Helping Damaged Coins

Rule 1, Don't clean coins.
Rule 2, All exceptions, see rule 1.
Rule 3, If you clean coins, you will probably lessen the coin's value.
Rule 4, If you are still going to clean, try this:......


These hints are tryable at the coin owner's/cleaner's expense - if they don't work, they don't work. Especially where copper is involved, each coin has to be taken on a one-on-one basis.

Nothing is a blanket policy - first ruin pockets full of circulating junk before cleaning one single collectible coin. Get it right before touching your collection. AND, not every un-clean coin needs to be cleaned.

The only problem I see and why I hate to talk about cleaning coins is people may get good results on one coin and think that they need to "clean" every coin they own.. after all it made the first one look better.

Helping PVC Damage - Silver

ONLY because the coins are already green would I recommend this.
Use the MS 70.. using a q-tip (not the kind on the plastic stick, but the cardboard stick)
Dab the MS 70 on the coin, (more is better then not enough) with the q-top flat roll it across the coin.
(lay the coin on a soft cloth, you do not want to hold the coin in your hand)
As the tip get dirty change to another, never put the dirty q-tip back in the MS 70.. toss it in the trash.
Rinse the coin in warm soapy water followed by a quick dip in jewel lust or acetone, if you use jewel lust I mean a quick, in-out as fast as you can.

Practice this on some late dates first.. it is a learning experience.

Helping PVC Damage - Copper

Helping PVC Damage - Other




General Tips for Copper

Red coins - a quick dash with acetone to remove surface dirt. If the surface is dull, a quick blot of mineral oil dabbed off with a clean soft rag (cloth baby diaper) will somewhat protect the surface.

Red brown coins - Very sparing use of acetone, then the oil, a lot like the red coins, but be very careful of turning the brown areas purple.

Brown coins - Just the oil, unless there is grit on the surface. In that case, a little mild soap and warm water, then the oil.

Green coins - Soak in mineral oil for ages, then use acetone to remove all surface spotting possible. Then recoat with oil and dab with the soft cloth. Will not remove everything, but will make the coin a little more acceptable. This WILL LIKELY turn the coin purple, but that's better than green.

PVC damaged red coins - acetone in liberal amounts, then an oil soak. after the soak, a quick coat of oil with a dab thereafter should completely restore the coin.

PVC damaged Red/brown or brown coins - Same as red except watch the acetone exposure. Beware of purple monster.

VERY LAST RESORT - For really crappy looking coins that have little value left, and do not have surface grime...ones you don't plan on selling - ever....and have little or no wear - use a 3-part mixture of Tarn-X (corrosive), lemon juice (for acid), and water (to dilute), and dip the coin for a couple of seconds. It will turn the coin basically white. Carefully hold the coin (with tongs) about three to five inches over a flame (candle) or cigarette smoke if you do that sort of thing....this will restore some red to the coin. Do not get the coin too hot, or you will find yourself with a wildly toned, very ugly coin. This takes practice to get right.

Before I knew any better, I turned a good deal of common circulating cents into little purple works of art. It took practice on the common stuff to know what to - and what not to use acetone on. Copper can be some of the most difficult stuff to restore the surfaces on. I can say that a quick dash of acetone rolled on with a q-tip (not scrubbed on) then a quick coating of mineral oil dabbed nearly clean afterwards is the best way to restore the surfaces without damaging the color of toned copper coins. Roll-end coins from the old shotgun paper rolls look especially beautiful (to those who like colored coins) once this process is done. I liken it to polishing a good antique piece of furniture with furniture oil. Brings out the color but doesn't change the pigment.

If the coin had luster to begin with, none of the acetone/oil combinations should have any negative effect on luster.

Another tip for cleaning copper coins the right way, then practiced to death on worthless wheat cents, and revised somewhat through this experience....for the black caked dirt/grime around the devices, try this:

A stick of soft wood, preferably a stick from a live tree. Sharpen the stick with an exacto knife, then get the tip wet. Use the stick to carefully trace around the devices to remove the cakes of dirt. Be careful to clean the tip often and to re-sharpen it when dull or dirty. One of the worst things to do in this case is to push dirt around on the coin. Pick and lift the dirt up, do not scrub it around.

General Tips for Silver