Cleaned coins?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by fretboard, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage

    I have seen plenty of threads where the coin in question is identified as having been "cleaned". Even I have identified coins as being cleaned, as I can tell sometimes. Here's the questions I have on this subject. Oh, I didn't have an example coin I could use so I googled images and this was one of the best one's that came up and it could belong to someone on here I think, I hope they don't mind. :) Anyone?:confused:

    1. Is a cleaned coin considered a problem coin to you?

    2. If you have two coins that (appear) to both be MS64 and one is cleaned, how much percentage wise will the cleaned coin sell for? Speculation is fine as I'm just trying to get an idea. :kewl:

    3. How bad is it to buy a cleaned coin? Your opinion or a linked opinion, whatever you want to use.

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  3. Hobo

    Hobo Squirrel Hater

    1. Yes. It is always more desireable to have a coin with original surfaces. That being said it is important to distinguish between 'coin cleaning' and 'coin conservation'. For example, it is generally acceptable for shipwreck coins to be conserved to remove encrustation.

    2. It depends. The original coin will almost always have a higher value than the cleaned coin. Sometimes cleaning a coin will destroy a huge amount of its numismatic value. Very often the top tier grading services will bodybag a cleaned coin (i.e., no grade) although they have started slabbing them as 'Genuine'.

    3. Again, coins with original surfaces are generally preferred over cleaned coins. Sometimes it is difficult to find uncleaned coins in some coin series. For example, most Capped Bust Half Dollars have been cleaned at some point so finding a CBH with original surfaces can be difficult.
  4. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage

  5. BadThad

    BadThad Calibrated for Lincolns

    I couldn't agree more.
  6. Strikeluster

    Strikeluster New Member


    1. Is a cleaned coin considered a problem coin to you?

    2. If you have two coins that (appear) to both be MS64 and one is cleaned, how much percentage wise will the cleaned coin sell for? Speculation is fine as I'm just trying to get an idea. :kewl:

    3. How bad is it to buy a cleaned coin? Your opinion or a linked opinion, whatever you want to use.

    Read more:

    1. Yes it is a big problem.

    2. Its worth less then half of the Gray sheet price.

    3. I bought a 1889 CC morgan thats AU-58 and I knew when I looked at it that it had been cleaned, bought it for a good discount and moved on wth life. It looks sharp. Most people couldnt tell it was. Only people like at CT have enough experience to notice the very fine markings :bigeyes: that tell the tail.

    Hope I was helpfull,

  7. abe

    abe LaminatedLincolnCollector

    99% of the time, yes. The other 1% is the hard to find, or the price is right.

    25- 40% in most cases, its that 1% again where a cleaning wouldn't matter to me.

    Some don't mind cleaned coins, but I prefer all natural. I have several high grade wheaties that have been cleaned, but I know there is no real resale value. I didn't buy them for resale though, they were priced just right...
  8. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage

    Yes, I prefer natural coins as well but like in the case of my example, I wouldn't put up a fuss to get something in that class. Of course I never thought of a cleaned coin as being a problem coin either, so now I know! :thumb: I'm glad this question got answered so well tho b/c next time someone asks about cleaning coins it will all be right here for new collectors to read about!! :)
  9. wunderer

    wunderer tink

    If I were presented both coins, I would buy the natural coin, IF it was at a fair price and I could afford it. If it was a coin I could never afford in a high grade, I would buy a cleaned coin IF the price was right and there are so many variables in that statement it would be impossible to put a percentage of value without a specific comparision of a specific coin. For instance, a flying eagle cent in high grade. I might buy a cleaned coin if I needed it for a type set and could not afford the natural coin in the same high grade. I have no idea the percentage I would pay, it would depend on my heart rate at the time.
  10. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    There's harshly cleaned coins, and then there's harshly cleaned coins.

    Doesn't seem to make sense does it ? Well, it does. But that's because there are many different methods of harshly/improperly cleaning a coin. And it is extremely important to use one of those extra descriptive words too - harshly or improperly - when discussing it. Yeah I know, some disagree with that, but I'll show you why here in a minute.

