Coin Care: Should I Clean My Coins? How Should I Handle My Coins?

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The time and effort that you put into collecting coins means that you should do your best to take care of them, but you of course already know this. So you're probably asking yourself, what is the best way to take care of the coins? Truth is, though, unless you really, really, really want to, don't clean your coins; this will only lead to you reducing their value. If, however, you insist on cleaning them, here are a few tips.

Know How to Hold Your Coins

Coins are worth money because of the materials they are made of and their rareness. When you come across a coin that is rare, it is essential that you always hold it by the edges -- never the faces. Holding it by the face is likely to cause blemishes, thus reducing its value. For coins that are uncirculated -- in other words, they are worth a lot of money -- make sure to handle them with a pair of lintless gloves made out of cotton. It's best to avoid latex gloves because they tend to have lubricants on them, which can cause damage to your coins.

Cleaning Pennies

For copper coins -- especially pennies before 1982 -- ketchup will help clean them up. A small amount of ketchup and a toothbrush should bring back the beauty of almost any penny.If you notice the pennies are a pinkish color after cleaning them with ketchup, make a paste out of baking soda and water and rub it over the penny, followed by rinsing it with warm water. Other ways to clean pennies include with:

  • Lemon juice and salt
  • Salt and vinegar
  • Taco bell sauce
  • Tabasco sauce

If you're thinking about cleaning your coins with a pencil eraser, know that doing this can remove mint marks, which is not only illegal but will give you a bad reputation within the coin collection industry.

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