Penny Collection ruined by flood?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by dan doyle, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. dan doyle

    dan doyle New Member

    My Father who is in his upper 80s was an avid coin collector for decades of his life. He is currently in a nursing home with advanced Alzheimer's. We are trying to find his coin stashes around the house and unfortunately we found one after a recent flood that hit his basement. He had all his pennies in those Whitman coin collection books. I found them in a nasty, one foot tall, moldy chunk of blue cardboard. Who knows how long they were underwater but I can imagine what they look like. I haven't tried to pry the mess apart but am wondering...can they be salvaged and cleaned so that the value isn't destroyed?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  3. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Welcome to CT, it would be very helpful if you could post pictures of what you're looking at. What you're describing is a shame but it is what it is and you have to deal with it. Photos would help us to determine the best course of action.
  4. CoinCorgi

    CoinCorgi Derp, derp, derp!

    I would rescue them pronto-like and soak them in distilled water (change often), to get rid of the cardboard, mold, etc. Then wait for others to chime in with suggestions to go further (e.g. acetone).
    jafo50 and Oldhoopster like this.
  5. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    Oh dear.... What a mess. Bless you for trying to pick up the pieces for him. Some of those coins may be very special to him. Us collectors tend to get attached to our coins...... As far as an answer to your question, well that is a mess. The cardboard in those Whitman folders tends to tone coins over the years. I would suspect that adding water to the equation would potentially make that worse. The good news is that the bulk of the Lincoln cents are common and worth little more than face value. The bad news is there are a few that command quite a premium.

    I would approach the cleansing with absolutely no abrasion or scrubbing involved. Try to rinse away as much of the gunk as you can. I hope at that point you can see dates. If you find 1909-S (two varieties), 1914-D, 1931-S.... Please set those aside. They are the valuable dates in a Lincoln set. There are a few more, but these are the costly cents. Try to post photos of those here if you find them and we can help you determine of they merit professional restoration. If your pop had a high grade set, then I would like to see if we could help you keep it that way. Best of luck!
    derkerlegand likes this.
  6. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    It would be best to get those coins out of the folders ASAP and dry them off. This will reduce the potential damage to the coins.
    As @Collecting Nut said, photos would help determine what to do.
  7. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    I wouldn't say "dry them off" because to most people that implies rubbing them with a towel. But, yes, get them out of the muck, rinse them with several changes of distilled water, and then set them out to dry on a smooth, clean surface.

    If the stack of Whitman albums was a foot high (even after swelling up), I wonder if there's more there than just Lincoln cents?
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  8. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    You're right, I should've been more specific.
  9. Clawcoins

    Clawcoins Well-Known Member

    I had that happen to me before. Thus the reason now I have everything go into tupperware and/or ziplocks. I was not in this forum though and just used water on them. But I found them quite some time after a water pipe burst. They were on the back of a shelf that loaded up on water and I didn't pull everything off that shelf for quite some time. Luckily there wasn't anything special in those pennies.

    Good luck.
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  10. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Depending on the value, professional conservation services like NCS can work absolute wonders sometimes. I've seen an entire safe worth of coins that went through a recent California fire, with slabs all melted and twisted... and NCS was able to save most of the coins.
  11. Robert91791

    Robert91791 Well-Known Member

    Im sorry to hear about your dad. Yes it can be salvage and im not surprise that most will have some premium to the right buyer/collector.
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