By Mike Fuljenz
As Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolina coast in September 2018, we are reminded of Hurricane Harvey moving through Texas in 2017; Hurricane Rita in September 2005; and the hurricane that sank the SS Central America on September 12, 1857, causing a financial panic that year, but providing America with a treasure trove of classic gold coins this year.
Now that hurricane season is reaching its seasonal peak in 2018, it is timely to remind collectors and investors that rare coins and other valuables survived Hurricane Harvey and other disasters intact if they were stored in bank safe-deposit boxes, but some were lost if they were stored in private homes.
When you store coins and other valuables in bank safe deposit boxes, try to select a box from the mid-point (waist level) to the top of the room so that your valuables can escape any water damage that might leak in. You should be aware that PCGS and NGC coin holders are not airtight or completely waterproof. So it pays to select as high a box as you can rent. If your coins do get damaged by water, do not attempt to clean them. Consult with a reputable dealer on what prudent actions should be taken.
Owning gold is important, but owning gold can come with a big challenge: keeping it safe. Criminals love to steal gold. It’s a large amount of value in a small, easy-to-conceal package. It’s relatively hard to trace and easy to sell.
For maximum protection, store valuables in a bank safe deposit box. I’ve never personally known of anyone losing coins stored in a safe deposit box. But keep mum about the bank box, and don’t be predictable about visits to the bank. Experienced coin dealers know to vary their routine and make bank visits at different times and by different routes each time.
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, don’t leave valuables in your home where looters can get at them in the chaotic aftermath of a storm. Remember the TV footage of rampaging looters after Katrina and other hurricanes. Some local banks were closed after these monster storms, but within 60 days people were able to get to their valuables from their safe deposit boxes.
Some gold owners mistrust banks and elect to keep their gold close at hand in a home safe or buried in the backyard. But be forewarned: Many buried tubes leak over time, and there are risks associated with having large amounts of gold around the house.
In consultation with numerous law enforcement agencies, here are common-sense ways to protect your valuables, yourself, and your family.
Want to receive COINage magazine in your mailbox or inbox? Subscribe today!