Best way to 'prepare' silver bars for storage

MrNobody

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Hello all,

Sorry for the newbie post, but it is info that I can't quite get a 100% answer on in searching the web and prior forum posts. Not saying it isn't there, just saying I have yet to stumble across the answer.

Okay, question is this. If I am the hypothetical owner of a silver bar and would like to store it in a closet or maybe a safety deposit box at a local bank, should I take steps to wrap it before hand to slow/eliminate tarnishing due to exposure to oxygen?

I've seen mention of wrapping the bar in plastic wrap and/or putting it into a ziplock bag, but I wonder about putting the surface of the bar into contact with random plastics. Is that the right way to go, or do the experienced owners have a better way of protecting their silver bars? I'm assuming gold is okay to just wrap in a soft cloth?

Thanks to all who read and respond!
 

Jay

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Hello all,

Sorry for the newbie post, but it is info that I can't quite get a 100% answer on in searching the web and prior forum posts. Not saying it isn't there, just saying I have yet to stumble across the answer.

Okay, question is this. If I am the hypothetical owner of a silver bar and would like to store it in a closet or maybe a safety deposit box at a local bank, should I take steps to wrap it before hand to slow/eliminate tarnishing due to exposure to oxygen?

I've seen mention of wrapping the bar in plastic wrap and/or putting it into a ziplock bag, but I wonder about putting the surface of the bar into contact with random plastics. Is that the right way to go, or do the experienced owners have a better way of protecting their silver bars? I'm assuming gold is okay to just wrap in a soft cloth?

Thanks to all who read and respond!
most of us have have more problems with salt water corrosion...
 

pmbug

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Hi MrNobody, welcome to the forum. :wave:

Silver is one of the least reactive elements in the periodic table. At moderate temperatures, neither water or oxygen will cause silver to react chemically. Silver oxide may be formed at extreme temperatures, or from exposure to low levels of ozone.

The black finish that appears on silver items is a result of common atmospheric pollutants. Commonly called tarnish, this coating is silver sulfide, which is formed slowly as the silver is exposed to airborne sulfur compounds. ...
http://goldenstatemint.com/blog/2012/06/29/what-causes-silver-to-tarnish/

...
What Causes Silver To Tarnish? The presence of Hydrogen Sulfide in any material that silver comes into contact with, is one of the prime reasons for silver tarnish. Sulfur containing materials generally cause silver to tarnish and Hydrogen Sulfide is just one of these. Materials like wool, rubber bands, fuels derived from fossils, a few types of paints and rubber (latex) gloves are some of the common materials that cause tarnishing of silver. Certain foods like eggs and onions also hasten the silver tarnish process. You can therefore realize that, touching silver jewelry with oily hands or after a meal could also stain your silver jewelry with tarnish. The extent and speed with which your silver jewelry tarnishes is also related to the climate and in general, high humidity would result in silver tarnishing much faster.
...
http://www.newsletter.kaijewels.com/silver-tarnish.htm

Use cotton gloves when handling silver and store in an air tight container (preferably wrapped in cloth if the container is a (plastic) ziploc bag).
 

ancona

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MrNobody,
These guys are right, an environment devoid of oxygen is the best way to keep shiny stuff shiny. Most of us keep our shiny at the bottom of very deep bodies of water [not intentionally, it just turns out that way]. At depth, water is usually quite anaerobic and will not even support sea life, so the deeper the better.
 

bushi

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...Pickled, or deep fried in rendered lard!

...I mean, seriously, don't worry, man, if it gets less shiny, it wouldn't be worth less. Soft cloth and toothpaste is all you need to bring it back to polish, if you so inclined, or before sale.

Just make sure you don't keep it together with chopped onions and you'll be fine ;)
 

Cybrsk8r

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You could try one of those machines that vacuum seals steaks. Seems to me it should also work on a silver bar.
 

DCFusor

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You'd want to be sure any protect-ant was free of sulfur, which is a common component of some paints and plasticizers for plastics...Thing is, that's "trade secret" for the guys who make the bags and paints, so good luck finding out.

The other way (that loses you nothing) to clean up dirty silver is to put it in a hot solution of baking soda in contact with some Al foil - nothing critical in the forumla. The silver sulfide tarnish is chemically reduced back to silver in-place, so you lost nothing at all. Grinding it off with abrasive (toothpaste) costs you a little bit...

So that's my technique. Just keep in an airtight box and it'll be years before you see an issue anyway. Let people handle it, and it will tarnish fast, depending on what they've been eating lately.
 

MrNobody

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Wow, thanks for all the informative responses! I appreciate the links, I read through them both. Regarding the issues with salt water and storing in deep bodies of water...LOL. Yeah, I think one of the first things I'll do is take my PMs on a boating trip. After all, what could possibly happen, right? :cheers:

In any case, thanks. Hypothetically speaking, sounds like a reasonable course of action would be to wrap the bars in soft cotton, place each one in a ziplock bag or airtight container (that hopefully does not emit much sulfur) and store in a safe location with moderate temperatures and low humidity.
 

bushi

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The other way (that loses you nothing) to clean up dirty silver is to put it in a hot solution of baking soda in contact with some Al foil - nothing critical in the forumla. The silver sulfide tarnish is chemically reduced back to silver in-place, so you lost nothing at all. Grinding it off with abrasive (toothpaste) costs you a little bit...
...hey that's cool, I've heard about that method, but I thought that tarnish was dissolved, not reduced back to Ag. Way cool, and no work involved (all done by our energy-slaves - heating up ;) )
 

Bru

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If all you want to do is remove recent fingerprints, oils and other contaminants but aren't trying to do anything about removing toning or serious grime,
you could give the bar a quick, gentle wipe-down with rubbing alcohol and then let it air-dry.
 

CharlesMcLain

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Silver doesn’t react with plastic, so even if you keep it in a ziplock bag, it should be fine. The idea is to keep oxygen away to slow or eliminate the oxidization process. Ideally, you should keep your silver or even gold coins and bars in tamper-proof certified packs or in Tamper Evident Packaging (TEP) for coins and bars, as both are soft metals (although heavy).
 

Jay

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well, first you're gonna need to acquire an Atlas V rocket... :)
 
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