How to Clean a Gold Coin

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The process of cleaning a gold coin will typically reduce the value of the coin substantially, so it's important to visit a professional before deciding to clean a coin. Find out why coins should never be cleaned at home with help from a second-generation numismatist in this free video on cleaning gold coins.

Part of the Video Series: Coin Collecting
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Video Transcript

Hello I am Brian Kuszmar with thecoinbroker.com. Let's talk about cleaning gold coins. The first advice I would give to any collector or any person that had coins is, never ever clean your coins. In most cases you will ruin the value substantially, and you will get that advice from any coin dealer that you call or any collector that you talk to. Coins like most collectibles collectors want them in their original condition. A lot of times that means those little fine scratches or perhaps those little bit of dirt, which you perceive as dirt. Collectors want these things in their original condition so my advice is to never ever clean gold coins. The only person that should ever clean coins is a professional. And you should bring coins to a professional if you think they should be cleaned and ask them first. Now the type of cleanings that you have seen on television before would probably be for like treasure coins. Old coins that were found in shipwrecks where you see lots of barnacle. In those cases or barnacles, and dirt attached to the coins or have grown on the coins. In those cases a lot of times what we will use is an electrical process to remove the grime and the dirt. However they are not physically altering the surface of the coin by using any kind of abrasives or anything. The most common mistakes I see in cleaning coins is customers walk in with coins, and they've cleaned it with baking soda, a brillo pad, soap and water, or some kind of chemicals. I have actually seen a coin that was worth twenty thousand dollars get turned into a three thousand dollar coin by a customer that cleaned it. True story. Calls me on the phone he says he has got a twenty dollar proof gold coin, he is going to bring it in. I tell him it is probably worth twenty to thirty thousand dollars. He comes in, I look at it, and I notice that it's got lines all over it. I say well what did you do. He says, well it was all dirty and discolored before I came in, and I cleaned it. And what he did is he effectively turned it into a coin worth three thousand dollars. He lost twenty thousand dollars cleaning this item. Never clean your coins.

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