If you have a collection of coins that you have inherited or found among piles of discarded items in a family storage area, you could find yourself with some valuable objects that you can sell for a nice chunk of cash. However, before you sell the coins to a dealer, you may need to clean and store them properly. You want to protect the coins so you can obtain a good price from a coin dealer.
Handling Old Coins
While you may be excited when you find an old tin filled with Buffalo nickels from the early 1900s, or currency from countries that no longer exist handed down through your family from immigrant ancestors, you need to be very careful in how you handle the coins. The natural oils and dirt from your fingers can actually damage the surface of coins and affect luster.
When you discover the coins, try to refrain from handling them with your bare hands. Disinfect your hands with unscented sanitizer and handle the coins by the edges. If you have a pair of clean, cotton gloves, use those instead of your bare hands to examine the coins.
Make sure to handle the coins above a clean, soft cloth on a flat surface to minimize damage in case you drop them.
If you have very old coins that seem to be in fairly good condition with no grime buildup, you actually do not need to clean them. A coin dealer can do a better job of removing minor imperfections and you may end up damaging valuable coins if you try to clean them on your own. If the coins are from more recent decades but have a lot of dirt or grime caked on the surface, you can clean off the deposits safely with proper handling.
To remove caked up deposits on coins, fill a plastic container with warm, distilled water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Soak the coins in the solution for a few minutes. With clean fingers, gently dislodge the dirt off of the coins. Do not apply force or rub the coins.
Once the caked up dirt is gone, rinse the coins in a plastic bowl of clean, warm distilled water. Let the coins dry on a clean, soft cloth.
If you have valuable coins that are tarnished, do not attempt to remove the unsightly discoloration to prevent damaging the coins further. However, for coins that have little or no value, you can purchase coin cleaning solutions from dealers to remove the tarnish and brighten the coins. Some coin collector shops also sell brightener solutions for low value coins.
Regardless of the value of your coins, you should never attempt to spit shine the currency. You may see people doing this but spit may cause discolorations on coins.
Once you have examined and cleaned your coins, you need to store them properly. Proper storage is the best way to make sure your coins do not suffer any further damage.
For coins of low value, you can use Mylar holders and coin tubes. Mylar holders are inexpensive, chemical-free holders that enable you to see both sides of your coin. However, they are not airtight.
Coins tubes are useful for large amounts of recent coins. They consist of rigid plastic, hold dozens of coins and are chemical free. Like Mylar folders, they are not airtight. In addition, the coins will rub against each other in the tube.
For valuable coins, you should invest in airtight holders and albums. You can purchase holders make of hard plastic that enable you to see both sides of the coin without allowing air into the holder sheet. You can also write on the outside of the holders with markers.
For the best protection, invest in high quality coin albums. Top-of-the-line albums are large vinyl or leather-bound notebooks. The pages of the notebooks contain protective slipcases for coins.
If you have a very valuable coin, you should consider purchasing a coin box that encases the coin in an airtight, protective slot. If you would like to add to your coin collection, check out a shop like Penny Pincher Coins & Jewelry.