Why You Shouldn’t Clean Old Copper Coins
Collectors prefer coins in their natural state and value patinas as clues about its history and value. Scrubbing or polishing copper coins typically damages them and lowers its worth significantly.
As such, it is recommended that copper coins found with a metal detector not be cleaned unless absolutely necessary; but if cleaning must be undertaken here are some points worth keeping in mind.
Know Your Coin’s Value
When digging for rare and valuable copper coins, the temptation may arise to polish it in order to make it shiny. But you should remember that their value lies within their metal content rather than on its surface – cleaning methods could actually diminish their worth; soak soaking a coin in an acidic cleaner for example can dissolve its value over time.
Similar to using an abrasive method to clean coins, using an abrasive technique for coin cleaning can also damage its surface and leave tiny scratches that decrease value. When selling rare and valuable coins, its condition should remain as flawless as possible and even minor blemishes such as small scratches can greatly impact grade and resale value.
One problem with some methods of coin cleaning is that they may strip away the green patina that collectors consider desirable in collectible items. Oxidation, or toning, helps make coins visually appealing and unique while being an important determining factor when it comes to grade determination. Although toning can be restored using chemical solutions such as citric acid solutions, natural processes will have more of an effect.
Some individuals seek to avoid these difficulties by opting for more gentle methods when cleaning coins, such as immersing or rising them in distilled water instead of chemicals. Unfortunately, even this approach could still cause damage; its presence could react with other metals in the coin or even rub onto your fingernail or wood surface and scratch its value further – so only use this approach on low-value copper coins; rare or valuable items should always be handled by professional coin dealers or appraisers first before any attempts at cleaning take place.
Don’t Do It Unless You Know What You’re Doing
There are various methods for cleaning copper coins, but each comes with the risk of compromising their surface. Given their value is highly dependent upon their condition, it’s crucial that you make every effort not to damage it in any way.
Cleaning solutions often involve acids that strip away patina and possibly the copper itself, leaving your coin more susceptible to corrosion and wear over time. This could damage its value.
Vinegar is an effective solution for loosening dirt from old copper coins. However, this should only be used on coins without any numismatic value and for only short durations to avoid over-soaking.
Be careful when using solutions made from water and vinegar or an over-the-counter copper cleaner as these could alter coin grading. Brasso can be found at big box stores and hardware stores but is best used only on copper with no numismatic value as its acid nature will strip away patina over time.
One of the easiest and safest ways to clean copper coins is with an eraser, although this process may take time. Be patient as you work around each edge carefully – and always go from edge to edge as soon as you finish! When finished, dry the coin using soft cloth toweling or tissue without lint so that it does not smudge. Once completed, rinse in warm distilled water after thoroughly drying them to avoid any spots appearing due to tap water often contain chemicals that discolor coins; to prevent scratches on their surfaces it’s best only soak one coin at a time so that its surface.
Don’t Be Abrasive
Metal detectorists who come across copper coins buried underground may be tempted to attempt cleaning it, hoping this will reveal more details on it. Unfortunately, doing this can damage its value by stripping away some of its distinctive patina that helps preserve its design and adds character.
There are various methods for properly cleaning a copper coin without damaging its value, including soap and water washing and rinsing it off before letting the coin air-dry – this is much preferable than using chemical cleaners which may damage the coin’s surface; additionally, excessive rubbing may remove some of the oxidation that gives your coin its unique appearance, further decreasing its worth and diminishing its worth.
An alternative approach for cleaning copper coins is soaking them in hydrogen peroxide for several hours and then brushing off with a cloth afterwards. This method will also remove some oxidation but not as effectively. If using this approach, be careful not to leave your coin too long in the solution as otherwise it could turn yellow over time.
Apply facial oil such as sebum to a copper coin to enhance its patina and features while not damaging its surface. Or soak a coin in ketchup for several minutes and brush it off later; its acetic acid will remove some of the tarnish.
No matter whether you are an avid collector or simply curious, there are various methods for cleaning copper coins. While using distilled water and a toothbrush is the safest approach, other techniques include using toothpaste on it and even submerging it in vinegar solutions or even kerosene to scour its surfaces clean. But just be wary not to overscrub too vigorously otherwise you could indent its surface and lower its value significantly.
Don’t Damage the Surface
Cleaning copper coins requires various strategies, but one key concern should always be any damage caused which could erode its value. For instance, too vigorous brushing could indent the surface causing indents which might seem harmless but for collectors could have an adverse impact on grading and overall worth.
As such, when cleaning coins it’s essential that they are handled carefully using tools such as fingernail polish remover or soft brushes to gently clean dirt and corrosion off of them. Acetone can also be an excellent solvent used to safely and non-toxicly clean copper coins; you should find it easily at your local drugstore; just remember to wear gloves while handling as it can irritate skin if used incorrectly!
One effective method of cleaning dug copper coins is soaking them in warm water for several minutes – this approach ensures as little alteration to their original surface is done as possible – something many collectors look out for as this gives clues into its past and can add significant value.
Use mild soap to rinse your copper coin, while making sure to use distilled water to avoid chemical discoloration. Once clean, simply dry your coin using a towel.
If you’re uncertain of what to do with old copper coins, consulting a professional first is recommended. They will be able to tell whether cleaning will devalue them and offer advice on how best to maintain and preserve them. Although most coin experts advise against cleaning copper coins due to diminishing their value, there may be cases when cleaning may be necessary in the near future, especially if planning to sell or trade the coin at some point; still it is wise to understand all risks related to cleaning in order to minimize risks as much as possible.