Should You Clean Collector Coins or Leave It As It Is? 3 Things to Consider

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Written By Paolo
A passionate collector of sneakers, Funko Pops, and Displates. Paolo has been a sneakerhead since teenager and has built an impressive collection of rare and highly sought-after kicks.

A coin is an artifact from history that tells stories about its past. As a collector, should you clean collector coins or leave them be? Cleaning a coin is not as simple as banging it up and fixing it with some elbow grease. You shouldn’t take your collector coins and start scrubbing them like they’re dirty dishes or anything silly; instead, you should always be mindful of what effect cleaning may have on the overall appearance of your collection. So the question is, should you clean collector coins? This topic will cover 3 reasons why cleaning your collector coins might be a bad idea.

Reason 1: The Value Will Go Down


One of the most common reasons collectors advise against cleaning is that it could devalue your coins.

  • Cleaning old coins can easily damage their value if you have a collection of old coins. This is because some things should never be done to an old coin. For example, one thing that many collectors prefer not to do with their collections is clean them because they believe it will reduce their value or change their appearance too much.
  • The problem with this argument is that while it’s true that the collector value of a coin might decrease if you clean it, so does its utility – after all, why would you want to use something as valuable as an antique if it isn’t in mint condition? And what good is a collectible item in its original state that has been altered? It’s important for collectors and buyers alike to remember these points when considering whether or not they should clean their collectibles before selling them on eBay or elsewhere online (which leads me to my next point).

Reason 2: You Might Do More Damage

  • Your second reason might be that you want to remove the patina on your coin. Patina is a thin layer of oxidation that forms on a metal’s surface, especially when exposed to air and moisture. Patina can be found on many coins, and it’s a sign of authenticity and history—it means that the coin you have, has been in circulation for decades or more.
  • Removing the patina from a coin would damage its value because it’s an important part of its history, but you might also do more damage by removing it than by leaving it alone. If you try to scrub too hard or use harsh chemicals like bleach or vinegar, you may wear down the surface of your collector coins until they look duller than if they’d never had any shine!
  • If you clean your coins, it could cause them to lose value. This is one of the reasons why collectors don’t like it when people take their coins out of the case and try to shine them up with soap or other chemicals—it just isn’t worth it!

Reason 3: You Might Erase History

  • Still not convinced on whether you should clean collector coins? Cleaning them might erase the historical significance associated with the coin.
  • You want to ensure that you don’t erase the coin’s history. A lot of collector coins are valuable because of their history. For example, if you had a Morgan Silver Dollar from 1880 and it was in mint condition, it would be worth around $1,000 or more. This coin is extremely rare today, and people love collecting old coins. If you cleaned off your Morgan Silver Dollar and turned it into a shiny silver metal with no markings, your coin would not have any value whatsoever! You would’ve wasted hundreds of dollars by cleaning off the years of history that made this particular Morgan Silver Dollar so special in the first place!
  • If you have a valuable collector’s coin because of its history, cleaning off all of those years worth of patina will only make it worthless. On the other hand, if your coin’s value comes from its age and minting process, then do not take away from that by trying to clean it up!

Should You clean collector coins or any rare coins?

If you’re considering cleaning a coin, consider the following:

  • What is the value of my coin? Is it worth more to me in good condition or cleaned?
  • Can I replace my coin if I damage it in the cleaning process?
  • How hard will it be for me to find another example of this particular item? Should something go wrong with your cleaning process and destroy mine?

If you decide to clean a coin, use only mild soap and water. Never use abrasive cleaners or acidic solutions—they can damage your coins. And if you aren’t sure how much cleaning is too much, it’s probably better to leave it alone than risk ruining an otherwise undamaged piece of history.

Cleaning a coin’s surface can cause more harm than good. When you clean a coin, some of its metal will be removed. This metal removal is what makes coins look dull and worn over time. Removing metal from the coin also removes it from its numismatic value, or how much money people are willing to pay for that particular piece.

Before you go…

I hope this article helped answer your question on whether you should clean collector coins. Collector coins can be worth a lot; as this article suggested, cleaning them might be bad. You don’t want your coins to lose their value just because you want them to look shiny. Sometimes, leaving them alone is better than losing their value.

Check out my next article: “Should You Clean Valuable Coins or Not? (Bonus: 4 Tips on How to Take Care of Your Coins)

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