Rare coins hold greater value when in good condition. That’s why numismatists or people who collect rare coins are careful while handling their coin collection. Maintenance of rare coins requires extra effort, especially if your collection includes uncirculated or proof coins. Inappropriate handling and inexpert cleaning can damage the coin permanently and decrease its value because many collectors prefer buying naturally aged coins.
If you’ve just started with your coin collection, then its necessary for you to understand the best practices to take care of a collectable coin. Here’s a guide to handle and care for your rare coin collection to get the best out of them.
Hold the Coin by the Edge
Most people have the habit of holding a coin between their thumb and fingers, pressing its face and back. But, this can damage your coin as natural oils of your skin can leave fingerprints or a thumbprint on the coin surface. If you’re holding a valuable coin, then you need to clean it to remove the fingerprint, thus damaging it further and decreasing its value. Develop the habit of holding a coin by its edge to protect it from wear and tear. If you’re handling an upper-grade coin, then place a soft, cotton cloth under the coin to protect it in case you dropped it, wear lint-free cotton gloves, and hold the coin by its edge.
Don’t Clean Your Coins with Metal Polish or Acid Dip
Using chemicals to clean your coins can cause abrasions or chemical reactions leading to permanent damage. Many coin cleaners that claim to remove dirt from the coin usually damage them as these cleaners can wear away the metal surface of the coin and leave scratches. These chemical damages can never be fixed. Therefore, follow certified cleaning practices to keep your coin collection in good shape.
Clean Circulated Coins with Soapy Water
If you have collected a circulated coin which is not as valuable as other rare coins, then use soapy water to clean it. Prepare a soapy bath for the coin by mixing warm tap water with mild dishwashing soap in a plastic container (don’t use glass or metal container as it can cause scratches). Immerse the coin in soapy water, gently rub both sides of the coin with your fingers and clean dirt or gunk on the surface as well as the edges. Work in the outward direction. After the soapy bath, rinse the coin under warm running water to remove all the soap residue. Lastly, rinse the coin in distilled water to remove chlorine residue or other contaminants. This time, hold the coin by the edge and not by its faces. Set the coin on a soft towel to air dry. Make sure that the coin is dry before storing.
Store Your Coins in a Dry Place
Oxygen, humidity and chemicals in the air can cause tarnishing of the coins. The way you store your coins also affects its condition and value. Store your coins in an airtight container to prevent tarnishing and keep them in mint condition. If possible, keep silica gel desiccants inside the container with coins to keep down the humidity in the container. However, if the coin was already tarnished when you bought or received it, then don’t remove the natural oxidation from it as it increases its worth.
Proper upkeep is essential to keep the rare coins in good shape and get their best worth in the collector’s market. Use the above-mentioned tips to handle and care for your valuable coins and avoid damaging them. If you’re new to numismatics, then contact a professional coin and jewellery appraiser to know the suitable practices of handling valuable coins.