Does Silver Coin Rust or Tarnish? What You Need to Know

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Written By Natasha Jones
I'm Natasha Jones, an avid collector of coins, stamps, and paper money. My passion drives me to seek unique finds, from antique shops to international exchanges. I enjoy connecting with fellow collectors through forums and meet-ups, sharing discoveries and insights. Collecting, for me, is about preserving history and building a community around this shared interest.

Does silver coin rust or tarnish? Silver is one of the most popular precious metals. It has a high value and can be used in many different applications. However, silver does oxidize and lose its shine over time.

So how do we prevent this from happening? Keep reading to learn what you should know about how silver coin rusts or tarnishes and what you need to do to keep your coins looking their best!

Difference between Rust and Tarnish

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Rust and tarnish are related terms that describe the same process: oxidation. Rust is a reddish-brown coating on metal caused by oxidation, whereas tarnish is the dulling of silver caused by sulfur and oxygen.

While rust is a chemical reaction that can occur on iron and steel, gallium, bismuth, tungsten, and tantalum (metals commonly found in the jewelry), tarnish occurs more commonly on silver. Still, it can also affect other metals like gold or platinum.

Do Silver Rust or Tarnish?

If you’re wondering whether silver rusts or tarnishes, the answer is that it does not.

Silver is a precious metal and element, so it does not oxidize like other metals such as iron.

However, there are some things to note about how silver behaves in contact with other materials:

  • Silver has a high melting point, so it can quickly melt without burning itself. This also means that if you drop your coin on the floor, it might break into pieces rather than bend or dent (depending on how thick the coin is).
  • Since many coins are made out of nickel alloy (which contains copper), they may rust if exposed to moisture for too long.

Why Does Silver Coin Rust or Tarnish?

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Silver coins are predominantly silver and several other metals, such as copper.

Silver oxidizes over time to form a protective coating called tarnish, which you can easily remove with a polishing cloth.

A silver coin will rust if it comes into contact with moisture, just like any other metal.

Tarnish is an oxidation process that occurs naturally when air gets on your coin’s surface, creating a white powder-like substance that rubs off easily.

This doesn’t mean you should clean your coin often; if you notice discoloration or stain, it may be time for maintenance!

Remedies on Tarnished Silver Coins

If your silver coin has tarnished, there are a few ways to fix the problem.

  • Wash the coin with a soft, dry cloth. This will remove surface dirt and help protect it from further tarnish.
  • Use a silver polish to remove the tarnish. Polishing products can be found at most grocery stores or hardware stores and come in liquid form or as beads; you dip them into the water and then rub them onto your coin’s surface. If you’re using this method regularly, keep these chemicals from getting on other areas of your home as they may damage some materials, such as wood floors or countertops!
  • Use a soft cloth and polish (the same type used for jewelry) for polishes that contain no abrasives, such as baking soda—rub them gently over each side until clean and shiny again!

How to Take Care of Silver Coins

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Silver is a metal that can be cleaned with different types of products.

Some are specifically made for silver, while others will work on other metals.

The American Numismatic Association recommends the following methods:

  • Use a soft cloth to wipe away dirt and grime gently.
  • Use a polishing cloth on larger areas or scratches to remove tarnish, oxidation, and other surface imperfections.
  • If you have stubborn tarnish or oxidation stains (typically seen as dark areas with an almost yellow tint), apply a silver cleaning solution to remove them so they won’t affect your coin’s value later. These solutions come in liquid or paste form, so choose what works best for you!
  • Cleaning solutions can damage some coins’ surfaces if not applied carefully enough; avoid touching your coin’s design or lettering when applying it to prevent rubbing off any patina/mint coloring that may have been left behind from its production process back during its time made into money.”

Before you go…

We hope you now better understand how to care for your silver coins. From the information we’ve provided above, it should be clear that several important factors determine whether or not your coin will rust or tarnish over time. If you want to keep your collection in top condition, ensure it’s properly stored and cleaned regularly—or risk losing some of its value!

Check out my next article: “How to Clean Oxidized Coins?

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