. In addition, you pay an annual fee for the box rental. In my area a decent-sized box can cost $60 or more per year.
If you decide to have the box at the bank, make a detailed inventory of the contents of the box and keep it with your purchase receipts. If you have a computer you can devise an Excel® spreadsheet. This tip pertains also to your coins if they are stored in a home safe. Handle the removal and return of your box by yourself. Don’t put temptation in anyone’s path. Once you inquired about the environmental issues, you may decide to place a packet of silica gel in your box. One negative is that your access is limited by the bank’s hours of operation.
Here are a few other safety and security tips:
1) Get a post office box and have Canadian Coin News and other hobby publications and lists sent there. This would include price lists, auction catalogs and anything pertaining to coins, including the coins themselves.
2) Use deadbolt locks at home.
3) Use timers on your lights when away and think about outside solar-powered lights to illuminate your doorway and driveway at night.
4) If your answering machine states that “no one is home at the present time”, change it at once to something less revealing such as “I am unable to answer your call right now”. By saying that you’re not home you may as well give a potential thief an engraved invitation to visit you.
5) Keep the fact that you are a coin collector secret from all but close family members. You never know!
6) Ask any visitors and repair people that you do not know for their identification.
7) Digital cameras have come down tremendously in price lately. Consider photographing your better coins or scanning them if you own a scanner. This helps tremendously in the event of an insurance claim.
All of these precautions and suggestions are not meant to put a scare into you and make you wonder why you ever got involved in the hobby. On the contrary, a bit of preventative medicine goes a long way to piece of mind and enjoyment of this most fascinating hobby of ours. Who was it that said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? And another point to consider is the added security for your family.
Until next time, stay well and enjoy your hobby.