Cleaning Collectible Coins

Cleaning Collectible Coins

Newcomers to the world of coin collecting invariably want to clean up the tarnished and dirty circulated coins in their collections. In nearly all instances, the best advice that these well-intentioned collectors can receive is: Don’t do it!

Amateur collectors, in particular, would be wise to resist all temptations to clean their coins, as attempts at cleaning will almost invariably lower the coins value. The only exception might be if the coin is caked in mud after being extricated from the ground. If this is case, or the collector absolutely cannot resist cleaning collectible coins, then the following advice will help minimize any damage to the coins:

• Coins should only be gently cleaned in warm, soapy water. Use a mild detergent, such as dish soap.

• Coins should only be cleaned with the hands. No cloths or brushes should be used, as these will very likely leave microscopic scratches that will lower the coins rating, and thus its value.

• Gentle is the key. Softly rub the surface of the coins with the pad of a finger, in a gentle motion from the center to the rim. Do not rub any more than absolutely necessary.

• After washing, rinse the coins under cold running water, and then give them a final rinse in distilled water.

• After the final rinse, allow the coins to air dry on a soft cloth or paper towel.

One final word of caution: NEVER use a tarnish remover or silver polisher when cleaning collectible coins! To do so will strip the coin of its natural oxidizing (known to collectors as “toning”) and severely reduce its value.

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2 Responses to “Cleaning Collectible Coins”

  1. Michelle
    October 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I am doing a project on cleaning coins and this information really helped. Though I didn’t hear any mentioning of vinegar. At home, I usually clean my coins with vinegar. Maybe you could put how to clean coins with vinegar on this website.

  2. Rashed
    August 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    I have a coin that is nearly the size of my palm and around 80-90 millimeters thick, and it is silver but has a yellowish gold color. After a while I started noticing black spots which I suppose is tarnish, and the main reason I think that caused it was because I opened to seal and touched it with my fingers without wearing gloves, which was a mistake I made when I was small.
    I don’t know if I’m supposed to use this method or am I even allowed to clean it.

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