Graded coins look cleaned

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by New collector, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. New collector

    New collector Member

    I have read that coins should not be cleaned. I see a lot of graded coins on ebay that are very bright for age, so they must have been cleaned along the way. Am I correct in this, or is it the lighting that makes them shine?
    ripple likes this.
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  3. paddyman98

    paddyman98 Let me burst your bubble! Supporter

    If you send a coin to get graded to NGC or PCGS they will and can determine if it has been cleaned. And it will be noted on the label. No doubt about that. It's probably the lighting.
    wxcoin and Inspector43 like this.
  4. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Assuredly, there are many old examples of coins that were cleaned and wound up in TPG'er holders straight graded,as the rarity of such warranted a 'pass'. There was a time when cleaning coins was an accepted practice, and today that practice still exists. But professional conserving (cleaning) of coins is limited, and the acceptance of such among the coin community is limited indeed. In short, most us don't like or accept cleaned coins as collectible.
    coin_nut, wxcoin, buckeye73 and 6 others like this.
  5. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    There are a lot of cleaned coins out there. You have to know what to look for if you want to avoid them. However just because a coin appears very bright, that does not mean it is cleaned. Look at the coin in my avatar. It is a straight grade and completely natural coin. A coins appearance has everything to do with the environment it was stored in. I am a person that prefers a bright, new looking coin. These are often referred to as white. The key is to look at the luster. An improperly cleaned coin will display little or no luster.
  6. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    There's any number of things that can cause that on eBay as every single seller has different photo techniques/equipment

    Simple being blast white doesn't mean something was cleaned, just as simple being dirty or toned doesn't mean something is 100 percent original
  7. Kevin Mader

    Kevin Mader Fellow Coin Enthusiast

    Keep in mind that there are a number of mint state coins from decades past that look as good as the day they were minted. Preserved in state. And as noted, there was a time when cleaning coins was in vogue (perhaps 100 years ago); cleaned for display (usually just the obverse). But some folks will clean a coin to give it the appearance of a mint state coin. However, most collectors will spot a cleaned coin and avoid it...unless it's a rare/key coin that might be a step coin (i.e., a placeholder until a better specimen can be had).

    Coin conservation might be thought of as cleaning, but the intent is different. For example, a recovered coin from the deep might be encrusted with organic matter (e.g., coral) and must be removed to reveal what the object/coin is. A conservation usually requires a step process to remove the unwanted to reveal the object. It's not an attempt to make the old new again; it's a technique to restore an object to a desired state. With more common coins, conservation might be taken to stop verdigris, the green matter that plagues copper/bronze objects. The coin surface might be further compromised otherwise. So the hope is to stop the growth by removing it. This may enhance...or ruin a coins presentation (while conserving it). Normally, it's a problem coin at that point, but leaving it alone renders it a doomed coin anyway. So knowing what you have and what you want to do with it should be considered before taking a step that can't be undone. I suspect many botched attempts find their way to the 'Bay and are sold off; buyer beware.
    coin_nut and ripple like this.
  8. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    That's an interesting way off looking at it. 100% correct and that is why we buy coins in hand or upon an adjudicated public eye. Even that adjudicated public eye can be frowned upon sometimes.;)
    ripple likes this.
  9. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    It doesn't matter if a coin has actually been cleaned. It only matters if looks like it has.
  10. Razz

    Razz Critical Thinker

    Sounds like a George Berkeley philosophical question on perception. If a coin has been cleaned but no one can tell, has it really been cleaned?
  11. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    For all practical purposes no.
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    It's always the same with threads like this. Same questions, same confusion, same misunderstanding.

    Yes, you are correct. Fully 80% or more of all older coins have been cleaned. And tens of millions of them have been cleanly graded by the TPGs - and correctly so.

    But here's the thing, there is no problem with coins having been cleaned - none at all. But there is a big problem with coins having been harshly cleaned. Cleaned versus harshly cleaned - the difference in the terminology explains and answers all of your questions.

    When people say "coins should never be cleaned" - what they really mean is - "coins should never be harshly cleaned".

    If people would simply use the correct terminology there would be no questions, no confusion, no misunderstanding.
    medoraman, Mike185, markr and 8 others like this.
  13. Razz

    Razz Critical Thinker

    And sometimes there is a fine line between the two. The trick is to make sure and not cross that line if you are thinking about cleaning a coin.

    When in doubt, stop and let the professionals deal with it or wait until you have gained the proper experience (which could be weeks, months or even years).
    ripple likes this.
  14. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for saying this so I didn't have to.
  15. greed ball

    greed ball Active Member

    I cleaned 1 coin because I could not read the letters. There was a thick black grease on it. The patina is still there and I want to know if the value was altered from cleaning with liquid hand soap and nylon brush.
    ripple likes this.
  16. longshot

    longshot Enthusiast Supporter

    If the brush scratched it, it's damaged. Soaking in acetone would have been much better.
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  17. greed ball

    greed ball Active Member

    Thanks and the brush did not scratch it, I checked with a USB Scope.
    ripple likes this.
  18. longshot

    longshot Enthusiast Supporter

    I'm unsure of your level of expertise, and I cannot say for sure, not knowing more about the coin on question....but I rather think an expert will put your coin under a light and call it improperly cleaned. JMHO.
  19. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    No offense intended, but its a certainty, a given, that it did scratch it. That said, it is extremely common for untrained eyes not to be able to see that. You cannot wipe, rub, scrub, brush a coin with anything, and I do mean anything, and NOT leave scratches and or hairlines on the coin !

    Also, soap is almost a bad idea because it leaves a harmful residue on the coins. In some cases soap can be safely used, but only by those who know how to safely remove the residue it leaves behind.
  20. greed ball

    greed ball Active Member

    I appreciate the info, coin is a 1901 Indian Head Cent about a VG-8 .There are numerous scratches from use over the years so I will not post a pic.
  21. Derek2200

    Derek2200 Well-Known Member

    I have sent freshly dipped MS coins to TPG no problem.

    As long as dip removes pvc haze unattractive toning sb no problem.
    Jaelus likes this.
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