This article is intended to address the topic of Cleaning Coins. Just so you don’t miss it, I will state it right here at the beginning – DON’T DO IT!!!! Cleaning Coins is a huge no-no!
It is human nature that a bright, shiny coin is more “attractive” than a dark, dirty coin. Our default setting, especially for the neophyte, is that a coin should be worth more if it is more appealing to the eye. And don’t get me wrong, “eye appeal” is a very important factor in determining a coin’s value. BUT, nice eye appeal MUST come from a coin naturally, in original condition, absolutely free of any cleaning, alteration, or any type of process to “improve” the look of the coin!
It is heart breaking when clients come in with rare & valuable (at least they were!) coins that they just cleaned up before bringing them in to our shops for evaluation and possible sale! Over the years we have witnessed numerous coins that have had their values cut by as much as 75% due to the owners cleaning the coins!!
There are plenty of cleaning methods out there, and with the proliferation of the internet as a source of information, far too many coin owners are lured into purchasing cleaning solutions or kits. Or are tempted to try some method they saw on a YouTube video. Resist the temptation!! If you are considering Cleaning Coins, always show them first to a numismatic professional (a bona fide coin dealer or serious collector)! It could mean the difference between your coins being quite valuable or quite worthless!
Another admonition is on the flip side. If you are considering BUYING some coins, you must take care to not buy coins that have been cleaned. Unless, of course, the cleaning has been disclosed to you and the coins have been heavily discounted! Buy from trusted sources, and if unsure about a coin, err on the side of caution!!
If you would like a FREE evaluation of your coins, please contact either one of our shops in San Diego;