This week’s “tip of the week” addresses the issue of cleaning coins. Whether you’ve been collecting coins for a while, have coins in your possession that have been passed down through the generations, or are in receipt of coins from an estate, there’s a high likelihood that some of the coins are dirty, have toning, or some other type of residue. This then begs the question – should you clean your coins?
The answer is a resounding “NO.” Cleaning or altering coins in any form or fashion is a mistake. Coins that have been cleaned, dipped, scrubbed or polished not only lose their original mint luster, but also lose their collectible or numismatic value. While an extremely rare or low mintage coin is still going to have some value, even if it has somehow altered, there are going to be far fewer individuals interested in purchasing it.
Case in point – someone recently approached us with a 1904-S Morgan silver dollar that they’re interested in selling. They sent pictures, and it was obvious from the photos that the coin had very little wear. It would likely grade out as being in “Almost Uncirculated” condition, which could potentially be worth hundreds of dollars; however, it was clear from the pictures that the coin had been polished. Considering that it has been cleaned, we realized that we would have a much smaller customer base that would be interested in the coin and decided to pass on the item.
In summary, no matter the condition of your coins, it’s always better to leave them in their original condition. Not only does cleaning your coins devalue them, but it can also damage or scratch them – especially if you’re using a cleaning agent that has a negative reaction to the metal or if you use a solution or brush that leaves abrasion marks. We hope that you found this tip helpful and welcome you to contact us with any questions that you might have.