Do scratches reduce the value of my Coins and Bars?
The condition of a coin has great relevance to rare coin collectors and coins bought for their numismatic value. However by definition bullion Coins/Bars are valued by their Purity and Mass (weight) and have very little to no numismatic value.
Therefore for Bullion Investors the condition of a coin does not matter. However spotless shiny coins are naturally more appealing to most people compared to tarnished / scratched coins / bars. This means that well maintained coins / bars can be more liquid (easier to sell) in the secondary market.
Unless indicated otherwise all our coins are sealed in monster boxes from their respective Mints and are therefore in a good condition. However be aware that even freshly minted bullion coins might have small scratches from the production process. E.g. 99.99% Silver Canadian Maple Leafs in particular might have small scratches during the casting process. 99.9% American Eagles tend to be more uniform and scratch less likely.
Why does Silver tarnish?
Silver naturally reacts with hydrogen sulfide in the air to great a very thin layer of tarnish. Hydrogen sulfide can be found in items such as wool, fossil fuels, foods such as onions and eggs, and materials such as rubber, paint and latex and some small amount are naturally present in the air. High humidity climates, as prevalent in Singapore, will accelerate the tarnishing process. Depending on the finishing of the coins / bars this process might be faster or slower. American eagles tend to tarnish more slowly due to their finishing.
Does the tarnishing reduce the value of my coins / bars and should I polish the silver?
No. As for scratches the intrinsic value of bullion is not affected by tarnishing, however if it is important to you there are ways to greatly slow down the tarnishing process and remove tarnishing. However, from a bullion perspective you should not aggressively polish coins repeatedly as the process can remove the outer layer of the coin/bar which causes a small loss of silver which will make the coin / bar lighter and therefore reduce the value of the coin.
Reduce Tarnishing - Handling
If tarnishing is a big worry to you, use clean white cotton gloves when you handle pure silver coins / bars to reduce or prevent the oils on your fingers from staining the coins. This is how professional jewelers handle the diamond and gold jewellery. Tweezers with plastic tips are also good tools to pick up the coins with.
When examining your coins, lay them on a clean surface or on a piece of clean lint or velvet cloth to prevent the coins from picking up contaminants.
Reduce Tarnishing - Storing Silver
Place the tubes of coins or store coins in individual capsules and place them in a container with the carbon or "charcoal" that you can buy from the pet shops for fish tanks. This should help prevent tarnish as the carbon traps some of the hydrogen sulfide that causes tarnish.
Use silica gel along with the charcoal to prevent condensation and help can stop rust, mildew, corrosion and spoilage. Dehumidifiers are recommended for large storage of silver bullion.
Refrain from storing your silver coins in Zip Lock or plastic bags. If you place the silver coins in Zip Lock bags, they would rub against one another and might cause abrasive marks to develop on the surface of the coins. Another reason is that the material used for storing the notes and coins should be acid-free. Thus we should not use PVC material as it traps moisture and releases acidic gases.
Please remember, bullion coins are coins that are produced out of precious metals and are typically sold to investors. Even though bullion coins have a denomination and are legal tender in the country from which they were minted, their value is determined by the spot price of their metal content on the world market, rather than the collector or numismatic value.