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Why Is Cleaning So Bad?

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Valued Member
71 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  2:49 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add pennymax to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Why is cleaning coins so frowned upon in the coin community, does it remove something from the surface?
Pillar of the Community
Canada
1177 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  3:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jakedacc to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
millions of reasons
1) tiny scratches
2) removal of original luster

worst thing you can do to a coin that contains numismatic value

of you got a brand new sports car would you take a power washer and steel wool to the door?
Valued Member
Canada
316 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  3:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kenney to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
depending with what you clean it with, it can leave scratches, spots and varied chemical reaction.

Plus a lot of collector prefer to see a natural coin than a little shiny thingy.

there's a lot of tread on this subject, try looking them up
Pillar of the Community
United States
1195 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  4:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add argentum to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another thing: the tarnish contains metal salts of the coins's metal and various compounds in the air. you actually remove metal from the coins by cleaning it.
Bedrock of the Community
13014 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  5:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would add that its only considered bad right now. There was a time when cleaned coins were all the rage and pretty much anything 100+ years old has probably been cleaned at one point. Depending how you do it it can damage the coin which is obviously bad, but it wasnt always frowned upon. On the bright side if cleaning becomes the way to go its easy to clean uncleaned coins lol. But like mentioned its for numismatic coins only really. If the coins only value is its precious metal content it doesn't really matter if you clean it.

They are you coins though and if you really did want to clean them you can do what you want with your collection. Just know that if you do they will lose value right now and if you ever sell them be honest that you cleaned them and dont try and trick people into thinking its some pristine example
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United States
16356 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  5:52 pm  Show Profile   Check vermontensium's eBay Listings Check vermontensium's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add vermontensium to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Coin collectors like their coins grimey
Depending on the level of cleaning, a coins value could go down 20% to 90% based on the harshness.
Silver and gold coins will take the biggest pounding of a harsh cleaning because it's softer metal than copper or bronze.
Hairlines will show, impairing any original mint luster that coin may have had thus, destroying value.
Copper coins vary from a pinkish look to bright flat coppery red.
Some people try to retone these coins to give them as much of an original look as possible. Any trained eye will spot these easily.
Bottom line, never clean your coins!
ANA LM1214396
U.S. Colonial and Large Cent fanatic.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3257 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  6:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add matthewvincent to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
While there may MAY be RARE exceptions to the rule, cleaning coins is to be avoided at all costs.
Vermontensium is wrong in one respect: We like coins which are not grimey but HONEST (dirt, toning and all)!
To hold a coin which is 150 years old and which has NEVER be cleaned is a rare privilege.
(So many HAVE been cleaned.)
To own such a coin is, well, NIRVANA!

Before you give in to temptation, post a picture of the coin which you think could benefit from a cleaning.
Chances are, your replies will all be, "DO NOT DO IT!"




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16356 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  6:41 pm  Show Profile   Check vermontensium's eBay Listings Check vermontensium's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add vermontensium to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It was more a figure of speech not meant to be taken literal
ANA LM1214396
U.S. Colonial and Large Cent fanatic.
Pillar of the Community
United States
8901 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  6:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Moe145 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A coin is only Mint State condition (with original cart-wheel luster) once. If you clean it, the minute surface molecular alignment, that gives an MS coin its luster, can easily be, irrevocably, destroyed.

Therefore, it's best if the coin is left alone, in its present condition, as-is, for future generations.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3257 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  7:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add matthewvincent to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That's LITERALLY, Vermont! ( Just kidding. No harm intended. )
Gee, where IS the English language going?
Moe, by extension, a coin is what it is. If it has not been cleaned it is original.
Like many ancient artifacts, it is best to leave them "AS IS."
Perhaps, in the future, advanced methods may make cleaning less destructive.
I think that I am referring to ancient archeological finds which, having been discovered, are documented and reburied
for future generations to find. Future methods of restoration will be better than what we possess today.
Some wise archeologists follow this rule, We coin collectors should do the same.

Bedrock of the Community
United States
19374 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  7:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add IndianGoldEagle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Plus it kills the value.
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16356 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  7:47 pm  Show Profile   Check vermontensium's eBay Listings Check vermontensium's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add vermontensium to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have an excuse today, migraine :-(
ANA LM1214396
U.S. Colonial and Large Cent fanatic.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
19156 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  7:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In reality the main purpose of cleaning a coin, refinishing a 500 year old table, changing the radio to AM/FM on an old car, etc. is distruction of originality. Sort of like taking off the wrappings on an Egyptian Mummy and putting all nice clean ones on instead. Reshapening the Original Bowie Knife. The past is gone once anyone has changed an item from the past. You can not redo the past or not yet at least. So it's not just coins that shouldn't be tapered with, it is almost anyting from the past.
Of course some people take that to an extreame. For example I know a lady with a 10 year old car and so fare has never washed that either.
just carl
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16356 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  7:52 pm  Show Profile   Check vermontensium's eBay Listings Check vermontensium's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add vermontensium to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
See, I'm not the only one :o
ANA LM1214396
U.S. Colonial and Large Cent fanatic.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3257 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2012  8:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add matthewvincent to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hey hey! Dirt on a car is nature's way of protection, must like the antique dust I have in my home.
How DARE I take Pledge and a cloth to remove it?
Grime, dirt, dust, toning and what not are protecting the coin.
We protect these coins, grime, etc., and I, for one, do so with pride.

YES, Nevalite, cleaning removes something from the coin.
Metal and honest changes to the metal that only many years can provide.
Once gone, they are gone forever. With that, so is the value that we old-time collectors put on a given coin
which has never been cleaned.



Valued Member
United States
158 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2012  12:19 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Roscue2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The only coin I have ever cleaned was a 1942 wheat that I found metal detecting. I cleaned it with lemon juice and water, and it went from being crusty to being shiny, but discolored in 2 spots. Still, I love that coin because I found it, so it has a place in my wheatie Whitman folder.

Darn, now I feel terrible about cleaning it :(.

HH
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