Tips For Handling & Cleaning Coins

Coin Handling

If your coins are still in circulation, they probably aren’t extremely valuable, but that doesn’t mean you can handle them just any old way. You do, however, have to take special precautions in coin handling.

In general, collectible coins should be handled carefully to avoid the possibility of causing wear or introducing substances that may lead to spots or color changes. Many holders will provide adequate protection for ordinary handling. Before removing a coin from its holder, consider whether it’s really necessary.

Never touch an un-circulated or Proof coin anywhere but the edge. Fingerprints alone may reduce the coin’s grade and consequently its value. Handling on the edge only is mandatory when examining another person’s coins, regardless of grade. Get in the habit of picking up collectible coins by their edges, and it will soon become routine.

When setting a coin down outside of a holder is necessary, place it on a clean, soft surface. A velvet pad is an ideal surface and essential for regular handling of valuable material. A clean soft cloth or clean piece of blank paper may be sufficient for less valuable items. Do not drag coins across any surfaces.

Cleaning Coins

The best piece of advice when it comes to cleaning coins is “don’t do it”. Even when coins look dirty or worn out with age, they are still more valuable than coins which have been newly-cleaned. Over time, coins naturally undergo a process known as toning, when oxygen or sulphur reacts with the metal. While it may not look pretty, the surface under the toning still contains the reflective quality known as mint lustre. Cleaning products will not only remove the lustre, but will add tiny scratches and fibres that will render the coin worthless.

Do Not Clean Your Coins! A coin may look dirty or dark but it’s important to resist the temptation to clean it. Cleaning or rubbing a rare coin can eliminate much of its value. You will not get less for a dirty coin, but you may get much less for a cleaned one.

If you are truly concerned about the condition of a coin, contact a professional coin dealer or conservator for advice on your best options.

13 thoughts on “Tips For Handling & Cleaning Coins

  1. Taylor Hansen says:

    I’m glad you mentioned placing the coin on a soft surface or a cloth when handling. Since it’s my uncle’s birthday next week, I want to get him a gold coin to add to his collection. I’ll make sure I handle it correctly when I buy it for him.

  2. Amar chakraborty says:

    I have a small collection of old coins of Germany, Australia, South Africa and East Africa beside these old coins of pre independent and post independent India. I want to sell all those coins at existing price. I shall be obliged if you send me a list containing name, address, E mail id/whatsapp no. and phone no. of Bonafide customers in and around Calcutta or adjoining area.

  3. Rachel Frampton says:

    My dad would like to buy a rare and gold coin since this will be a great investment compared to real estate. Well, it’s a good thing that you shared this; at least now we’re aware that he must not keep on cleaning them. I’ll also keep in mind to tell him that he has to lay them down on a clean and oft surface.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *