Display Options for the 1916 Centennial Gold Coin Trio

You’ve Completed the Centennial Trio—Now What?

Those who’ve completed the three-coin set of 1916 Centennial Gold Coins have a dilemma: how are you going to display them? Having shelled out more than $1,500 for the trio, you may have simply put them in the safe or a bank vault, or sent them to a third-party grader. But you may also want to keep your three gold beauties close to hand, where they’ll be safe but you still can admire them—and show them off—anytime you like.

In a perfect world, the Mint would have provided something like the nice box that comes with the Royal Mint’s three-coin Sovereign set, shown below. Both the box and the coin panel are polished wood; the panel tilts up for display, and the coins’ original capsules fit snugly within it.


Packaging for the 2017 gold Sovereign set. (Royal Mint photo)

From the outset, the U.S. Mint planned to provide wooden display boxes for the individual Centennial coins, but not for the eventual sets, which would not be sold by the Mint. A number of forward-thinking collectors observed that the coins’ diameters would match those of the fractional American Gold Buffalo coins, which were sold in four-coin Proof sets in 2008. After the topic was raised in the blog world, the hunt was on for empty 2008 boxes—and Mint News Blog reader indydude managed to get one. The Mercury Dime and Standing Liberty Quarter Centennial coins fit perfectly into their designated slots, as show below. A one-ounce Buffalo occupies the last spot, and when the Walking Liberty Half arrives in the mail, it will fit perfectly into the empty space.


A 2008 Gold Buffalo Proof coin set, repurposed to display the Centennial trio with a one-ounce Buffalo. (Photo courtesy of indydude)

Unfortunately, these empty boxes are not easy to come by, so most collectors will have to look elsewhere. Mint News Blog will take a look at some available options for the Centennial trio. Many are tried-and-true items that have been around for years, but a few are more off the wall. So, with that said, let’s take a look at what turned up.

Standard Coin Displays

A flat, lidded box is a good option for portability. It’s easy to move to a drawer or a desk, or to carry in a briefcase; and if the interior has molded compartments for the coin holders, they’ll stay put during transport. Boxes with molded interiors to fit slabbed coins are abundant and inexpensive, whether with solid or see-through lids. The former are less fragile in a suitcase but are hard to find with locks; the latter are frequently lockable, but the glass lids are obviously more delicate.

The following are some examples. This is more of a starting point than a be-all and end-all list, and most of the options can be found elsewhere online if you’re interested in shopping around. (Mint News Blog has summarized the vendors’ sales copy for brevity; we have not personally examined any of these items, so be sure to ask the seller questions if you’re interested in purchasing.)


$22.10 (multiple vendors). The Guardhouse-brand three-slab wood box (NGC, PCGS) with mahogany finish is a popular option offered by several companies. Ebay vendor “naufragar_ca” carries the box for $22.10 plus $6.45 shipping; APMEX and others also carry this item, but it seems to be out of stock most places. Measures 10-1/2″ x 5-1/4″ x 1-1/2″ when closed. (Ebay vendor photo)



$16.30 (Coin Supply Express). Guardhouse leatherette box for three slabbed coins (PCGS, NGC). Blue with molded insert. Measures 10-1/2″ x 5-1/4″ x 1-1/2″ when closed. (Coin Supply Express photo)



$95.00, lockable (ebay vendor “eastsidemintcoins”). Oak display case with molded inserts for three or four slabbed coins (ICG, PCI, ANACS, PCGS, and NGC). Rounded edges, front lock, felt-covered feet. Measures 14″ x 7″ x 3″ when closed. (Ebay vendor photo)

There are equally as many options for ungraded coins in capsules; unfortunately, multi-coin boxes with molded interiors tend to hold only one capsule size. The Sovereigns shown earlier in this post have a uniform capsule size across the coin sizes; not so the Centennial coins, whose capsules are sized to fit.

That means finding a box with uniform slots and switching the Centennial coins into aftermarket capsules that will fit it. One such box—another Guardhouse product—is offered by Coin Supply Express. Priced at $26.95, this size container has small slots; according to the website, “Small slots fit all Small sized Guardhouse or Air Tite Small sized coin capsules. Small capsules accommodate a range of coin sizes in direct fit holders.” If you don’t plan to have your coins graded, and you don’t mind switching the capsules, this one should be a nice option.

