How to clean old coins without devaluing them and should you even clean old coins before selling? Best ways!

Collecting coins is one of the oldest hobbies in the world. A lot of people find joy in it. Some do it for future sake, while some others just do it for the fun of it. Coins can sometimes be kept as treasures because sometimes their value appreciates with time. This is more particular to coins that were minted using gold or silver. Therefore, keeping coins made with these precious metals is more like an investment, and when you eventually decide to sell these coins, you can make quite a fortune out of it.

However, after keeping coins for a very long period, there is a very high chance that the coins will get dirty. A coin collection can extend for as long as 20 years or more. You can imagine the amount of dirt it would have accumulated over this period. It doesn’t matter where you keep the coin; dust can get to it.

best way to clean coins

Dust is a type of particle that can pass through any small space with the air or air current. Throughout 20 to 40 years, the little speck of dust that manages to fall on your coin will accumulate and make it dirty. When you eventually bring out the coins to sell, they will look so dirty, and if you decide to sell them off like that, you may not get as much value as you would have gotten if you cleaned them.

Numismatic enthusiasts sometimes want to know if it is safe for them to clean dirt off their coin, and in a bid to find an answer; they sometimes go as far as going online to search for terms like:

  • “Should I clean old coins?”,
  • “How to safely clean coins,”
  • “How to clean old coins without devaluing them,”
  • “Should old coins be cleaned?”
  • or “How to clean copper coins without damaging them.”

This puzzle is about to be solved as this article will provide an answer to the question that often comes across the mind of people that have old coins and want to sell them.

Before then, I would like to inform readers that not all type of coins needs to be cleaned. Some coins only have value because of the dirt on them. This sounds unbelievable, because why would anyone pay money for a set of old dirty coins. There are actually people that would pay a fortune to get their hands on those coins you regard tons dirty and old. Some factors determine the value of any coin you want to sell, and they include:

  • grade,
  • scarcity,
  • condition
  • and demand.

The condition aspect is what we are interested in.

How should your coin look like when you want to sell them?

The truth is, most numismatists will prefer an old dirty coin to a new one. They prefer buying them because of the history and the number of years the coins have used. Therefore, cleaning your coins before selling to these sets of people is probably a bad idea.

In addition to this, there are also a few reasons why you should not consider cleaning your coins. Cleaning your coins will disqualify your coins in terms of grading. Grading is one of the factors that determine the worth of your coin, and if you clean it, you automatically disqualify it in this regard. You may end up selling the coin, but not at a high price. However, this is not meant to discourage you from cleaning your coin. It is just an important reminder.

Should you clean your old coins?

clean old coins

So, should you clean your old coins? In some instances, yes you should. As mentioned earlier, some coins that are kept over a very long period would have gotten dirty which could make the inscription on the coin invisible, and for this reason, they need to be cleaned. However, the cleaning of coins is not a simple task, although it is not a very hard one also. You just have to find the best way to clean your old coins without devaluing them. Some coins may need light cleaning before being put up for sale. A very dirty coin that has most of its inscription covered with dirt will need a little cleaning because there is no way its value will be determined without knowing what type of coin it is. The inscription on the coin which may include the year and the value of the coin as of that year will help the numismatist in determining its current worth.

Also, polishing your coin will give it a very new look which reduces the value. Coins are only greatly valued when they don’t look like they were minted yesterday. A numismatist will pay huge money to have a coin that was minted in the 1980s. Conversely, a coin that is looking so clean and new may not even catch the attention of the numismatist, he or she may feel it is a new coin and does not worth his or her time.

If you are keeping pure gold coins or silver coins, these types of coins will need significant cleaning to make them look shiny and clean. Numismatists do not necessarily buy gold coins; they can be bought even by anybody, especially Goldsmith.

A goldsmith will usually not mind if you clean your old gold coins before bringing it to him. After all, gold cannot be easily smudged by a brush or towel, except if the gold is not original in the first place or you are cleaning the coin very wrongly which can lead to damaging of your gold and silver coins. If you want to sell your coin to a goldsmith, it important you know how to take care of them. If they are not well handled when cleaning, they can get damaged, and they may lose their value.

Learning how to clean coins without devaluing them

how to safely clean coins

Learning how to clean coins without devaluing them is very important because some coins only have value when certain features of them are not wiped off; for example, some coins that are historic probably as a result of minting mistakes. If you want to clean these types of coins and you mistakenly clean off the part that shows the minting error, the coins will have no more value. It will be more or less an ordinary coin that is old.

Cleaning your coins using tips from TV commercials that involve the use of acids and other abrasives will damage the coin, which will make it more or less useless. It may not entirely damage the coin, but it could peel off the original tone of the coin or even cause scratching which is much disliked by numismatists. Gold coin, silver coin, old copper coin, whichever, this article will highlight how to clean your old coins without damaging them safely, so read on.

Patina is a thin layer of dirt that is commonly seen on coins that have been kept in storage for long. For your pennies and dimes that have very little value but are still useful in bending machines, you may want to clean off the patina.

On how to clean pennies and dimes:

  • First of all, rinse the coins under running water. You should hold the coins by the edges while doing this.
  • Using distilled water is the best because most waters are treated with chemicals like fluoride which can react with the several metals that were used in minting the coins.
  • After rinsing, you should soak the coins in vinegar for like a minute
  • After which you can rinse again in running tap water before fully rinsing the coins.
  • Lastly, you can air dry the coins using a dry cloth.
  • If after this, the coins are still dirty, you can make use of a light brush to brush off the caked dirt that refused to wash away.
  • After this, you can dry the coin with a soft lint-free cloth. DO NOT RUN THE COINS, allow it to air dry.

For silver coins:

  • It is similar to that of pennies and dimes; the only thing you need to do is to soak the coin in lemon for 5 minutes after cleaning to help keep the coin shiny.

For copper coins:

  • First of all, place a tablespoon of table salt in a small container.
  • Then add white vinegar to moistened salt.
  • And then, apply the paste to coins, some may need to be soaked for 5 minutes.
  • The effect is immediate. You can use ketchup, tomato paste or lemon juice or any other liquid that is acidic, but not very acidic liquid.
  • Then finally, rinse with warm water and air dry.
  • One very important thing, don’t ever use this technique on ancient coins and protect your eyes when using this method.

For gold coins:

  • First of all, soak the coins in warm soapy water only, the water should be distilled.
  • After cleaning, air-dry the coins carefully. You can use gold cleaning clothes that are used for cleaning gold jewellery.

Lastly, for ancient coins (although this is strongly advised against):

  • Soak it in a soapy distilled water
  • Use baking soap while the coins are still soaked to clean

And finally, if you are not sure of the type of coin, use hot sauce like taco sauce or coke product to clean off the coin.

These are the best ways to clean coins. I hope this answers any lingering questions you may have about cleaning your old coins.

Now that you know how to go about cleaning your coins, the next step is to get it exchanged for some real money. That’s the whole essence of cleaning your old dirty coins in the after all. Where then do you take your coin for exchange? The truth is that there are many exchange platforms out there that are waiting to rip you off. Don’t be that guy that’s going to be their victim.

Go online and do proper research about where you can safely trade your coin for the value it deserves. You don’t even need to go through the stress when you trade with We are one of the best in the game and you won’t have to worry about your how much value you’re going to get on your old coin. We offer one of the most competitive values on coin trades.

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