Cleaning your coins.

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by National dealer, May 31, 2004.

  1. National dealer

    National dealer New Member

    Cleaning coins is one of the taboos in the hobby. It will adversely effect the value of any collectable coin.

    Cleaning includes, soap and water, wiping, rubbing, alcohol, acetone, commercial cleaners, and jewelry cleaners.

    Any form of cleaning will remove the original luster the coin had, leaving a dull appearance. Cleaning is easily spotted by dealers and most collectors.

    Cleaned coins usually lose 30% or more of their wholesale/retail value.


    This is a relatively new proceedure introduced to the coin hobby. Many became aware of the conservation services after the last couple of shipwrecked recovered coins. This process is becoming widely accepted throughout the hobby. The coins when conserved by a professional service do not harm the coins surfaces.

    A good article written here by NCS. Recommended reading.

    Accepted cleaning:
    There are a few times when cleaning should be considered. (should only be done by a professional). PVC damage, tape residue, very ugly toning.
    If you have coins that do not warrant the costs of professional cleaning, yet fall under the conditions of needing cleaned, do so only with proper coin cleaning chemicals. Home made cleaners should never ever be used. Remember that any cleaned coin will substantially lose any value it had while original.
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  3. GoldEagle

    GoldEagle New Member

    The ads for the following product give one the impression it is completely and totally fine to use it on coins.


    KOINSOLV is a neutral, non-flammable solvent used to clean contaminants such as oil, tape, PVC, and grease from coins, tokens or medals, etc. KOINSOLV does not change, toning or luster - even on copper. KOINSOLV is the ideal cleaning solvent to use on all your prized coins. From E&T Kointainer Co., the trusted makers of KOINTAINS, SAFLIPS, SAFGARD, and METAL SAFE.
    » Removes PVC, Oil, Tape, and Grease.
    » Harmless to Coins!
    » Replaces DISSOLVE.

    Let KOINSOLV save you a bundle on PVC damaged coins!

    What are you thoughts on these claims, National Dealer?

  4. National dealer

    National dealer New Member

    Many dealers around the country use cleaners on a regular basis. Koinsolv, MS-70, Jewel luster, Ezest, and many others. Do they harm the coin, YES. Customers want bright and shiny coins.

    If you look at the claims made, these are for damaged coins. Oil, tape, PVC, or grease. It doesn't mention dirty. Removing harmful materials from the coin is always a good idea. If the coin has better value, professional conservation is better.

    All of these cleaners will leave telltale signs for the experienced dealer or collector or grader.
  5. Ciscokid

    Ciscokid New Member

    Well I bought this stuff to try and remove scotch tape from a 1922 silver dollar and it did not work very well, in fact the tape is still on the coin, and of course now ruined--I even spent the extra 2-3 dollars for the plastic thongs, the liquid and everthing else was a waste of money--Now that stuff smells nasty and I would not recommend sticking your fingers into it, but hey it can't do what I needed it to do, so to me?? Its JUNK!!--Anybody wann buy the rest of the can, I'll throw in the tongs for free if I can find them---LOL--

    PS(Just kidding, noway will I send this crap to anybody--NOt even for free!!
  6. satootoko

    satootoko Retired

    A little bit of pure acetone in a glass dish does wonders for sticky tape residue, and it doesn't do diddly squat to the coin! :D
  7. Farstaff

    Farstaff Member

    But is't placing a coin in actone consider cleaning?
  8. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    Right now it is maybe down the road.
    I have used it and sometimes place the coins in a "Problem Coin Box" to sell sometime at a cheap price.

    Other than that...I just place them back where they were.

  9. Murphy

    Murphy New Member

    GooGone would remove the "sticky" from your coin that's left by tape. You can get GooGone at the grocery store in the cleaning aids department next to the hand soap and other cleaners.
    I clean my silver and a lot of proof coins that have that blue film. I use Dip-It coffee maker cleaner, then rub with GooGone, wash with Dial Handsoap, blow the water off with canned air and finally dry with a hair-dryer. They sparkle without any water residue or other marks as long as you are careful not to rub them with anything other than your own fingers, not even a Q-tip. Only use your fingertips after they have been well washed. And keep water running over the coin as you clean it so any debris that comes loose will be washed off instead of scratched in.
    I know people who would scream at me for doing this to a rare coin and maybe I would not be so ready to clean it as I would a modern proof, but this subject is more of a personal preference thing I believe - some people like cleaned coins and some really don't like them. So if you clean a coin, you are in effect cutting the maket in half in case you ever want to resell that coin.
  10. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    You are doing a great harm by rubbing your finger on your coins...finger prints will start to show on it.
    I would NEVER use GooGone at all on a coin.
    The only people that like cleaned coins are people who don't know too much about the value about coins...that is my thoughts.
  11. Murphy

    Murphy New Member

    I do have a problem with a few of my cleaned coins, not all, where the haze returns weeks after cleaning.
    I once read somewhere that acetone would neutralize the haze and it would not come back as readily. Does anyone know anything about that?
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    The haze found on Proof coins is caused by the wash solution the mint uses. By washing them again, you not only destroy the originality of the coin - you compound the haze problem.

