Wednesday, October 31, 2012

COIN Collection/Selling: VALUE of cleaned and unclean coins

To the general public, it would seem logical that a bright and shiny coin would be favored by coin collectors- favorability of course is equated with value. This may be true to a certain extent if a coin is "naturally" bright and shiny because it was well preserved or just came from the Mint.  However, if a coin is "unnaturally" bright and shiny because it was dipped in vinegar and baking soda or scrubbed with an abrasive like toothpaste, then coin collectors will shy away. 
What's also true is that collectors prefer coins that display normal, natural color. In coin collecting, numismatists tend to take the "old, fine wine approach"- they value and appreciate coins that show their age.

Considering above and its impact to the coin value, the ready answer to the usual question if one should clean a coin and how normally leads to one answer: "Don't clean your coins!" Why? Its because experts can tell if a coin has been cleaned, like:  
1.  unnatural coin colors.Examples: cleaned pennies take on an unnatural orange color or show streaks or blotches of color; 
'Worn' Hibernia Half Penny.The unnatural orange
color indicates cleaning, which lowers value. 
Silver coins take on uniform grey colors otherwise unnatural for silver coins, etc. 

 2. unnatural, uniform coin reflectivity usually with heavily cleaned coins 

Values For Cleaned Coins vs Uncleaned Coins.
What are cleaned coins worth, compared to uncleaned coins? As there is little science in valuing either, judging a cleaned coin’s value are mostly based on eye appeal- how "nice" the coin look. There is no "rule" for such values and pricing and it is often done on a case-per-case basis. Sample valuations mentioned below are more common price discounts offered from dealers  based on their subjective assessment of a coin's eye appeal.

One of the biggest problems with rare coins is cleaning often with steel wool, silver polish, acid, or
 other similar destructive processes. You can't fix eye appeal or damage by cleaning your coin.

1. Abrasively cleaned with scratches or hairlines with lost luster will rarely be worth anything more than half its original, uncleaned value. 
2. Lightly cleaned (not scratched and minor evidence of impaired luster) may be reduced in value by as little as 10% or as much as 30%.



  1. Coins of interest to collectors often include those that circulated for only a brief time, coins with mint errors and especially beautiful or historically significant pieces.

  2. You're right. By the way, do you clean your coins? Thanks for looking...

  3. Such a great and informative post about selling coins. This will help coin sellers. Keep posting.

  4. Thanks Donna for the visit and comment. Please do visit my other posts here and my other blogs as well(see "My Links" in this page)as you might find other interesting topics. Feel free also to Join this site or subscribe through Network Blogs.


  5. In the past few years, the price of gold has been continuously on the rise. Because of this, many people choose to sell my coin collection, old gold jewelry and collectibles. The value of gold is way higher than it was 30 years ago, and many people are taking advantage of this fact by selling their old gold pieces.

  6. It is very simple to find old gold. Simply search through your belongings to see if you have any old gold you want to sell. Check places like the attic, basement, garage, closet, and jewelry box for gold pieces you might have forgotten about.

  7. Cleaning your coins is a good way to reduce it’s value. While cleaning your coins is a good idea, some coin collectors prefer, and would pay more, if the coin they were buying retained its natural color. Coin enthusiasts will be able to tell almost immediately if a coin has been cleaned or not. When it comes to putting a price on the coins, however, there is no set rule on how much it will fetch on the market as it’s done on a case-to-case basis.

    Melissa Yoder @ SouthFloridaCoins


  8. The state quarters are quite popular among beginners and serious collectors alike.
    You can check out a website that deals with coins or there are magazines you can subscribe to.
    See more: coin collecting books