Coin care!

Posted by Oliver Eckl on

Great care must be taken when storing, caring for and, above all, cleaning coins!

Improper or unnecessary treatment, such as using a harmful cleaning agent, can cause irreparable damage. The result is high losses in value. However, if you follow a few important principles, you can easily avoid mistakes and enjoy coin collecting remains undisturbed:

  • Precious metal coins minted in gold generally do not require cleaning!
  • Even most modern commemorative coins in silver and base metals do not require cleaning!
  • If anything, a soapy bath is sufficient for finger marks or small stains!
  • Larger amounts of dirt, such as on circulation coins, can also be removed with baking soda and lemon juice!
  • A silver dipping bath helps to brighten silver coins that have tarnished (not with "proof")!
  • Never put different metals in the same liquid or treat them together!
  • During cleaning, only touch the edges of the coins!
  • Try every treatment on less valuable pieces first!
  • Clean the coins as little as possible and leave them in their original condition as much as possible!

Hands off patina!

This is especially true for antique copper coins. The aging process has usually formed a natural patina on their surfaces, which can range from light green colors to brown and black tones. Such a genuine patina should definitely be preserved and must not be destroyed through misguided attempts at embellishment. It has been formed over many centuries and is considered an unmistakable sign of authenticity of an ancient coin!

The same applies to old silver coins, such as the thalers from the late Middle Ages up to around the middle of the 19th century. Especially if the surface is evenly darkened, it is highly valued as a patina in professional circles. But experienced collectors will generally prefer even a less beautiful patina to a thaler that has been trimmed to a high gloss and will value it more highly.