How to Clean Silver Coins

If you’re wondering how to clean your silver coins, the best and easiest answer is “don’t”. Nothing destroys a coins value like some good intentioned cleaning. The reason is simple, cleaning a coin damages the surface surface no matter how gently you are. Coin collectors and coin dealers will closely inspect the surface of a coin when determining it’s value and want to see how well the mint did when they stamped the coin. Any scratches or other marks resulting from cleaning degrade the surface condition and the coin’s value.

The best way to keep your silver coins clean is to not let them get dirty in the first place. If you have a coin you think may be valuable some day put it in a case or other air tight container. Silver coins oxidize quickly so reducing contact with air will help preserve them longer. You can get a cheap case at a hobby store or even keep them in an airtight plastic bag.

1919 “D” Mercury Dime

Natural Browning of Silver Coin

With silver coins some gentle discoloration is normal no matte how careful you are and not something to be concerned with. The light brown hue that old silver coins get can add the the elegant look of the coin. However, sometimes silver coins can develop a dark black finish that makes it difficult to read the lettering or make out the images. In this instance some gently cleaning may be necessary.

If your silver coin does have a dark black finish the first thing I would do it look up the coin’s value. If it’s a valuable coin and you’re considering selling it you should consider sending it to a professional coin cleaning service. They will do the best possible job of cleaning the coin without damaging it. If the coin is not valuable and you’re not going to sell it then I would either leave it be or do a very gently cleaning.

The best way to clean your silver coin is get a bowl or warm water and add some dish soap. Soak the

Oxidized Silver Coins

Oxidized Silver Coins

coin for 20-30 minutes and then gently brush with a tooth brush. This cleaning method will not restore the luster to an old coin but will remove some of the built up dirt and grime while maintaining the integrity of the coins surface. Repeat this process a few times taking care not to push too hard with the brush.

So remember, when trying to figure out how to clean silver coins, it’s best not to. Unless your coin is low value and you’re not trying to sell it I highly recommend just letting your coins be. Or, prevent them from getting dirty in the first place by putting them in an airtight container to slow down the oxidation.

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Keith Obersk

My name's Keith and I started valuableworldcoins.com to learn and write about the coolest coins in the world. Thanks for reading.

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