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On Cleaned Coins--Yea Or Strong Nay?

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Pillar of the Community
United States
1385 Posts
 Posted 08/04/2016  9:23 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add jpsned to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Where do you stand on allowing cleaned coins into your collection?

When I see an obviously cleaned coin, I know that I could never have it in my collection. But for a while a few years ago I was getting some very nice-looking coins on eBay, and got some surprisingly good deals on some of them.

It occurred to me later that perhaps the reason the deals were so sweet was because the coins had been cleaned, though none of the descriptions mentioned cleaning (but we all know how unscrupulous some sellers can be).

Anyway, my feelings about cleaned coins are that I would not want one that was obviously so in my collection, but at the same time, if I found a coin that really was beautiful, I would not mind if it had been cleaned, just so long as the cleaning wasn't blatsnt. (As the mantra goes, buy the coin, not the holder.)

So how do you feel about this issue? Just say no to any cleaned coin... or do you grant some wiggle room for cleaned coins that don't look so bad?
Pillar of the Community
United States
6365 Posts
 Posted 08/04/2016  9:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypeCoin971793 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Cleaned coins are harder to sell, but I would welcome cleaned Seated dollars and draped bust coinage into my collection. Those are easy to sell.
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United States
14629 Posts
 Posted 08/04/2016  9:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I never liked cleaned coins . But if the coin has great eye appeal I might consider it as long as it's not harsh ,and the price has to be right .
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Pillar of the Community
Canada
3276 Posts
 Posted 08/04/2016  10:23 pm  Show Profile   Check silverwolf's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add silverwolf to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
there is always a place for a cleaned coin.. and in short defense of eBay seller's cleaning is not always evident. when cleaning is obvious I note it in the auction, otherwise, sometimes I can';t tell. so I leave it to the buyers to tell from the photo's..
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
17899 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  04:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Occasionally, I will buy cleaned coins at an appropriately reduced price.

Indeed, with ancient coins they are all cleaned, because that is necessary after recovery from in ground burial. A cleaned ancient coin is very often easier to sell.

With modern coins, it depends on value for purchase money, which sometimes gives the cleaned coin an advantage. Cleaned coins are always valued at a lower level than their uncleaned equivalent.
Valued Member
Netherlands
74 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  06:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add qxy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think as a seller you always have to mention it when a coin might be cleaned, only when you're sure it wasn't you don't mention cleaning. The reason is that photos are often very deceiving, it's often very hard to tell from a photo that a coin was cleaned. When you've got a coin in your hand it's much easier to tell.

Having said that, I agree with sel_69l that with older coins it's hard to find something that hasn't been cleaned. So it becomes a matter of how harsh the cleaning was, and when it was cleaned, as opposed to a black-and-white cleaned/not cleaned distinction. I always try to get the best quality I can find, but for many older rare coins a cleaned coin might be the best there is.
Pillar of the Community
United States
630 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  08:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add otto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
At the lower end of coin collecting, cleaning a coin may just be exchanging one problem for another. An unsightly $10 coin might be worth cleaning. There's not much to lose. I do not believe in harsh cleaning, though.
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United States
94433 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  10:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I collect mid to low end circulated coins. I am certain many of mine have had some old cleaning, possibly covered by additional circulation or by riding in a pocket. I have no problem with that. Eye appeal is important and I like the little things circulation adds to a coin. It does not bother me as long as the effects of the (old) cleaning blend in well.
Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  11:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Given that cleaned coins generally instantly lose a big part of their value after cleaning, I'm generally opposing cleaning coins. I won't do it myself (except from a slight brush to remove some dirt or fingerprints).

There is, however, one exception I have to make. I do happen to collect a few type sets in which uncleaned coins in AU or MS condition are completely unaffordable (some go for $10.000 or more). In those cases I can settle for cleaned coins: it's better to have a cleaned coin than no coin. One of the main reasons we have a lot of cleaned coins is Samlerhuset. They are a company selling expensive coins as 'valuable collecting objects' to mostly ignorant people: as such they are the biggest coin sellers in Norway. A cleaned coin looks better than an uncleaned one to the untrained eye, so they just destroy the actual coin for short term profit. When all those coins hit the free market again, they start making up a relatively large part of the total population... it's sad, but that leaves the cleaned ones as only viable option for my budget.
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United States
1895 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  11:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mister Kairu to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As long as the coins are not too harshly cleaned or have any distracting from the higher-grade details of the coin itself, I don't mind having cleaned coins. It also fits in my budget much better. My main coin collection I don't plan on selling in my life so the lower value does not matter as much to me. As long as I like the look and price I am good with whatever it has been through.
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United States
6885 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  12:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If it looks good to the eye, and not blatantly artificial, I have no problem with them at all.

In fact I had some impaired proof, clad JFKs I found in circulation (extras) that were horrible looking. I hardly recognized them by eye as proofs. What made them stick out was their stronger details.

Since they are only worth 50 each, I took a Dremel and polishing compound to them. Now they resemble their former, mirror polish, but tilted the right way you see a circular buffing mark.

Will they be in my first set? No. But in my secondary set they don't look bad in the album and remind you of a proof. Now instead of me saying, "what a shame such a good looking coin is so horrible looking," they appear to have some of their former glory.

Some were bad enough that even if they had any numismatic premium, their condition made them so no one would want them. And now people still would not want them...but they look nice.
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Pillar of the Community
United States
1507 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  12:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Andrew99 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There a lots of bad coins out there that can be bought cheap. You may not want them in your collection, but not everyone is as discerning. I've made quite some money buying problem coins dirt cheap and selling them 2x dirt cheap. You can't do that with a PCGS certified problem free coin.
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Pillar of the Community
Russian Federation
3321 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  1:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add january1may to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One big area of my collection is 18th and 19th century Russian copper (and the occasional silver if I can find it cheaply enough). Nearly the entire supply for those is metal detecting finds, and most of the few exceptions are way out of my budget.

I'll definitely take an obviously cleaned coin for $1 over looking for a non-cleaned example (that might well have actually been cleaned anyway) and then having to pay $20 for it.

However, I don't really like cleaning coins otherwise (I have a very uncommon coin of early 20th century Saudi Arabia that was cleaned so harshly that its cupronickel became mostly red - I'd have probably thrown it away if it wasn't so rare).
Pillar of the Community
United States
633 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  4:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Illegaltender to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have this awful 1887 IHC with a harsh cleaning and a crude plugged hole right in the middle. Would I buy it? NO! I'm holding onto it so that I can try to make it look better, and to keep it away from an inexperienced collector who might overpay for such a horrendous example.

So cleaned coins? No, unless it's old and retoned on a coin I can't afford otherwise.
Pillar of the Community
United States
893 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  4:56 pm  Show Profile   Check Collects82's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Collects82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For me, a cleaned coin would need to be one of those older / lighter cleanings that has generally retoned and of a type that is scarce to the point this is better than nothing if priced appropriately. I do have a couple of these and am glad to have the type.
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Bedrock of the Community
United States
11935 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2016  4:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add GR58 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For me ... it depends.

If it is harshly cleaned, cleaning lines or highly polished.
it had better be very cheap.

Also for me
A cleaned coin is better than a empty hole.
Cleaned coins need a home too.
If there is something negative on a coin, better to clean it.

If someone offered a 1893 S Morgan XF cleaned for $500,
would you do it .... I know I would.

So ... price has a lot to do with what is acceptable.
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