    And to the inexperienced eye many coins that have been harshly celaned will not "look" to have been harshly cleaned. Take this one for example.





    Same coin, two different sets of pictures. Does it look harshly cleaned to you ? Well it is. But probably only those experienced with gold would be able to tell, if at all. But there is not a single tell-tale scratch or hairline on the coin. But for the amount of detail the coin has, the lack of wear, it should have a great deal of luster. But even in hand it does not. This coin has been harshly cleaned by over-dipping, stripping it of its luster. And it cost me less than half of what an original example would have.

    Now remember when I said it was extremely important to use the extra descriptive words harshly or improperly ? Here's why. Two coins of the same date and mint, and same grade, MS65.



    Now the first coin has not been cleaned. It has an original skin and light toning just as it should have.

    The second however has been cleaned. Not harshly or improperly cleaned, but cleaned all the same. The coin has been dipped, to remove any and all traces of toning, but without harming the coin.

    So you could say that the second coin has been cleaned and be completely accurate in your statement. That is why it is so important to differentiate between cleaned - and harshly cleaned.
  11. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage

    Interesting answer Doug, very informative! So if you place some Lincoln cents in distilled water, is that cleaning? Anyone?
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Yes, of course it is. But it is not harsh or improper cleaning.

    HULLCOINS Junior Member

    I don't completely agree... common gold coins will still maintain a majority of their value just because they are gold. I pick gold because the picture fret used was gold... so not in all cases
  14. Strikeluster

    Strikeluster New Member

    To each his own, keep buying cleaned coins, its all ok.


  15. BadThad

    BadThad Calibrated for Lincolns

    As long as exposure is minimal and no damage occurs that is considered CONSERVATION and not cleaning.
  16. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    OK, but conservation is just a fancy name for proper cleaning. They are the exact same thing. They are synonyms.

    There are two types of cleaning Thad - proper cleaning and improper cleaning. If it makes you feel better to call proper cleaning conservation - have at it. But it doesn't change anything.

    The reason this is important is because cleaning is not always bad - it is merely the wrong usage of the word. When talking about coins, the correct adjective must be used with the word cleaning.

    Your way Thad is to say that all cleaning is bad and that conservation is good. Well, that's fine, but it is incorrect word usage.
  17. KennyMac

    KennyMac 82nd Airborne Division

    This is good....It's not even 8am and I've already learned something new...very cool.

    Conservation = cleaning.....this was certainly an eye opener, thank you.
  18. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    This really isn't possible. The grader is simply looking at the coin and to him on that day and time he feels the coin has been cleaned. He has no idea who did it, he may have no idea how or what was done to it, he has no idea when or why it was done. To put any such disclaimer such as "subject coin could have been simply rinsed at the mint" would be frankly dishonest since any other location could equally as well take the place of "at the mint". All you can really say is that something has been done to this coin at some time.

    So if a grader looks at a coin and he thinks it has been cleaned what do you want him to do? Go ahead and grade it as a problem free coin so as to not hurt the submitters chance of profitably selling it to someone else? Great we preserved his profit, now what about the collector who later buys that cleaned coin as a problem free piece? Oh he has the PCGS guarantee! So if a grader thinks a coin is cleaned, the grader should grade it as problem free so the submitter makes money and then PCGS can pay off later for the improper grading. I don't think so.

    Yes some coins that have NOT been cleaned get slabbed as cleaned, but the grader HAS to call them as he sees them at the time. He has absolutely no knowledge of the history of the coin, all he knows is how the coin looks to him, and he calls it as he sees it.

    HULLCOINS Junior Member

    I have only bought one cleaned coin (the ebay seller had poor pictures) and it ended up being F15 Details.
  20. Strikeluster

    Strikeluster New Member

    Hello All,
    It seems to me when your buying a coin its been conserved. If your selling the coin then its been cleaned. Im going to my long time dealer tomorrow to pan through his morgans and if I see any cleaned ones, well actually he marks the cleaned ones, I will tell him I only want conserved coins, just to see what he says. It will be a treat Im sure.:bigeyes:

  21. steve1942

    steve1942 Junior Member

    Still confused about cleaned coin. Conserved just muddies water

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