Cleaning Gold and Silver Coins Using Familiar Household Substances

Investing in precious metals is a wise choice because these items, specifically gold, has intrinsic value that does not depreciate when money or stocks do. For investors, it’s better to apportion about 10% to 15% of one’s investments in precious metals. Because of the innate value of gold and the economic changes that sometimes reduce the value of the dollar, many individuals are now buying gold and silver. There are several investment vehicles when it comes to these metals, such as numismatic coins, bullion coins, or bars.

Numismatic Coins

When it comes to numismatic coins, their worth is not just dependent on how much gold or silver they contain. Unlike bullion coins, which are valued for their weight in gold, numismatic coins are also prized for their history, age, grade, and rarity. Therefore, the worth of a numismatic coin is usually higher than its intended value. For instance, a 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coin, which is a twenty dollar coin, is a precious collector’s item that can cost millions of dollars.

History, Age, Grade and Rarity

Those who want to start a numismatic coin collection should consider these features when choosing their coins. The more memorable the history of a coin is, the more expensive it is. Again, looking at the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, the 1933 coins are more expensive than others minted before that year. As for age and rarity, the older and the rarer a coin, the more valuable it is. As for grade, this pertains to the condition of a coin. A coin that is well-preserved will certainly fetch a higher price than the same type of coin that has blemishes or marks.

Cleaning Coins

Since how well a coin is preserved can greatly affect the price of a numismatic coin, it is very important for collectors to be aware of how to keep and clean their coins properly to avoid marking or marring their coins. Below are some tips on how to clean coins using natural substances.

Important Reminder

People should be aware that handling a coin in any way can affect its value or worth. This is why those who are inexperienced when it comes to cleaning coins should seek the services of a professional. It’s also best to have expensive, older or more valuable gold and silver coins cleaned or preserved by experts. Furthermore, if a coin doesn’t really need to be cleaned, avoid touching or handling it with bare hands as natural oils on the hands can affect the coin. As for proof coins, it’s best to leave these be or avoid taking coins out of their secure casing.

Substances that can be used to clean gold and silver coins include:

– Warm water and salt

Soak coin in warm water, turning it a couple of times. Then, gently rub with fine salt.

– Lemon juice

Immerse coins in lemon juice for 20 to 24 hours. The coins should be turned over a few times and these should not be stacked on top of each other. Rinse afterwards.

– Vinegar and salt

In a deep bowl, combine ½ cup of vinegar with a tablespoon of salt. Drop in the coin to be cleaned and stir the water using a wooden spoon or spatula. The dirt will come off.

Reminder: Do not immerse two coins of different compositions in the same vinegar and salt bath because staining might occur.


The writer, Claire Kingsley, regularly blogs about coin collecting. She writes for many respected precious metal collectors and dealers, such as United Rare Coins or URC.

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