Q:

What is the best way to clean old coins?

A:

Quick Answer

According to coin expert Susan Headley for About, the easiest process for cleaning old coins is to gently rinse the coins in a bath of warm tap water and mild dish-washing detergent. It is important to make sure that the hands are thoroughly washed to remove all surface oils and dirt that may potentially contaminate the coins. Headley stresses that cleaning old coins is not recommended unless absolutely necessary.

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What is the best way to clean old coins?
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Full Answer

Headley warns that attempting to clean old coins using improper methods may significantly reduce their monetary value. Many people mistakenly believe that the tarnish or seasoning on old coins should be removed, so that they are restored to an attractive shiny appearance, but it is the very presence of this natural oxidation or "toning effect" that increases their value during appraisal. Attempting to clean old coins using products such as silver dips, polishes or chemical solutions can effectively ruin them. Ideally, old coins should be protected from the elements, including direct human touch and exposure to air and water. Headley states that the only time when it might be appropriate to clean a coin is when a beginner collector wishes to remove germs and gunk from a cheap collection for hygienic reasons.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where can you find a price guide for old coins?

    A:

    Price guides for old coins are available online at PCGS.com and NGCCoin.com, as of 2015. The websites deal in all the American coin currency minted since the late 1700s. The price guides use special criteria to judge the condition of coins.

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  • Q:

    How do I clean old coins?

    A:

    Old coins maintained for collections must be carefully cleaned with non-abrasive materials and a solution that does not damage the metal compounds in the coin. Improperly cleaning a coin can damage it and substantially reduce its value. Specialists knowledgeable in coin cleaning can clean coins without damaging them. Most expert coin collectors advise against cleaning coins at all, as discolorations and dirt may actually increase a coin's value, explains NemisMaster.com.

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  • Q:

    How do you clean coins?

    A:

    The safe way to clean coins involves washing your hands, readying the work area, preparing the cleaning and rinsing solutions, scouring the coins between your fingers and drying the coins. This process takes only a few minutes per coin. You need soap, water, two containers and a soft towel.

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  • Q:

    What types of stores buy old coins from you?

    A:

    Shops that typically buy old coins are coin shops that deal specifically in collectibles. While using a shop is not likely to give the seller the actual worth of the coin, shops are likely to accept the coins based on their market value instead of metallic value.

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