Local Hotel Cleaning Coins Since 1938

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by VistaCruiser69, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. VistaCruiser69

    VistaCruiser69 Well-Known Member

    This may be, at least in part, one of the reasons I've been finding old coins that look so nice and shiny clean in my daily pocket change.


    After learning about this, I hope that this continues on, even though it would potentially "ruin" a collectable type of coin. Things like this keeps the city (San Francisco) where I grew up unique, much like the Fortune Cookie Factory in China Town, Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista on the Wharf, the Annual Cable Car Bell Ringing contest and turning on the siren at precisely 5:12 am at Lotta's Fountain every anniversary of the 1906 earthquake. These are perhaps a few of the very last remaining traditions we got left here now.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
    Hoky77, tibor, Legomaster1 and 2 others like this.
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  3. 352sdeer

    352sdeer Collecting Lincoln cents for 50 years!

    Makes you wonder how many hundreds of thousands of coins with numismatic value were ruined by this practice? Too bad!

  4. jafo50

    jafo50 Active Member

    This can't be good at any level....

    "Along with the coins, the burnisher is filled with water, bird shot to knock the dirt off, and a healthy pour of 20 Mule Team Borax soap. After three hours of swishing the coins around, Holsen uses a metal ice scoop to pour the loot into a perforated roast pan that sifts out the bird shot."
  5. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    If only they'd clean the urine and feces off of the streets in SF.
    VistaCruiser69 likes this.
  6. VistaCruiser69

    VistaCruiser69 Well-Known Member

    Good question. But I think that answer to that is the hotel isn't in the business of cleaning the streets of San Francisco free of human dung. Trust me, I've gone there and walked through some very bad areas where it was everywhere. Makes me not want to go there anymore. So I just stay out of the areas known for such. I primarily stay in the Sunset, West Portal, Richmond districts and sometimes I'll stray into the Wharf area if I'm feeling lucky.

    The areas I stay out of is the tenderloin and South of Market areas, especially between Mission along 3rd through 9th Avenues and the CalTrain station. Those few areas are the biggest human waste corridors of SF.
  7. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Well that's one Hotel I'll never stay at.
  8. TylerH

    TylerH Well-Known Member

    Ah San Francisco - Where the streets EDITED! READ the rules profane language is not allowed. Prevent infractions. Thanks, but the money is sparkling clean.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2019
  9. VistaCruiser69

    VistaCruiser69 Well-Known Member

    I really don't think too terribly many. Plus the majority of currency in circulation is late 90's and newer. Basically the cheapest made and worst looking coin designs thus far in American History.

    I wouldn't be surprised if someone is looking through the coins before it's sent to the coin washer in the building. As the article read, they are rolled and then sent in for cleaning. Plus the guy actually doing the cleaning seems to be looking through them as well. He specifically states that he dislikes the non-eagle reverse quarters.
  10. 352sdeer

    352sdeer Collecting Lincoln cents for 50 years!

    I’m not talking about the coins from the nineties I’m talking about the stuff that was cleaned in the thirties, forties, fifties. Think of all the poor wheat backs, war nickels, silver dimes, quarters, etc. that were destroyed. The Motel has cleaned coins for a l o n g time since 1938. Just think about it. How many 1909 S VDB’s got it I wonder? It was in San Fransisco after all! The mint was in the city and I’m sure the majority of the coinage used there was from the local mint. So sad. :(

  11. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Way more than either of you might think. I say that because there have been stories similar to this one for over a century. I've read a few accounts from the 1800's of hotels and other establishments cleaning coinage on a regular basis.

    But the practice of routinely or regularly cleaning coinage goes far beyond that - even museums do it. The Smithsonian itself has always cleaned the coins in the official US Collection. And if I'm not mistaken they still do even today. In times past they used to take the coins and wipe them down with a jeweler's cloth. That's a basically a piece of cloth impregnated with jeweler's rouge - a polishing compound.

    Ya see, just like high end hotels and other so called ritzy establishments, the museums want their coins to be nice and shiny for the public and patrons. You also have to remember that until the 1960's almost all collectors did exactly the same thing to the coins in their collections. And it was only decades after the 60's that it really slowed down with collectors. It took that long for them to learn that what they were doing, had been doing for centuries, was wrong and harmful to the coins. Sadly, there are still those collectors who still do it today. And many museums, they still do it today as well, gotta keep those coins on display all nice and shiny for the public.

    Ya see, the general public, they simply don't know any better. Just like the thousands of members who have come to this forum over the years don't know any better. They too want their coins nice and shiny because to them nice and shiny is a good thing. They truly believe that wiping and cleaning the coins with rags, brushes, and basically anything and everything else you can think of - is a good thing.

    Ya really can't blame these people, clean is good dirty is bad - always has been. It's an idea, a philosophy that has been ingrained in them, ingrained in all of us, from the time were are born. We are taught that everything has to be CLEAN - all nice and shiny. So why should it be any different with coins ?

    Well, that's where education, the accumulation of knowledge, and the understanding that goes with it comes into play ;)
  12. VistaCruiser69

    VistaCruiser69 Well-Known Member

    You know, I've been trying to come up with a good reason to only bathe but once a week or month and after reading your post, I think I've found that reason. :) I'll save money on water plus I'll be worth more.
  13. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    For coins, you only have to worry about eye appeal. For people, you've got to trade off against nose appeal.
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