Silver coins are beautiful and a great addition to a collection or investment portfolio. They can become tarnished over time. Although it won't affect the metal's value, it can impact resale value to some degree.
Some dealers will offer a bit less if your coins lack their original luster. That's why some people choose to clean silver coins.
If you're looking for the best way to clean a tarnished coin, we can help!
Here's how to clean silver coins.
Silver Coins and Natural Toning
In the coin-collecting world, the general rule is to not clean silver coins, period. Cleaning coins can damage the surface and the appearance, causing the silver to lose a portion of its monetary worth and collectible value.
A cleaned coin could decrease in value (above spot) by about 20% to 30%. Harsh or abrasive cleansers can cut the numismatic premium of the coin by more than half.
Coins that have lost almost all of their numismatic premium may only be tradable for their bullion content. Although a cleaned coin has value as a bullion vehicle, it may lose its potential as a numismatic trade item.
Although precious metal experts typically advise collectors to avoid cleaning valuable silver coins and bars, some people choose to clean them anyway. If you clean your silver coins, use gentle methods that won't harm them.
For best results, you should consider using a professional coin grading service. They are experts on coin conservation and restoration.
If you want to clean your silver coins yourself, here is a list of ingredients people commonly use for this purpose.
Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner, but it's efficient for removing stains and tarnishing from an old silver coin. It's inexpensive, and most people have baking soda in their refrigerator or cabinet at home.
It's a convenient choice and easy to use. One common method is to mix baking soda with enough water to make a stiff paste.
You can rub this on the coin's surface by hand. The baking soda scours the surface and removes dirt and tarnish.
Be sure to rinse the coins thoroughly with clean water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Many toothpastes are less abrasive than baking soda. For this reason, some people use it to clean coins. Although toothpaste is more expensive than baking soda, it's easy to use and no mixing is required.
You simply rub toothpaste onto the coin. It removes dirt, tarnish, and surface imperfections.
Rinse with clean water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Some people choose a more acidic cleaner, like lemon juice. Lemon juice is a natural cleaner that's useful for a variety of purposes.
It's a popular choice for stripping away dirt and tarnish from silver coins. Although lemon juice isn't abrasive, it can eat away at the outer layer of metal on your coins. This is how it achieves its cleaning effect.
You should not leave your coins sitting in lemon juice. After a quick cleaning, rinse with tepid water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
White vinegar is not only for cooking, it's also a very effective cleaning agent. This is thanks to its acidic makeup and its ability to neutralize odors.
Some people use white vinegar without any additives to clean silver coins. It's effective at removing grit or tarnish, but like lemon juice, it can eat away at the metal surface.
Opt for a quick clean, rinse with tepid water, and pat dry with a soft cloth.
There's controversy about the use of silver dip in the coin-collecting world. Some are in favor because silver dips are less harsh than other agents. Precious metal purists are against any cleaning or dipping of coins.
If you leave coins in silver dip for too long, it can lead to a falsely bright appearance and potentially lower the collectible value. Silver dips vary in application and strength.
If you choose to use a silver dip to clean your coins, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
The safest method for cleaning silver coins and bars is using distilled water. It does not contain any harsh chemicals or minerals that can mar the surface of coins.
Although using distilled water won't make your coins as shiny and bright as other cleaning methods, it's a safe way to clean silver coins without losing value.
Things to Remember
When cleaning silver coins, it's important to keep their value in mind. Some steps to remember include:
Avoid applying excessive pressure when you clean valuable silver coins. This will help protect your coins and prevent surface damage.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia should never be used on silver. These chemicals can damage the surface of silver coins and affect their collectible value.
Instead, use gentle and natural products like distilled water, baking soda, and white vinegar.
After cleaning silver coins, dry them thoroughly to prevent water spots and tarnishing. Do not use heat or rub dry. Instead, pat dry with a lint-free, soft cloth is best for drying silver coins.
Store coins in a cool, dry area. Do not expose silver coins to heat or humidity.
Consider storing your silver coins in a coin or bar storage box or a silver-lined cloth bag. Proper storage will help protect your coins and prevent them from tarnishing.
How to Clean Silver Coins
If you're wondering how to clean silver coins, you should know that most silver experts would advise you not to clean them. If you clean them improperly, you can damage the metal and diminish their tradable value.
If you choose to clean them, be sure to use natural cleaners and avoid harsh and abrasive chemicals. If you're interested in investing in silver or expanding your investment portfolio, the U.S. Gold Bureau can help.
We are passionate about precious metals and the role they play in today's economy. For more information and to sign up for our free investor's guide, contact the U.S. Gold Bureau today.