The Guardhouse 1800 display box. (Coin Supply Express photo)

The Guardhouse 1800 display box. (Coin Supply Express photo)

Moving Farther Afield

Don’t plan to move your collection around much? The marketplace has scores of display options from many collecting fields. Stores catering to collectors of badges and other odd-shaped memorabilia carry nice display cases, and the array of options is enormous. This lockable case is marketed to badge collectors; the 9×12 size is $45.


Badge display case. (Photo courtesy of Old West Badges)

Jewelry display cases are another interesting option, and many are of superior quality. The flat sort are similar to the badge display case above; if you’re interested in displaying your coins vertically or at an angle, taller cases like this one (starting at $835) are available. Two downsides are that, first, it’s tricky to find one that looks at home in the home instead of at Macy’s; and second, it’s more difficult to find such cases in smaller sizes. On the other hand, with a larger container you could display your Centennial coins alongside their original circulating counterparts, or with a meaningful, nicely arranged group of related, non-numismatic items.


Countertop jewelry display case with lock. (Photo courtesy of Substral Inc.)


If you’re open to a vertical or slanted display, consider looking at the options for collector coins, challenge coins, and so on. Three gold coins in their capsules on small metal or acrylic easels would make a handsome display under a bell jar like this one ($39.72).

Bell-jar display. (Photo courtesy of USA Display Case Co.)

Bell-jar display. (Photo courtesy of USA Display Case Co.)

Moving still farther from the traditional, you might consider a museum-style wall-mounted display. Although they’re a little offbeat, wall-mounted boxes can be a handsome way to give your coins “pride of place.” This Little Gem wall-mounted exhibit case (starting at $99) is one example. As with bell jars and other options, slabs or capsules can be presented vertically with the use of small easels typically used for small framed photos.

Wall-mount display. (Photo courtesy of Gaylord Archival)

Wall-mounted display. (Photo courtesy of Gaylord Archival)

Going All the Way: Custom Coin Displays

If vitrines, shadow-boxes, and bell jars are too far out there, but the ready-made options don’t seem worthy of your gold Centennials, there’s the custom option. A Google search of “custom boxes” will bring up a slew of craftsmen. One is Vince Gelezunas, of Weldon Spring, Missouri, who makes exquisite custom items like the ring box ($450) shown below. The Eagle Empire makes custom boxes especially for coin collectors; scroll down to the Black Walnut 10-Coin PCGS Storage Box for one very handsome example. Although the vendor doesn’t have a three-slab or capsule display on the website at this time, it’s likely they’ll be happy to make one. Prices for the boxes they have in stock range from $59.95 to $499.95.  ❑

Custom "ring box."

Custom maple and bloodwood “ring box.” (Photo courtesy of the Vince Gelezunas website)

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  1. KEITHSTER says

    My halve came yesterday ordered two 10 min. apart bu the script for the orders shows shipped a day apart. Ordered singles as I did not want to play their game of odd duck you wait? seems they come in ones or boxes of HHL so if you order odd #’s it seems they make you wait till (&^%$% well you know? It’s sad but mine will stay in the shipping box but the single is in a nice looker for the mint? And with all the missing COA’s there won’t be many left that way unless it’s just a bunch of hoowe to get you to peek? Any way enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving And Good Luck To All:>:>:> :>:> “>”>

  2. cagcrisp says

    AM Gold fix $1,187.25

    My suggestion would be to Not buy any Gold from the Mint until next Wednesday afternoon (at the earliest) and IF you still have a WLH “processing”, cancel it, wait and watch…

  3. So Krates says

    I bailed on the series, kept a few dimes, sold my quarter, will wait to maybe pickup a half. The comment about the Buff box sparked my interest though. Great idea to do an article on different display options.

    “…and you don’t mind switching the capsules, this one should be a nice option.”

    Although totally unfounded in reality, that is considered taboo by most on this blog. Many folks have a Knee Jerk 😉 opinion that anything touched by “human hands” becomes unpure, defiled, and worth much less. These same folks seem to make an exception for the human hands at the mint and at the TPGs (well known to work sans gloves). As long as one transfers the coins carefully, this choice is indeed viable.

