Whether you’ve been building your collection for some time or just recently inherited old coins from a relative, you may wonder how to clean the dirt and grime from the coins without ruining them. Before you grab dish soap, vinegar, or coca-cola, find out why it may be better to leave your coins environmentally damaged. Otherwise, you could potentially scrub away thousands of dollars!
Why You Should Never Clean Rare Coins
It may surprise you, but cleaning rare coins can actually do more harm than good. This is because coin collectors want coins in their original state. They don’t care about a shiny surface and want to see a beautifully tarnished coin. When rare coins develop a green film called patina, they significantly increase in value. If you try to scrub dirt from the surface of the coin, you may remove some of the patina, greatly reducing its value.
Another reason you don’t want to clean your rare coin collection is that it’s too easy to scratch the coin’s surface. Whether you’re rubbing the coin with a cloth or your finger or scratching it with a soft-bristled brush, you can cause fine, microscopic scratches to form. You may not be able to see them, but a coin collector will. Your coin will be greatly devalued because the condition of the coin plays a major role in determining its worth.
You Want to Sell Your Coin Collection — Should You Still Skip Cleaning Them?
If you’re considering selling your valuable coin collection (whether now or sometime in the future), you should NOT clean your coins. Avid coin collectors do not shy away from dirt and discoloration (or “toning”). In fact, they’re happy to see it because they know that means the coins are likely still in their natural state. If you wish to receive the highest price for your rare coins, resist the urge to clean them. Old coin buyers can look past the dirt and detect the collection’s true worth.
If You Must, Here’s How to Clean Your Old Coins Carefully
Are you frustrated with your coin collection lacking a bit of luster? While it’s perfectly normal (and encouraged) for a rare coin collection to remain in its original state, there are a few ways you can remove a bit of dirt from the coins. However, we do not recommend cleaning rare coins you hope to sell at any point, and we advise you to consider the historical value you may be destroying. With that said, here’s how to clean your old coins:
- Distilled Water: Holding the coin by its edges, pour distilled water on both sides of the coin. (Do not use tap water as the fluoride and chemicals can damage the coin’s surface.) Rest the coin on a towel and let it air dry. Do not rub the coin, as this movement can harm its surface. For extra stubborn dirt, you can soak the coin in distilled water for a few minutes. Again, let the coin air dry.
- Vinegar: If your gold and silver coins are especially environmentally damaged, you can soak them in distilled white vinegar for 30 minutes or overnight. Once the time is up, rinse the coins with distilled water (not tap!) and let them air dry on a towel.
Bring Your Environmentally Damaged Rare Coins to The Jewelers & Loan Co.!
Are you looking to sell your coin collection? If so, skip the cleaning process and turn to The Jewelers & Loan Co. We’re not afraid of grimy old coins and can help you determine the value of each piece, no matter how much dirt obscures its surface! Stop by our shop today to sell your valuable coins for cash.