    They are your coins, so by all means do with them as you will. But understand, someone who is knowledgeable about coins will see the telltale marks of your washing them in a heartbeat.

    Acetone will not always remove the haze but it may temporarily remove it. Sometimes it comes back even worse than before the acetone.

    The best thing to do with Proof coins that have haze, assuming you don't like it, is to sell the coins and get replacements without haze.
  13. Silver$$$Baby

    Silver$$$Baby New Member

    Can someone please share your opinion on how to detected a cleaned coin or a coin that has been dipped? I'm sure we all here come across coins many times and wonder whether we should buy them or not. We wonder because we don't know whether the coins have been cleaned or not. How can you tell not only in person but over the internet through scanned images? Thank you for your time.
  14. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

  15. Ron5812

    Ron5812 New Member

    spot of carbon :(

    I have a MS quality set of lincoln cents dating from 1932 to 2006. One problem, a few of the earlier dates have a spot of carbon on them. Should I just leave them alone? How does PCGS (or any grading service) feel about a spot of carbon? Does it affect the grading? To me the coins are still beautiful, to others, it might pose a problem. If I ever decide to upgrade I would like to know if, at all, I should remove the carbon. Can't supply a picture. The carbon spot on the coins is about the size of pin head, black in color.

    Thx Ron
  16. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    Don't clean the coins....Carbon spots will lower the grade and could get worse as time goes on.
    There isn't a way to remove the spots without damaging the coins totoaly IMHO.
    If I were you I would look for others of the same date and mintmark to replace the ones you have...and sell might lose some money on these coins since the spots.

  17. jseaman

    jseaman New Member

    Cleaning is appropriate in some cases. For circulated coins, it is almost never recommended. For ancients, it is usually required. For proof issues and some uncirculated coins it may actually be desirable.

    The word cleaning covers a very broad range of treatments that coins may receive. From the weeks long soaking in olive oil and physical scraping that ancient coins face when they are cleaned to the quick bath in acetone followed by distilled water that may be the appropriate cleaning method for proof coins. These two methods of cleaning are actually well accepted and fairly common among the pros. It is the chemical treatment of circulated coins that is widely frowned upon.

    These other cleaning methods are usually treatments that actually cause a chemical reaction in the coins' metallic surfaces. A bright and shiny coin with worn features is just not natural. This one should be obvious to most anyone. Removing the tarnish from an otherwise like new cent is also a no-no. The new surface simply never looks natural. The chemical action of cleaning actually removes a layer of the coins original surface. Even allowing a cleaned coin to re-tone over several years never restores it to its original appearance. A trained eye can always catch one of these coins.

    Improper cleaning can ruin a coin's value for all time. DON'T DO IT! It is an unusual coin that can benefit from cleaning - leave it to the experts.
  18. halo_1978

    halo_1978 New Member

    someone shoot me, i so ignorantly cleaned my 1906 filipinas and 1945 silver coins with baking soda (coins placed in an aluminum pan, with hot water and baking soda). its now lustering in my drawer.

    would this extremely devalue my collection??
  19. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    yes, I'm afraid it would :(
  20. Just Carl

    Just Carl Numismatist

    Unfortunately all to true. The spots are partially made up of the metal of the coin itself so removing it will also get rid of some of the coins metal. However, if you don't want to replace those coins you should consider putting the collection in a plastic bag and removing as much air as possible by sucking it out or squeezing it out. With no air there should be no further contamination.
  21. Rob Foster

    Rob Foster Junior Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to the forum but stumbled upon it looking for the type of information that is in this very thread.

    I've got a small coin collection that just mainly consists of of coins I've gathered up on my trips to various countries coupled with what is left of my Dad's old coin collection. I have no intention of ever selling any of this, it's value is only personal. So, I've been looking for a way to restore some of the shine and clean some of the garbage off of his old coins. There are a few cooler ones I've collected, some ancient Romans, a few medieval Spanish, etc... that I wouldn't dare touch - but for tarnished Euros and old Pence and the like, I'd like to clean them up.

    So I guess the advice I'm looking for is what type of cleaning method would be best for someone who doesn't intend to clean particularly valuable coins and also has no intention of ever selling them.

    Thanks in advance.
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