The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 29, July 8, 2012, Article 9


Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts in response to last week's question on cabinet lining materials. Thanks! -Editor

Dick Hanscom asked in last week's E-Sylum what to line the drawers in a cabinet to store medals. The answer is determined by what the medals are contained in now.

Answer One: If the medals are in slabs (horrors!) you don't need to line the trays with anything, NOTHING. Let the slabs lie loose. If they slide around as you pull out and return the tray drawer there is no problem. The medals remain protected. This holds true whether the cabinet is wood or metal. No problem. The back of the slabs may become marred but the medals remain unscarred.

Answer Two: If the medals are lacquered (as all fine art medals are). you only need to cushion them (to prevent them from sliding back and forth from opening and closing the drawer). This creates cabinet wear (that's the proper term for wear on the high points on the reverse, assuming of course you always place the medal obverse up). The best, time-honored material here is COTTON BATTING. This has been used for a century. This is also the filler material in Riker Mount trays. And for more than a century Medallic Art Co shipped all its medals in small boxes with the medal between two thin layers of cotton.

When the price of cotton rose, it was replaced by an artificial man-made material. It looks similar to cotton but is a bit more fibrous and "wirery." I have not heard yet if this is detrimental to any metal surface, the jury has yet to render a verdict.

Some collectors have chosen a cloth instead of pure cotton. What you want is a cloth that has been made -- both the material and the dyes -- sulfur free. Sulfur is the major cause of tarnish on the metal surfaces in which coins and medals are made, particularly copper and bronze. Jewelry supply houses offer a sulfur-free green cloth widely used in the jewelry industry.

Old-time numismatists wrapped their coins in anti-tarnish tissue (even folding up a small piece to fit in 2x2 envelopes). Anti-tarnish paper is still available and is still used to wrap silver objects purchased at better stores today (but it is too thin for drawer lining.

Answer Three: If all your medals are coin finish -- that is no finish and no lacquer as are all coins -- you will need TWO LAYERS, some tarnish protection in addition to cushion protection.

My partner, Mark Schlepphorst, turned me on to Intercept Shield (that's a trademarked name).. I was skeptical at first, but now I am an ardent fan of this material. It is about an 1/8-inch black material (maybe it comes in other colors) that prohibits tarnish. You could line your cabinet drawers with a sheet of Intercept Shield with a thin layer of cotton over it. This would give you all the protection you need. You could even lay raw BU or proof coins on the cotton with Intercept Shield beneath it in your cabinet drawers. No slip, no slide, no tarnish.

Intercept Shield comes in 40-inch wide sheets or strips but is not easy to obtain. The manufacturer prefers to sell to other manufactures to use in their products. Somehow my partner obtained several sample sheets and gave me a small portion to test. I love it. For more info:

Wizard Coin Supply may sell Intercept Shield sheets. I know they sell Intercept Shield boxes. If you need a small quantity contact my partner Mark Schlepphorst at

Dick, I congratulate your for desiring to recycle that cabinet. As a seasoned numismatist, there is no greater thrill to me than to have a collector show me his collection -- in a cabinet! Open a drawer and gaze on well described specimens arranged in an organized way. That's pure numismatic pleasure!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 1, 2012: Query: Cabinet Lining Material (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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