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This is Why You Shouldn't Clean Valuable Coins

Collectibles & Galleries Last updated

Let's say you just acquired a coin that may have great value, but it's dirty and you are uncomfortable taking it to Coops Coins for an appraisal without cleaning it first.

You brush your teeth before you go to the dentist, right?

Coins are different. Don't clean them. You may be about to clean away thousands of dollars.

Cleaning Your Coins Could Actually Reduce Their Value

One lady brought in a coin that would have been worth $200 but because she dipped it in copper cleaner it was only worth less than $75 – a 60 percent loss in value!

A significant number of the coins that come in to us have been cleaned in some manner.

Most Cleaning is Destructive: It Can Literally Change the Surface of a Coin.

An 1878 S
An 1878 S - The first year of the Morgan Dollars in MS65 Uncirculated condition - original condition, never cleaned

Any cleaning that requires rubbing leaves microscopic scratches. They are not apparent to the naked eye, but a collector will see them. A collector will look for them.

Coins have fine details, the condition of which is a major factor in how much they're worth.

One person took a pencil eraser to the surface of a valuable and historical coin and absolutely ruined it. Ruined the value, ruined the piece of history.

Collectors Like Coins with Eye Appeal

An 1952 Franklin Half
A 1952 Franklin Half with original toning in MS65 - uncirculated condition

Collectors like coins with eye appeal, which means maintaining an original surface, unhampered by cleaning. It does not mean bright and shiny.

Most coins tone or tarnish over time. Patina and oxidation are normal and should not be tampered with.

It's true there are cases when a coin's toning is so extreme the coin becomes unattractive, but an expert will identify the value on sight, and can address the toning by dipping the coin in a specialized chemical cleaner. This is never advised for the general public.

There is no benefit to attempting to clean a collectible coin. Copper never re-tones to its original color and look anyway.

Put down the polish before you destroy something historical and throw away a fortune.

About Coops Coins

Coops Coins, Bullion, Currency and Stamps has been in business more than 80 years, serving our community and beyond with integrity and serving history with enthusiastic care. It's family owned by Randy and Lauren Briggs. The shop is at 21 E. Redlands Blvd., Redlands, Ca. Visit online at