Coin Community Forum Like us on Facebook! Subscribe to our Youtube Channel! Check out our Twitter! Check out our Pinterest! Check out our Google+!
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

Welcome Guest! Need help? Got a question? Inherit some coins?
Our coin forum is completely free! Register Now!

How to tell if a coin has been cleaned,polished, or restored  

To participate in the forum you must log in or register.
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Valued Member
United States
497 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2010  9:59 pm Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add andrewjconners to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

title says it all. please let me know asap.

Pillar of the Community
United States
1534 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2010  10:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wheatguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There isn't an automatic, easy way to know. It takes time and practice, and knowing the different forms of cleaning and what effects they leave. My suggestion would be to look at cleaned coins here and on eBay and compare those to original, problem free coins.
Valued Member
107 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2010  11:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add johnathan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
generally they don't look normal, too shiny, too dull, shiny spots, it is a good question, what of coins cleaned fifty years ago and toned over again? but for me if a coin look odd must be a reason. Also of course if you see cleaning lines, whizzing etc.

I have heard of cleaning coins by ballbearings in a tumbler, heard somewhere of special wood blocks for tumbling coins also/ j
Valued Member
107 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2010  11:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add johnathan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
also there are silversmiths that can restore a coin, my friend sent out a silver coin to get a cut removed, will have to ask him next time see him... we go metal detecting .
Pillar of the Community
3546 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2010  08:21 am  Show Profile Check Libertad's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add Libertad to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In my experience, the worst clean-jobs I've seen have the following traits. The rims are completely ignored. They are black. They may be worn down from decades of handling from the edges. On the face, any lettering that's near the rim is also shunned and colourful. While the middle may have a cartwheel, the edge has lots of weathering and looks unnatural from the rest of the coin. It might look distinguished and "fine", but it's just neglect from rapid coin cleaners. And I'm not talking about tarnish, I mean gunk/dirt.

Also thin lines that look like scratches, possibly to disguise the movement of cleaning, or disguise it as a type of finish. They also come in circles scratches.

The more people can spot a clean coin and reject it, the less motive there will be for people to clean it before sale. Obviously one wouldn't try to repair a car oneself and claim it came rolling out of the factory brand new.

Vinegar coins look dull as if acid-washed, even though they make floors look shiny.

That's just from the ones that I've seen.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3294 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2010  09:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add nod2003 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If a very worn coin is shiny, that is a dead giveaway for a polished or dipped coin.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
14967 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2010  10:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Not always an easy thing to detect some coins that have been cleaned. Polished coins are usually really noticable though. If you see a coin that appears to be almost a Proof, it usually has been polished. They shine like a mirror. Not always done for selling as a great coin though. Many people use coins as a item to show how a polish or wax works. I saw one demo where a guy constantly pulled out coins and polished them with an auto wax to show how great it works. Of course there are those that use buffing wheels and jewlery stones to make them appear as a Proof for sale. Once done, not an easy thing to go unnoticed.
A cleaned coin sometimes can really fool even experts if time is taken to correct. Usually only on a higher grade coin though. Old coins normally have to much dirt, grime, toning, corroding, etc. on them so a cleaning is really noticed. Most old coins that show wear and are exceptionally clean you just know something is wrong.
Sort of like a car with really low milage and pitted windshield. A true giveaway of excessive use.
Where it gets tricky is when people try all sorts of things to make cleaned coins look like not cleaned coins. I've done that with my leaving them on a kitchen window sill for Months. At coin shows I've shown some and they were not detected as cleaned by some so called experts.
As a general rule if a coin looks to clean and shows wear it probably has been cleaned.
just carl
Pillar of the Community
United States
500 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2010  12:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add weavus135 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had a similar question a few months back. And I came to the conclusion that many of the coins I see (I'm talking non-US) have been cleaned in some sort of way in the past. I'm not seeing the lines or polishing remnants but they are clean. I mean they lack dirt. They have toning but they lack any kind of dirt. I'm one of those folks that just thinks a coin from 1923 should have some dirt. it just doesn't make sense. I'm sure I am in the minority here but there are levels of cleaning in my opinion. I will confess that I have cleaned 'dirty' coins with mild soap and water. I know this is a sin but the coin was ugly, it costs me $1 and I wanted to see the coin details. I've also 'played' with polishes just to see what they do and for me a mild cleaning is on a whole different level from those kind of abrasive cleanings.
Pillar of the Community
United States
727 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2010  1:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add OneBowl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As wheatguy suggested, comparing cleaned v non-cleaned is a great start. Check out eBay listings for G$1 and G$3. Those series were used in jewelry quite often, with most of those pieces cleaned in some form or another. Within minutes, many will almost jump out of the screen as being cleaned or polished. Those are the most obvious. Next, check descriptions. Honest sellers will identify cleaned coins as such. You'll get more reference points from that. If you have the coin in hand, bright lighting and magnification can reveal hairlines and other traits other posters mentioned. Unfortunately, I'm not sure anybody can tell with 100% accuracy. Further complicating matters, is there even a standard definition of "cleaned?" Let's take a F15 1799 dollar, for example. If silver polish was used on it yesterday, it certainly was cleaned. But what if some kid, in 1803, washed it in soap and water, then it made it's way into circulation for awhile, never having been cleaned again? Technically, it's been cleaned. Practically speaking, maybe it's no longer relevant. Anyway, with practice, you'll be able to identify the majority of them I'd say. And if the coin or price look too good to be true, beware.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3583 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2010  3:40 pm  Show Profile Check Maineman750's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Maineman750 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You might want to clean some junk coins so you have something to compare with.Use several different methods and lable them so you know how they were cleaned and how time affects them.
Valued Member
United States
55 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2010  4:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Dvorak to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That's a good idea Mainemen, I never thought to clean my own coins for purposes of learning what cleaned coins look like! Now where's my Dremel?
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.

Coin Community Member eBay Sales

Ending Soon   Newly Listed   Lowest Price   Highest Price   Certified Coins   Certified VAMs   Certified Errors  

Shop CCF Members on eBay!Shop for APMEX Bullion on eBay!eBay Coin DealsCheck out the newest releases from the Perth Mint

Disclaimer: While a tremendous amount of effort goes into ensuring the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Coin Community assumes no liability for errors. Copyright 2005 - 2016 Coin Community Family- all rights reserved worldwide. Use of any images or content on this website without prior written permission of Coin Community or the original lender is strictly prohibited.
Contact Us  |  Advertise Here  |  Privacy Policy / Terms of Use

Coin Community Forum © 2005 - 2016 Coin Community Forums
It took 0.47 seconds to rattle this change. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.05