Washing circulated silver coins with mild soap and water

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Doc J, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Doc J

    Doc J Mr. Brightside

    I may do this. I think the value of all of my coin roll circulated silver coins (all 90% silver and thousands in numbers) is around melt value.

    I am thinking of cleaning some of them in a simple bath of mild soap and water. Comments?

    I would be doing so to take over 60 years of dirt and grime off the coins. I also bought an old microscope ($25) so I can inspect a lightly cleaned silver coin.

    I think some older circulated coins are worth more than their melt value and have not been recognized.

    I'll start with half-dollar coins and go with $0.25 and maybe $0.10.

    I am just a hobbyist accumulator.

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  3. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    If they're not worth melt value now they will be when you're done.
  4. longshot

    longshot Enthusiast Supporter

    Really I think the coins in your picture look just fine.
    I will own up to lathering up my hands and sort of patting a really dirty coin, then rinsing under running water.
    But if you rub at all it's not good!
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  5. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    You will only remove any numismatic value above melt, as Eddie has correctly posted.
    Paul M. likes this.
  6. Nathan401

    Nathan401 Working like crazy to pay for the lazy Supporter

    I wouldn't do that. Many of your coins are hopefully worth more than melt value. The little bit of grime and crust on your coins lets potential buyers know they are uncleared with original surfaces, and that's what most collectors want.
    -jeffB likes this.
  7. JayF

    JayF Active Member

    I would suggest that you do the reverse, go through all your coins through the microscope first and find that ones that potentially have a variety or error and leave those alone. The ones that don't which I believe you just want to keep, go ahead and clean all you want lol. But also keep in mind that there possibly are varieties/errors that have not been discovered yet and any coins you clean could potentially end up having it. You can't unclean a coin.
  8. SilverDollar2017

    SilverDollar2017 Morgan dollars

    Why clean them? They look like nice coins with original surfaces. Collectors will appreciate original surfaces if not cleaned.

    If they aren't junk silver now, they sure will be once cleaned...
    joecoincollect, ldhair and Paul M. like this.
  9. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Why do you want to wash 54 plus years of history off of your coins? Any washing, even mild soap and water will destroy any value. Then they will be worth melt and nothing more.
  10. NSP

    NSP Well-Known Member

    I agree that they look nice the way they are.
    Insider likes this.
  11. Doc J

    Doc J Mr. Brightside

    I knew I would get a lot of feedback.

    I'll mention quarters. There were 6.9 billion silver quarters minted from 1951-1964. They are not rare. It's why they sell for melt value.

    I am thinking that I may pick out my best ones during this period and may clean 'em a bit to present a full set of 1951-1964 quarters in different mints just for fun.

    It's not like I am destroying the coins as there are another several billion coins for the serious Collectors.

    I'll say again that I don't sell coins (never have). I just think my idea will survive history in a positive way.
  12. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    It won’t but they’re yours to do with as you please. You have it backwards as well though, if you really wanna clean some clean the worst ones not the best ones

    Your logic also makes no sense. Why would you preemptively clean coins because you think it will be positive in the future. You can always clean them later if that ever happens. You can’t unclean them if you’re wrong
    thomas mozzillo likes this.
  13. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    I'm not questioning your figures but you left out some facts. Billions of them have been melted and are gone forever. More will be melted, all done under the law by the Feds. No one knows the surviving mintage of any specific date/mintmark. No one knows how many have been lost forever. If only one was in every car they have scraped that's a lot. Sooner rather than later, all junk silver will be higher in value than they currently are. Lastly, about 25 or 30 years ago, the face value of junk silver was about 8 times face. And today it's what, 12? Yes they are plentiful but the price continues to rise over time. If you clean them, then they will never be higher than face times the current rate.
    joecoincollect likes this.
  14. Doc J

    Doc J Mr. Brightside

    We are talking an area with 7 billion coins. I am working with two thousand coins. It's less than .001%.

    I am willing to risk these. There are no rare or valuable coins. It's melt stuff that I think are more interesting as I said.
  15. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Like I said they’re yours to do what you want even if you want to ruin them. I don’t really get what the point of the thread was though since you seem to have your mind made up
    Dynoking and Tebbiebear like this.
  16. JayF

    JayF Active Member

    I've done the lemon dip and vinegar with salt dip just to see what it does to coins and it comes out really bad. I do the acetone and q-tip now which works well for me. Here's one I cleaned last week (before and after). I like how it now shows a bit more detail on the pony tail and the letterings, I lightly scrub outwards towards the rim to get the insides of the letters. I think it looks much better tbh. Good luck and hope your coins comes out the way you want them to.

    Attached Files:

  17. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Soaking them in soap and water is not "cleaning", but it is only effective if there is crud that is caked on them like dirt, or blood, or sugar, etc. Just don't rub them, just let them soak. Some would say to dip them in Jeweluster, but that is even worse.
    longshot and ldhair like this.
  18. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Build the set just the way the coins are and take a long look at it's natural look. If you don't like it, dip it.
  19. Doc J

    Doc J Mr. Brightside

    You are not helping the value of silver coins. 8 X face many years ago with a 12 X face now is a really poor investment.

    The stock market and bond market is the better thing for wealth accumulation over the last 10, 20, and 30 years.

    In terms of metal commodities, my old gold coins are far out-performing silver.


    I like silver to do better over the next 10 years. It could be a major out-performance.
    Robert91791 and Mainebill like this.
  20. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    They belong to you. Clean if you wish. If they are circulated as I assume,so they have been banging together and rubbing against each other for years in coin pockets. If I was so inclined, I would put them in a large empty plastic tub ( such as a costco Pretzel container) , add water and a couple of DROPS , not squirts , of detergent to lower the surface tension and some old wash cloths....let them set for an hr and then swirl them for a while with your arms, pour out water and allow to dry on soft towels. If need be ,, repeat with water until it stays clean. I feel they will not be further damaged by this process. Obviously , you are forsaking any possible gains over current dirty value, but they are yours. Jim
    longshot likes this.
  21. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    The point is, even junk goes up in value. By cleaning them they will always be junk. By leaving them alone they are preserved in their natural circulated state. When supply and demand hits a common coin can become worth more and never be found in junk despite the high mintage because there is no supply. They've been melted, lost and cleaned.
    joecoincollect likes this.
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