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Why Collect Coins?
Collecting coins is a great activity. You can collect coins as a hobby or out of passion. Many people collect coins on a professional level. Aside from the pleasure of collecting different kinds of coins, collecting coins has a great value.
Old coins generally have a higher value than the new ones. But the problem with old coins is that they are often corroded or rusty. So there is a need to clean them. But, washing old coins is not as easy a task as it seems.
Washing coins without taking certain things in concern may make the coin lose its value. So, today I will tell you how to clean old coins without devaluing them.
Why Clean Old Coins?
Why do old coins have value? Of course, because they are old. They preserve different historical backgrounds also because coin collectors find old coins very attractive.
But sometimes you come across some old coins that are so badly corroded that you cannot even see the surface of the coin. As a result, you cannot determine the value of the coin. That is when you are in need to clean those coins. But you also have to be careful not to hamper their value.
Here we will show you the methods of cleaning an old coin while still keeping its authenticity.
5 Methods of How to clean old coins without devaluing them
People who collect coins use a lot of different methods to clean their coins. But most of them damage their coins because they do not know how to clean old coins without devaluing them.
So, we need to know the proper methods and steps that will help you to clean the coins properly. In this article, let’s talk about some most used methods to clean up old coins.
This first method that we will use is for coins which have a little corrosion or a little dirt attached to it. We will be using materials that can be easily found in our house. The steps are easy to follow and effortless.
Step-1: Take warm water from your sink or kitchen. Wash the coin in warm water. This will remove the dirt held with it. Put a little pressure with your fingers but not too hard to clean it. Do the same for both sides of the coin. Then put the coin on a towel to dry out the excess water. Clean each coin separately in this process. Coins made of nickel and silver will be easily cleaned; however coins made out of copper will be harder to clean as copper reacts to more materials than other metals.
Step-2: Mix dish soap with water in a bowl. Put the coin in the bowl and slowly rub the coin with your finger from both sides. The dish soap will help to get rid of any extra dirt held by the coin. Repeat the same process for each coin individually. For any particular dirty coin, you can soak it in the water and dish soap mixture for a better outcome.
Step-3: To remove any extra dirt, use a brush and slowly brush the coin while keeping it in water. You can also use water and soap mixture in this process. Be cautious that this process might leave small scratches all over the surface of the coin which may decrease the value of the coin. To avoid this problem and keep the scratches to a minimum, keep rinsing the coin in water while brushing.
Step-4: After washing the coins, dry them off using a soft cotton towel. Use the towel and dry the coin by tapping it constantly. Avoid wiping the coin with the towel as it may cause micro scratches on the coin. Be careful that the coin is free of any moisture. This will make the coin clean and ready to be stored.
In this method, we will be using a coin bath using chemicals. This method will help with the coins which are deeply corroded, and the first method did not work properly on them. Some coins may contain hard dirt that is almost impossible to remove with only water and soap. That is where this method will help you to clean the coins without damaging them or making them lose their value.
Step-1: First you have to make a coin bath where you will soak the coins that have more corrosion, and that built up more dirt on its body than the others. To make a coin bath, you have to gather two important things. You will have to collect isopropyl alcohol firstly. Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol or surgical spirit. You can find rubbing alcohol in any pharmacy close to your home or neighborhood. The second thing you will need to make a coin bath is salt. Yes! Just plain salt. You can buy salt from the nearest convenience store.
To make a coin bath, take a cup full of isopropyl alcohol. Then put two tablespoons of salt into the bowl full of isopropyl alcohol. Now stir the slat with the isopropyl alcohol for a minute. Make sure that the solution is mixed properly. This chemical solution is acidic which will clean most of the built-up dirt on your old coins.
Now soak the coins in the mixture. Keep the coin into the mixture from two hours to a week. This time period will depend on how dirty your coin is.
Isopropyl alcohol is a universal solvent which will dissolve most of the dirt which doesn’t dissolve in regular water. But be careful that isopropyl alcohol is extremely flammable and keep it in a safe place.
Step-2: For this step, you will need distilled water. Distilled water is one kind of purified water that has been boiled into vapor and condensed back to a liquid so that it is separated from impurities. You can also find distilled water at the pharmacy or supermarket near to you.
