This is the second in a two-part series reviewing security and your numismatic collections. In the Nov. 26 installment, I advised understanding the insurance policy covering your collection fully.
Ask the broker or agent lots of questions to determine if the coverage being offered is adequate.
➤ Is your collection only covered if it is stored in an approved safe?
➤ Does your coverage require an alarm system?
➤ Is an appraisal necessary? If so, how often does it need to be updated?
➤ What kind of documentation is necessary to make a claim (e.g., inventory, condition reports, original sales receipts, photographs)?
➤ Is your collection covered while in transit (e.g., on the way to a coin show)?
➤ Is your collection covered while on exhibit at a coin show?
➤ Do you need to notify the insurance company if you are leaving the house empty for any length of time?
When going on vacation, remember not to advertise your absence.
➤ If possible, get a house sitter who you trust to stay in your home while you are away.
➤ Use timers for lights and small appliances. A small radio on a timer helps give the impression that someone is home. Some timers are even equipped with photoelectric eyes so that they turn on once light levels get low enough.
➤ Do not change the message on your telephone answering machine to say that you are away.
➤ Remember to cancel your daily or weekly newspaper delivery for the period that you are gone.
➤ Have your mail held at your local post office, or ask a neighbor to regularly clear mail from your box or mail slot.
➤ Arrange for snow to be shoveled in the winter and grass to be cut in the summer.
➤ Ask a trusted neighbor to check the house periodically while you are away. Let them know your itinerary and contact numbers.
➤ Leave them a list of people to contact in case of an emergency when you cannot be reached.
A theft is only one of the catastrophes that can strike while you are away.
Plumbing emergencies can also be quite devastating to your house and collection.
Ask the neighbor to help make your house look more lived in by having them:
➤ Open and close your drapes daily.
➤ Park a spare car in your driveway.
➤ Water the lawn and gardens.
➤ Put a bag of garbage out on your curb every garbage day.
Finally, documentation is important when filing an insurance claim and retrieving stolen goods.
Up-to-date records with good obverse and reverse photographs will help to identify your collection.
Digital cameras make photography a lot easier. An image can be downloaded directly into your computer. The downside is digital photography is not as stable as traditional formats (e.g., prints, slides).
Make backup copies of your digital photographs and documentation, and store the copies off site. It is important to realize that thieves have been known to steal all of the documentation pertaining to a collection.
Susan L. Maltby, Toronto, is a private conservation consultant, with an interest in numismatic preservation.