Why not clean? Beyond the "cardinal rule"...

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by embermike, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. BUncirculated

    BUncirculated Well-Known Member

    Then, as suggested, don't read the thread, simple!
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  3. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    Did you clean your coins with Nitric Acid?

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    When talking about coins original means the coin has never been messed with - nothing has ever been done to it. It does not mean shiny and new.

    It can be done in a way without doing harm to the coin. But you cannot do that with a pencil eraser because a pencil eraser is an abrasive. And when you rub an abrasive on the surface of a coin you leave scratches and lines all over the coin.

    Most of the reason you don't see a problem with using an eraser is because you don't know what you are looking at, you lack the experience. But an experienced eye does and they can see it right away.

    OK, but suppose you took a piece of course steel wool to that antique furniture or painting ? Do you think that would harm it or restore it ?

    Yes, sometimes coins can be restored. But it depends on what is wrong with them, some things cannot be restored. And you have to use specific non-harmful methods to do that restoration.

    Yes, as a general rule newbies are told not to clean their coins. Why ? Because they don't know how to clean their coins. And just like you, they couldn't see anything wrong with what a pencil eraser does to a coin. So if they are told yes you can clean coins, they go out and try all sorts of things to clean them thinking they are doing good, when they are really doing untold harm.

    You see, there is cleaning and then there is harsh cleaning. Cleaning is OK. Harsh cleaning is not OK. And there is a very, very limited list of things that can be used to clean a coin. But the list of things that can be used to harshly clean a coin is almost infinite.

    Suffice it to say that there is a lot for you to learn. We will all be more than happy to help you learn it. And as you learn more and more you will soon begin to see exactly why we say what we say.
  5. embermike

    embermike New Member

    Thanks for the information everyone. Doug especially.

    The comment that has sunk in the most was your 3rd paragraph above. It's true, I often don't know what I'm looking at, not only in terms of the condition and quality of a coin but also in terms of what it is, grime included, and what I'd turn it into in any attempt to clean it. It's also an adjustment of sorts to look at something and appreciate it's value while in a condition that on the surface appears dirty, soiled, and covered in years of garbage. In reality, all of that stuff is part of the coin, and not necessarily an obstruction.

    I know that cleaning has been discussed countless times around here. I appreciate everyone taking the time to discuss it in terms of exactly why it is something that shouldn't be attempted by an unexperienced hobbyist.
  6. VNeal

    VNeal Member

    do not clean coins
  7. jloring

    jloring Senior Citizen

    Is that an order or a suggestion?
  8. BUncirculated

    BUncirculated Well-Known Member

    A belated request :thumb:
  9. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    I was going to "like" this comment earlier but I fell asleep.
  10. Detecto92

    Detecto92 Well-Known Member

    I clean many coins.

    I use acetone to "clean" organic materials off silver coins such as fingerprints, and skin oils.

    I use a rock tumbler to clean my dug copper coins, like common wheat pennies. Of course they will always be cleaned coins, since they came out of the ground in poor condition. But the tumbling improves their appearance.

    I use a rock tumbler to clean brass, aluminum, and zinc tokens. Token collectors are not picky about original surface, unless we are talking valuable tokens before the 1940s. The rock tumbler gives them an "original look". They look just like the day they were made. They do not looked "cleaned".

    I use olive oil on some of my more valuable dug coppers, like Indian head pennies. The oil removes thick green verdigris from the coin. Again...it will always been a cleaned coin, just improving appearance.

    ...and no...I never clean coins in an attempt to sell them for more profit. Anything cleaned goes into my private collection.

    Here are some dug wheats I got, and tumbled.


    They look much better. Although they look "bright"...in a few years time they will tone with the other copper wheats they are mixed in with.

    Here are a couple tokens I tumbled. No I don't have a before picture. Both looked terrible before though.
  11. Fall Guy

    Fall Guy Member

    Oh boy, here comes the rock tumbler thread all over again. :dead-horse:
  12. jhinton

    jhinton Active Member

    lemme go make some popcorn...
  13. Detecto92

    Detecto92 Well-Known Member

    Make me some too. I'm hungry.
  14. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member

    The reason that everyone says not to clean coins is because everyone says not to clean coins.

    I personally prefer to look at cleaned coins as opposed to tarnished coins, therefore, I tend to purchase cleaned coins for my collection. It works out nicely for me because I get the coins that I want at a discounted price. That being said, I personally do not clean coins.
  15. jloring

    jloring Senior Citizen

    You know, there may be something behind this reasoning. Of course, I'm from a different era (when cleaning was accepted, and in fact, the norm). I'll tell you one thing though... those coins in our old Whitman folders sure did shine!
  16. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    From reading the thread?
  17. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    Cement Mixer. Have you ever seen that happens to your coins when you forget them in a pocket and they go thorough the washer and the dryer....WOOOH

  18. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    Apparently So!
  19. Numis-addict

    Numis-addict Addicted to coins

    I think I'll post one better: http://www.cointalk.com/t200106/

    Anyone remember?:devil:

    Maybe Koen, "My now arrested friend" does.

    Good times, good times.
  20. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    Yeah that is pretty funny, but I don't know why Hobo gave it a like.
  21. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    There are 115 messages that come up with the key word search "Cement Truck"
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