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Cleaning Coins And Value.

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 Posted 06/16/2022  05:45 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add KerryKz to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Soo. If a coin is wiped with a microfiber cloth and distilled water... is this alone enough to destroy the value? Or do you have to push it to to the level of nic date or coins being clearly changed in color or finish? What if it's a beautiful rare one of a kind that was soaked n brushed off a bit? Wouldn't that still hold value to most collectors? Where is the deciding line?
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 Posted 06/16/2022  06:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Any cleaning will most likely reduce value unless done properly/professionally.There is a little leeway when it comes to very rare coins and colonial coins,ancient coins.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 6.5 +/- Million Cents Since 1971
Edited by John1
06/16/2022 06:40 am
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 Posted 06/16/2022  07:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There is no one answer for all the reasons you have already pointed out..

Ultimately, it's your coin, and if you like your coins bright, shiny and blemish-free, do whatever pleases you.

But yes, as @john says, there will be some risk of reducing the value ("destroying" is a bit harsh for the gentle treatment you describe) depending on the outcome.

Caveat lautus.






Edited by tdziemia
06/16/2022 07:24 am
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 Posted 06/16/2022  08:04 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Yokozuna to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I cleaned a few of my dad's coins when I was a kid. I used wet sand to make some of his Wheat cents shine like new. When I could sit down again, we talked about the proper handling of coins.


ANA ID: 3203813 - CONECA ID: N-5637

Clothes Dryers are the Coin's natural enemy. NEVER store your coin collection in a dryer. This has been a Yokozuna Public Service Announcement. dryer coin
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 Posted 06/16/2022  08:30 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Every coin recovered from burial needs to be cleaned.
That has happened to most ancient coins.

Conversely, if a coin does not need to be cleaned, then don't clean it. Simple.
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 Posted 06/16/2022  8:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
We often talk about "good cleaning " and "bad cleaning". By which we actually mean "market-acceptable cleaning" and "market-unacceptable cleaning". The main difference is whether or not the cleaning is visibly evident on the coin itself afterwards. A soak in acetone is market-acceptable, when done properly, because it doesn't alter the coin's surface at all. Rubbing the coin with one of those silver polishing cloths is not market-acceptable, because the coin is visibly scuffed and scoured by the abrasives in the cloth.

The example given by the OP is illustrative of why "common sense" is a poor indicator of what constitutes "good cleaning". A "microfiber cloth and distilled water" sounds harmless, but there are circumstances where it isn't. While the microfibre cloth itself indeed should be harmless, the problem occurs if the cloth actually picks up any dirt or debris as it is wiped across the coin. This debris sticks to the cloth, and each piece of stuck debris then gets scraped along the surface of the coin along with the cloth. This can leave a scratch-line, which would be clearly visible if we're talking about a proof or high-Unc coin, as the human eye is drawn to defects if the actual number of defects visible is low.

"Bad cleaning" always damages a coin, and thus always reduces the value, because you reduce the demand for that coin - there will be future potential buyers of the coin who look at it, and decide not to buy it because of that cleaning damage.

How much it reduces the value by, generally correlates to how old the coin is. Old coins have had much more history, and are thus much more likely to have been cleaned by a well-meaning custodian at some point in its past. The high proportion of surviving coins that have been cleaned means that such coins still retain some value and interest to collectors, though still less demand than for uncleaned coins.

Thus, consider German thalers, hundreds of years old and popular with the European aristocracy ever since they were first minted; almost all of them have been cleaned at some point, by somebody, usually over a hundred years ago; so the "penalty" for "old cleaning" on a thaler is minimal, unless it's a really bad cleaning job or otherwise makes the coin look especially ugly.

Modern US Mint NCLT commemoratives issued in the last few decades, on the other hand, do not have that history, and most of them are residing either in slabs or are still sealed up in their original Mint packaging; they shouldn't need cleaning yet, and haven't have had time yet for lots of them to have been cleaned, thus the value penalty for actually cleaning one is quite severe; a poorly cleaned NCLT commemorative is usually reduced to bullion value, and will likely get melted down, simply because literally nobody wants a coin like that.
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 Posted 06/16/2022  8:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ijn1944 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thorough summary, Sap.
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 Posted 06/16/2022  9:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well said, @Sap.

I learned my lesson about 55 years ago. I'd started collecting Lincoln wheat cents, all from circulation. I had managed to fill a lot of holes in my Whitman album. Dad was in the Navy and used Brasso to keep his insignia, belt buckles, etc. nice and shiny.

I still clearly remember thinking "That'll sure make my collection look nice!" Well, needless to say, I polished them all up to the point they were just gleaming, and proudly showed them to an older kid who'd been collecting longer than I had. He proceeded to tell me I'd just ruined all my coins, and explained why. I then took it upon myself to learn about the proper handling and care of coins, so it actually turned out to be a good (and inexpensive) lesson for me...
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Edited by hokiefan_82
06/16/2022 9:58 pm
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 Posted 06/17/2022  11:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Dearborn, I suspect that for a lot of us who started collecting at an early age, that particular "learning experience" was not an uncommon one!
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 Posted 06/19/2022  9:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
SAP said it all.
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 Posted 06/20/2022  10:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Dearborn, I suspect that for a lot of us who started collecting at an early age, that particular "learning experience" was not an uncommon one!
Who among us has not ended up with some "Pepto Pink" Lincoln cents in their possession?
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 Posted 06/20/2022  4:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jacrispies to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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Who among us has not ended up with some "Pepto Pink" Lincoln cents in their possession?

I have a shiny morgan to go along with that...
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 Posted 06/22/2022  03:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Soo. If a coin is wiped with a microfiber cloth and distilled water... is this alone enough to destroy the value?

If it is the first use of the microfiber cloth you might get away with it. If it has been used before and has been sitting around in the open the cloth could have picked up some dust or dirt (a lot of dust is actually silica) and then the cloth could drag these contaminants across the coin and leave hairline scratches.
Gary Schmidt
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