Should you clean your coins? Many collectors do not want coins that have been cleaned, so be very careful when deciding whether or not to clean your coins. More often than not, the decision should be not to clean your coins.
Some coins found in circulation or while metal detecting, need a certain level of cleaning. It is how you decide to clean a coin that can make the difference between a valuable coin and one that is virtually worthless.
Clean, warm water will usually work best for removing general crud, dirt, and oils. Try not to use tap water as it has chlorine in it, which can discolor the coin. Don't scrub your coins or rub them harshly, as this can leave scratches on the coins surface. Just pat them dry. You can also soak your coins in olive oil for several weeks at a time. This will loosen most dirt and crud without damaging the coins surface. Acetone is another option for loosening dirt and grime without harming the coin. Be sure to use 100% Acetone, not fingernail polish remover as it contains other ingredients that may harm the coin's surface.
Upper grade and uncirculated coins shouldn't be cleaned with anything. The natural toning does not hurt the value of the coin, but removing it will. Some collectors even prefer toned coins and are willing to pay a premium for them.
As you can see in the photos, the cleaned coin has lost all mint luster and is discolored. The cent that was not cleaned still shows the mint luster, original color, and has nice eye appeal.
Another safe and effective product that can be used to help conserve and protect your coins is VERDI-CARE™. It can be purchased from many retailers like Wizard Coin Supply
Below are some before and after pictures of coins cleaned useing Acetone and VERDI-CARE™.