After you finish soaking the coins in the salt and rubbing alcohol mixture solution, take the coins and rinse them with the distilled water as distilled water will ensure that any chemical that is left with the coin is rinsed and washed off.
Step-3: Take a clean towel for this step. Gently rub the coins on the surface of the towel. This will remove the extra dirt that didn’t wash away with the distilled water. Repeat this process for each coin individually. Also, rub both sides of the coin with the towel. After that, put the coins over the towel to dry off any extra moisture. Don’t stack the coins right after you dry them to ensure that they have been dried properly. Be cautious that moisture can damage your coins over time. So be sure that the coins are completely dry before stored.
We will use this method to remove any unwanted dust from the coins. We will use Vaseline for this process.
Take a cotton bud and put a thin layer of Vaseline on it. Now lightly dab the cotton bud over the coin where you want to remove the dust. You can also use a soft non-synthetic brush instead of cotton buds. Do not put excessive Vaseline on the coin. Also, it is better to use a magnifying glass while executing this process. It is best to apply the thinnest layer of Vaseline possible. The Vaseline will take the dust with it and make the coin clean.
This method is risky and used for extreme dirt removal. In this method, we will use an acetone bath to dissolve the dirt from the coins. You can buy acetone in the local hardware store. You can use Nail polish remover as mild acetone.
Take a little acetone in a bowl. Put the coins individually in the acetone. Keep the coin in the acetone only for 5 seconds. Then quickly pull the coins out. If you leave acetone on your coins, it will add brownish haze to their body. It may reduce the value of old coins significantly. So be careful not to leave any acetone on the coin. Acetone is a solvent, not an acid. So it will not damage the coin. But be sure not to rub the coins with acetone on it. It may damage the structure of the coins.
Be careful that acetone is flammable and corrosive. It is better to use a glove in this process. It is also better to use 100% acetone source as other sources may contain other chemicals that may destroy the coins and devalue them.
For valuable old coins, it is always better to consult with a professional coin grading service before you begin to clean your valuable coins. If you have doubt about the coin’s value, a good coin grading service will enlighten you about that particular coin. It will help you to take the decision whether you should clean the coin or not.
How to Store Cleaned Coins Properly
After you have successfully cleaned your valuable coins, the most important task comes after. The task is how to store the coins properly so that they don’t get corroded or dirty again. Here are some steps for properly storing old coins:
- Store the coins at room temperature. Avoid extreme cold or warm temperature.
- Do not store coins in high places from where they might fall over.
- Use acid-free plastic holders to store coins.
- Store the coins in hard plastic holders. Hard plastics are sturdy and protect the coins better in any environment.
- Make the containers airtight.
- Remove any kind of moisture from the container.
- Do not use paper to store coins as paper contains Sulphur which turns the coins black.
- Do not put the coins with any other metal materials as they will help to corrode the coins more quickly than natural.
How to locate old coins using a metal detector in your own neighborhood
People lose coins all the time all over different places. So you can be sure that lost coins are scattered all over your neighborhood. If you try hard enough, you can surely find the variety of coins every day, and if you are lucky enough, you may find old coins with the good value from time to time.
But to do this job, first of all, you will need to possess and have good knowledge about a metal detector. Millions of coins are discovered using a metal detector almost every day. If you equip yourself with a good metal detector, all you have to do is find a suitable spot for coin hunting.
There are different types of metal that you can find in the market. There are also metal detectors specifically designed for hunting coins which will give you a signal as soon as they can detect a coin. But general models of metal detectors will also work in this field.
Hunting coins will be easier if some specific features are built into your metal detector. The most important feature is target identification which will allow you to determine what the target object is before you start to dig it up.
Some metal detectors have LCD display on them which will show whether the target is iron, a nickel, dime, quarter, metal cap or something else. The audio signal can also give you an idea about the detected object.
Different types of objects have different types of signal frequencies. For example, iron nails tend to give a lower frequency sound signal, whereas coins tend to give a higher frequency sound signal.
Most of the metal detector units have a function of discrimination which will allow you to weed out the unneeded trash metals. A depth indicator will tell you how deep the target object is in the ground.
If you keep these features in mind, you will surely be able to hunt coins better than any other new coin hunter.