cleaning coins

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by rarecoin, May 3, 2011.

  1. rarecoin

    rarecoin New Member

    what about using an ultrasonic cleaner that cleans jewelry
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  3. rarecoin

    rarecoin New Member

    is that ok
    and safe
  4. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Shoot rarecoin, I don't know, but I hope someone chimes in here soon regarding that method.....:)
  5. FreakyGarrettC

    FreakyGarrettC Wise young snail

    It takes lots of practice to get good at cleaning coins. One of my personal favorites is blue ribbon, however it is becoming increasingly difficult to find. MS70 also does wonders on silver, and EZ-EST is the most widely used coin dip. Many dealers I know use lighter fluid to clean coins, but personally I have no experience with it. For a basic solvent I generally use 100% pure acetone followed by a double soak in distilled water with two separate bowls. When done correctly cleaning doesn't hurt the coin but it takes a lot of practice, and NEVER, EVER, do so with the intent to fraud people. If you ever sell a coin which has been cleaned, sell it as a problem coin.

    BTW, cleaning is not the hard part. What is hard is getting what you took off the coin back on it, so just keep that in mind. Plus the patina of a coin may be hiding problems, so many times the coin has more eye appeal before cleaning.

    Garrett :)
  6. BadThad

    BadThad Calibrated for Lincolns

    EXCELLENT POST! You summed it all up nicely Lance. The only thing I differ on is using water after acetone. The exact opposite should be done. If anything, rinse acetone off with acetone. I acetone rinse every single coin before I put it in an airtite for long-term storage. The acetone evaporates away in seconds leaving behind a nice, dehydrated surface. Water is the primary enemy of coins!
  7. colligoergosum

    colligoergosum I collect, therefore I am

    I have heard how cleaning coins ruins them, but just as an experiment I took a silver cloth to a toned (common date) Morgan and it turned out quite shiny, with no extra damage or anything - just cleaner and shinier. What exactly is it about polishing coins that devalues them?
  8. swish513

    swish513 Penny & Cent Collector

    is that for the really squeaky coins?? lol :goofer:
  9. SirCharlie

    SirCharlie Chuck

    Hey Ken, good to hear from you.
    Lots of good thoughts here. I've come to think that if a person is not happy with a coin, sell it and buy one you like, but if one must, I would think it would take a lot of time and testing to learn how to do it so as it would be hard to spot. Too many variables, type of coin, different metals, what you are trying to remove.

    I spotted a couple of pages that you might like to look over. This one mentions ultrasonic and some others. But, when you read this, it mentions items like soap, olive oil.....things I've heard many say not to do.

    Another page talks about detecting cleaned coins, and how they can hurt your pocketbook. I reckon with enough time and research, one might master it.

    Good luck,

  10. lkeigwin

    lkeigwin Well-Known Member

    I'll bet that works just fine. I wouldn't disagree with that, Badthad. Those who do a final rinse in water always use distilled, probably quite safe.
  11. lkeigwin

    lkeigwin Well-Known Member

    You just destroyed the original mint finish on that coin. It's worth melt now.
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    This thread is a prime example of why there is such a problem with cleaning coins. Here we have a bunch of people saying that this way is fine and others saying no it isn't. If you went back and looked you'd find literally thousands of threads on this one forum alone discussing the same issue and all saying the same things - over and over. And even if you took the time to find all the articles ever written on the subject in numismatic books and magazines, and written by those thought to be experts, you will find the exact same thing. One will say this is fine and another will say not it isn't.

    So who are you supposed to believe, who are you supposed to trust ? That's a pretty tough question isn't it.

    Well to answer that question you can consider this, something that experts agree on. Out of the milions and millions of raw coins out there in personal collections or sitting in a dealer's shop fully 80% of them, or more, are considered to be problem coins. Coins that if they were sent to NGC or PCGS would not be graded and slabbed. And the number one reason for that is because of harsh or improper cleaning.

    That's a pretty high precentage isn't it ? Guess why the percentage is so high. It's because the vast majority of all the things that can be used to clean a coin, very, very few of them will do so without harming the coin. That means that most of the people in all these threads, and all the books, and all the magazines - are wrong about what products are safe to use to clean a coin.

    Yes, there are some products out there that can be used to safely clean a coin. But even a large percentage of those (like coin dips), if used not used properly, will harm the coin and you'll end up with a problem coin. And other products (like acetone) can be safely used on one type of coin but not on another type of coin.

    Then there are other products like Coin-Care and Blue Ribbon, products that many say are wonderful and will help preserve your coins, products that they have used for years and years. If you send in a coin to the TPG that has had either of these products applied to them, the coin will not be graded and slabbed for these products contain oils that alter the surface of the coin.

    So again, what do you do - who do you trust ? Well, the wise choice is don't do anything. That's why the single most common advice you will ever get is - don't clean your coins.

    My personal opinion based on 50 years of experience in the hobby has taught me that the following things, if used properly, can be safely used to clean coins. Nothing else, and no other method should ever be used. They are -

    1 - distilled water

    2 - acetone, but never on copper coins

    3 - xylene

    4 - coin dips

    That's it, forget anything else. Now you can choose to believe that, or not. But the evidence, based on what happens to the millions of coins submitted to the TPGs, says you should believe it.

    note - Thad's product, Verdi-Care, appears to be safe to use for the removal of light verdigris. But I have no personal experience with the product so I can neither confirm nor deny what the outcome would be.
  13. swish513

    swish513 Penny & Cent Collector

    but isn't thad's product meant for problem coins that wouldn't grade anyway?
  14. BadThad

    BadThad Calibrated for Lincolns

    Probably OK given a sufficent drying period. However, the surfaces will be rehydrated. I like to strip as many water molecules from the surface as possible prior to storage....acetone does a dandy job of that. :)

    Oh...your Lincoln collection is simply AMAZING Lance. Not only in grade, but your strikes on some of the tougher branch mint years are supreme! I can tell you put a TON of effort into it.
  15. BadThad

    BadThad Calibrated for Lincolns

    Yep, the purpose of VC is not to deceive TPG's or collectors, it's to salvage an otherwise problem resue it from the harmful corrosion process.
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