When it comes to the value of your collection you are the key. Knowing which coins are rare, ones you paid extra for, which ones have special meaning, or the coins’ condition helps the value. All of these factors are important in a coin’s price. At some point we will all no longer be the stewards of what we have collected. Whether it comes time to sell or pass it on in an inheritance, none of us keeps what we have forever. Here are a few steps to help you preserve the value for the future.First of all, knowing the rarity is important. Whether you label each coin with a value, keep a journal or just simply tell whoever will be getting your collection which ones are rare is a good idea. Often when someone inherits a collection they have no idea which coins are better. Having labels or records helps avoid this type of ignorance. Second, if you have coins that are special for some reason it is also to denote these types of differences. A good example of this is found in toned coins. An 1881-S Morgan dollar in MS-65 is a relatively common coin and easy to find a price on, but one with an exceptionally eye-appealing toning on it can bring hundreds more. Knowing how to denote such differences is important if you want heirs to realize the extra value they may be receiving. Next is sentimental value. While a coin might not have significant value to the collectors world, if it came from a distant relative who cherished it, the coin may have special meaning to you or your heirs. Also, a coin may have extra significance if it was once owned by someone famous. A worn large cent would be worth only a few dollars, but if it was President Lincoln's lucky pocket piece and it was documented as such, it would suddenly be worth thousands. Again, denoting this is the only way to preserve the history behind these special coins. Take the time to write it down or the story could be lost forever.Condition is also key to a coin’s value. Not only does it help to know the condition and pass along how to understand it, it must also be preserved. Some of the older coin books, envelopes and flips have contaminants in them that can harm your coin’s state of preservation. Getting your coins into safer storage venues is important. When it comes to more significant coins, having them certified by a third-party grading service not only helps to preserve their grades, but also helps by denoting their grade. Remember, cleaning coins is generally bad for them, so preservation is an important factor to their future value.In short, if you want to preserve the value of your coins for those who will have them in the future, make sure to keep records, store them properly and denote important nuances about them, especially when you may be the only one who knows the story that turns your coin from ordinary to extraordinary. • Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.