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Tolerances On Cleaned Coins

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Valued Member

Italy
303 Posts
 Posted 03/05/2022  10:58 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Roma2021 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello,

As I mention in almost every post, I am new to collecting...and live in Rome.

I come across a lot of 19th century silver crown coins and they are nearly all cleaned... Below is an example. I am.soliciting opinions on how tolerate folks are on collecting these. Certainly, price has to be considered. I understand some basics... For instance, I bought an 1873 Belgian 5 franc coins last week, uncleaned, for 4 euro over melt. I bought a 1935 Venezuelan coin, poorly cleaned, for a euro over melt. How do people feel about these, using the specimen below, which is priced at 40....






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United States
7792 Posts
 Posted 03/05/2022  11:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I guess you could say I have a low tolerance for cleaned/polished/damaged coins. If I can tell a coin has been cleaned/polished/damaged, I do not buy it. (Note: I don't consider coins that have been given one or two quick dips as cleaned coins; coins that have been dipped repeatedly to the point they have damaged/lost their original surfaces are a different matter.) I admit to being fooled once or twice!

Nothing I pursue is unique, so I'm content with waiting for an original example of whatever it is I'm considering.

As I like to say, "Coins don't heal!"



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
03/05/2022 11:54 am
Valued Member
Italy
303 Posts
 Posted 03/05/2022  12:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Roma2021 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@commems, thanks ... that makes sense. So far, as I mentioned, I am paying close to melt on some things less as 'investment' or 'must-haves' but because I am learning about coins - $18 is a small price to pay to study a cleaned coin worth $15.50 in silver . . . or so I reason.

I imagine you'd pass on the coin I posted above?
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United Kingdom
10546 Posts
 Posted 03/05/2022  2:44 pm  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Roma2021 - I think it varies a lot from country to country. US collectors tend to be more intolerant of cleaned coins than UK collectors, probably because British coins go back much further and it is much more difficult to get older ones that have not been cleaned.

I have little experience of buying coins in Italy, but I lived in France for two years and found that many dealers there sold quite harshly cleaned coins without advertising them as such: in fact, many collectors didn't seem to mind. And a British coin dealer I know once attended a coin fair in Norway and told me he was amazed how collectors over there seemed quite happy to buy harshly cleaned and polished coins!
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United States
1371 Posts
 Posted 03/05/2022  4:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Albert to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
When I was collecting One Coin Per Country a cleaned coin was no deal breaker.
It mattered not to me.
The primary goal in that collection was to obtain a coin from every country and each checklist line.
Checklist lines sub-divided the country by such things as government, date range or ruler.
Just getting some of the checklist lines were enough of a challenge, so if a coin was cleaned or not, was not a concern.
Valued Member
Italy
303 Posts
 Posted 03/05/2022  6:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Roma2021 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@Numis and @Albert thanks for your responses. . . I have been around the antiques and reselling trade a bit through the years - only heavily involved myself for the past two or three years - and only into coins for about six months; but even as a complete novice, before I ever owned a single coin, I was under the impression that a cleaned coin was bad; scarlet letter bad. In Rome, I find there seems to be absolutely no difference in listing between a harshly cleaned, dipped, heavily polished, lightly polished, or completely natural, uncleaned coin; most listings do not state a coin is cleaned in any way.
Personally, I do not like the look of cleaned coins. A 150+ year old coin should not look like it was minted last week. However, the overwhelming majority of what I look at is cleaned . . . sometimes harshly polished. Something feels very artifical or fake about a 150+ year old coin with a shiny surface . . .
What do you think of the coin I posted? From looking at Ebay, it looks like it can be had very inexpensively.
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United States
7792 Posts
 Posted 03/05/2022  7:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I imagine you'd pass on the coin I posted above?

@Roma2021: Yes. From your images, the coin appears to be polished. It's not a rare coin, so I would wait to find one with fewer (if any) issues.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Valued Member
Italy
303 Posts
 Posted 03/06/2022  04:31 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Roma2021 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree. I passed, of course... But I'm trying to wrap my head around why someone would take a 150 year old coin and think ...'the needs a harsh scrub and chrome-like appearance'
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5425 Posts
 Posted 03/06/2022  2:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think it is the difference between an antique dealer mindset and a coin dealer mindset.

As for the coin you posted, if it is appealing to you and the price is low, why not buy it? If you later decide you no longer like it, you will only lose a few euro on re-selling it.

(though I also agree with @commems ... I can find some on ma-shops without this unnatural shiny look, at about the same price).
Edited by tdziemia
03/06/2022 2:13 pm
Valued Member
Italy
303 Posts
 Posted 03/06/2022  5:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Roma2021 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@tdz... That is a good point. In trading in antiques, I have learned that touching patina
... Outside of dusting... Is a terrible idea.i have also noticed polished coins sell in Rome... To each is own? I haven't met many collectors, but do some coin collectors prefer polished?
Most of what I read and watch is American or american-centric regarding coins...


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Russian Federation
777 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2022  03:08 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Slerk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I wouldn't buy cleaned coins. Are there exceptions to the case when a coin with an original field is too expensive for my wallet. Believe me, uncleaned coins will only grow in value. You have to be patient and buy only the best samples. I would buy coins with a lower condition but with the original field.
Many collectors recommend doing nothing at all with the coin. The maximum is soap and water.
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Australia
3465 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2022  04:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add gxseries to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's really up to you. If it's priced close to melt value or is a scarce type why not.

I have a couple of cleaned and damaged coins that are quite scarce. I've tried to upgrade them for the last decade and they just do not appear in the market.

My partial coin collection http://www.omnicoin.com/collection/gxseries

My numismatics articles and collection: http://www.gxseries.com/numis/numis_index.htm Regularly updated at least once a month.
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19692 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2022  07:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
With modern commemoratives, even a tiny 'cleaning' can result in a drastic loss in value.
With World coins generally, it depends how much damage has been caused by the cleaning.
Rarity may also be a factor that has to be considered before deciding to buy.

With ancient coins, a whole different range of factors come into play and have to be considered before a decision to buy can be made.
Almost all ancient coins have been cleaned at some time or other, most often after recovery from ground burial.
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United States
1371 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2022  10:27 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Albert to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I watched a program on TV some years ago about the Smithsonian.
There was a guy there who's job it was to clean and polish the coins in the collection.
Apart from having a high tolerance for some particular coins from some particular locations, in cases where coins were more plentiful, I usually accepted those with the best eye appeal. Now here's and interesting deviation: If I had a page of common Morgan dollars with one space to go, I would decline a coin if it was brillliant or had the strongest eye appeal because it would stand out from all the others. In other words the coin was so nice it didn't fit in with the rest of those on the page. So I bought one that looked about the same as the others.
Valued Member
Italy
303 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2022  3:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Roma2021 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you everyone for your responses. I have only been casually buying coins and the few I have bought that were cleaned I am buying at 1-3 euro over melt. I am comfortable with that spread for now ... While, of course, keeping an eye out for better coins, uncleaned, at higher prices.

As a further anecdote, a consignment shop near worked asked my opinion on a customer's coins today... A few common date constitutional silver coins... Nice detail, but highly polished.
Bedrock of the Community
United Kingdom
10546 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2022  4:21 pm  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was in Greece a few years ago and looked in antique / souvenir shops for coins for my collection - not ancient coins, but specifically the Georgian copper coins with Britannia on them issued for the Ionian Islands when under British rule. Lots of shops had a handful of copper and bronze coins, usually in VG to VF condition, but they were invariably polished, and often stuck directly onto card with Scotch tape!
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