  4. Teach says

    Got my WLH COA yesterday and it was fresh, crisp and could find no errors in the spelling! The gold half looks really good too 🙂 My only complaint, like others have mentioned, it would look much better in the original size of a half dollar coin. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  5. Mattarch says

    Cool post. Thanks for the suggestions on displaying coin sets created from individual purchases. I have other sets (Silver Eagle type set, Queen Elizabeth Portrait set) and need to find a way to display them in a manner suitable to the coins.

  6. hawkster says

    But wait. The HSN guy will probably come out with a special red “ewk” ( his pronunciation of oak) presentation box to house these replicas. Yeah, these coins should have been done in silver.
    Meanwhile, there’s always the sock drawer for temporary (or permanent) storage.

  7. Louis Golino, Author says

    Great post, Diana!

    I have an idea! Please each box side by side! Actually I almost snagged the one Buffalo box on the Bay earlier but it looked worn in parts and I balked at the $20 price but they come around so infrequently that I should have grabbed it.

  8. Dustyroads says

    It is a good article, and the suggestions above are thought provoking. I almost bought the 2008 Buffalo box too. However, I think I may have my sister who owns a custom picture frame shop put together something special for me. A stand up duel side displace sounds good.

  9. JBK says

    I’ll just keep mine in original packaging most likely, but this article is outstanding original content for MNB, and I expect people on other sites and forums to link to it. There is a lot of good information for future reference.

  10. Teach says

    The mint conveniently waited until most of the WLH sales took place before giving away their free shipping. 🙂

  11. Erik H says

    Free shipping…what a deal, NOT!

    A few years ago when they offered free shipping it was never applied to my purchase. After 4-5 months of them promising to credit my account I just gave up. Thank goodness that American Express is so good about crediting your account when merchants try to screw you. In fact, the only time I use AMEX is when buying coins from the mint or eBay.

  12. earthling says

    Free shipping is tempting buttttttt ………….. a free black mickey mouse club bag woulda rounded up far more orders.



  13. Mint News Blog says

    @Louis Golino, Author — Wouldn’t it have been neat if the Mint had designed the boxes so that, in addition to looking nice separately, they’d fit together in a uniform-looking display? Like the way book sets are sometimes designed so that the spines form a complete scene when displayed in order on the shelf. Maybe the boxes could have been slightly wider along the back than along the front, so that when placed side by side they’d form a slight curve. Add some hidden magnets inside the boxes to hold them snugly together, and voila! Instant display.

  14. NC Stacker says

    I’m going to modify a 2014 gold Kennedy box for my 3 coins. I’ll post photos when it is complete.

    Same thing I did to showcase the dual dated Kennedy’s, the 1976 silver proof & 2014 gold in the same case.

  15. Gold man says

    So it looks like those who order their WLH next week will save $5 on shipping on $25 on the coin if the gold price stays where it is. That will probably result in some orders from those who were on the fence.

  16. Goat says

    I wonder if the savings of $4.95 will be applied to the 5 oz. Fort Moultrie on enrollment orders ? Was not given last year. Free ship thru Dec.11 , first date of release for 5 oz. is Dec.8, a great way to loose enrollments.

  17. Mike in NY says

    @Goat and @cagcrisp thanks for reminding me to cancel my enrollments for the ATB and the UNC Silver Eagles released next week. I will order them together and take advantage of the free shipping. May receive those before I receive the 2 WLH’s I’m waiting for that are currently sitting in Roanoke VA.

  18. Cleveresq says

    Spot on article and well reasearched. It helps solve a common problem for all and especially one I have been noodling for a while.

  19. Throckmorton says

    Picked up my three WLHs today. Only one was problem free so back go the other two….maybe get nice Mexican 50 Peso instead now that gold is becoming attractive.

  20. says

    Just picked up one of the 2008 Gold Buffalo Proof coin boxes. The coins fit in there perfectly. I also put a one oz 2016 gold eagle in the extra slot and they all look great together. I did notice there is one of these boxes on E-Bay right now for sale. They don’t come up too often.

  21. Tyler says

    I like the authors suggestion of the “floating box” presentation for the trio set as I was going to suggest the same. I have now completed my set and actually just put a Bitcoin cold storage coin in one of these floating box displays only a couple hours ago for my first time and am very happy with the looks -and it was a cheap version from China. I think these things are very cool, only downside I suppose is they are quite fragile ( pronounced Fra-gee-lay- ok corny but it’s Christmas time). Happy Holidays all.

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