Cleaning coins

November 1, 2008

I have heard many a horror story about valuable coins being ruined by using the wrong cleaning methods. The simple answer to cleaning questions is DON'T CLEAN COINS. Just a simple rub with a cloth can put hairline scratches on a coins surface that will damage the coin for good. You might not see these scratches with the naked eye but they are easily visible under magnification. Soaking or washing coins in cleaner or coke or silver dip can remove toning and really "brighten up' your coins but this isn't how coins are meant to look. This can give copper coins, for example, a salmon coloring which is neither natural or appealing. For silver coins this can give them a blast white appearance and can impair the natural cartwheeling lustre of silver coins. Cleaning coins in this way removes the top layer of the coin thus degrading it permanently.

There are many specialized coin cleaning products out there for cleaning old coins from silver dips to fake toners. I would avoid these at all costs. The end result will only be a fake looking coin that is worthless.

For the amateur it is best not even to attempt any cleaning as the potential for damage to your coins is huge. Even coin experts have been known to purchase valuable coins only to find out later that they have had some attempt at cleaning.

Posted by harrisk at November 1, 2008 1:18 PM
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