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rookie question about fingerprints and cleaning

7 posts in this topic

I know these subjects have been covered so please forgive the redundancy of these questions. Everyone says they will not buy a coin with fingerprints on it. OK I understand that even though the last picture posted here that I looked at I couldn't see what ya'll were talking about. I have seen obvious fingerprints. I also read in another forum how someone took a picture of a coin that was on the sellers finger and therefore had fresh prints on the coin. Can you not just wipe them off? I know the older ones that are set in the toning or whatever cant be wiped off but why cant you "polish" your coins by wiping them off? I also purchased some coins that was clearly stated in the auction, were treated to restore or to see the dates. All I understood of that is the dates would be visible. When I received the coins they were not visible and looked like a round blotch over the date. I requested a return and the kind seller said absolutely yes but that he did disclose that some kind of acid was used to treat the coins to show the date. I didnt know what date treating was but I do now! Acid? Is that really used? And if you can polish your coins what can you use (clothwise) ? Sorry I know I am rattling on, I do appreciate any info you can give and your continued patience with my simple newbie questions. Thanks for everything.

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The vast majority of finger prints can not be removed....the small percentage of the ones that can are removed by dipping the silver coins in jewel luster or for other types of coins including silver acetone can be used.


Like I said.....their are no guarentee's, but I can guarantee that if you use a cloth to try to remove the prints it will be visable on the coins surface in the form of hairlines. I can also guarantee that if the cleaning is evident in any way.....you will have hurt or destroyed the value of the coin you were trying to improve.


I took a couple of silver Kennedy halves that had multiple large finger prints and dipped them in acetone trying to remove the prints. When this did not work I took a cotton T-shirt and lightly rubbed the prints off the surface of the coins.


To me the coins look better because the prints were very distracting, but I would never be able to sell these coins as uncirculated as their are clear signs of a rub. Remember that just the slightest rub on a coin can reduce say an MS64 stunner worth thousands of dollars to an AU58 worth maybe a few hundred.


You are playing with fire if you try to conserve, clean polish, alter your coins in any way. For every success story, their are hundreds of "what the heck was I thinking" stories.


If you don't like coins with finger prints then don't buy coins with fingerprints and be careful when handling your own coins. If you own a coin and a print develops over time because of some previous exposure then sell the coin and get a new one.


The example you mentiond on the PCGS forum was a hoax by the way........that did not happen, but it does happen everyday.


As for the acid....you must be talking about a buffalo Nickel. Nic-a-date (I think it's called) is used to bring out the date on dateless buffalo nickels. The acid eates away at the metal surface of the coin and typically leaves a somewhat readable data. I personally don't by low grade buff's so I don't encounter problems with this sort of thing. I would say that a coin with an acid enhanced date would be worth nothing unless the date was an extremely rare one or if the coin was a rare variety of some sort.



I know this has been said before and I am confident you will heed our warnings but........ DO NOT CLEAN YOUR COINS makepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gifmakepoint.gif

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on coins some coins like buff nicks where the date is usually worn off on speciums in average circ grades yet most of the other design details are still clear as the date is higher than most of the coin


it is possible to put a commercial acid restorer like nic-a-date you buy in bottles that a drop put on the coin will actually bring out the date that is worn down to the nakked eye and this diluted acid makes the date appear more visibly to the nakked eye but on some you might have to tilt the coin at a certain angle under a light to see the date and the acid looks like a dried dirty droplet in the date area when it is dried a brownish look as the acid has eaten into the area surroundingt the date to brind it up sp to speak so you can see it


undesirable for many but rarer dates that show up like the overdate might sell for a couple of hundred of dollars so it is worth it


the rest are sold as restored date as such and to me a most unwanted coin from my perspective but there is still a demand for coins like these at a price


myself i would not polish any coins as it creates ugly marks swirl lines on the coin and in general most coins do not benefit from more demand as such unless it is from the unknowledgable buyer who thinks they are getting a better coin than it actually is but usually finds out in the end and loses money unless they can pass it off to some other unknowledgable buyer


with fingerprints i am sure with fresh prints on certain proof hard flat surfaced coins possibly others??? they can be easily removed but i am not into playing with or dipping coins so this is out of my area of expertise



hope this helps and feel free to ask any questions you want to on these boards if you do not ask you will not know all questions are good thumbsup2.gif



michael screwy.gif



a screwy.gifcollector

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What KC and Michael have said is really all the advice you need. I will add, however, that a coin with a restored date or one that has been polished - even lightly (like KC said) - can be spotted a mile away. If that's the way you like your coins, then more power to you. But the more you collect, the more you will begin to appreciate originality. Original circulated coins do not come with every feature, as if hot off the press. Original circulated silver and nickel coins are typically gray, copper is typically brown, and gold is often dusky or tinted reddish. These are the signs that seasoned collectors look for in a coin.


If the date has to be revealed with nic-a-date, then why bother? And if you want to collect the junk that has been passed on by snake oil salesmen for years and years, or even create some of your own, then clean away! But somehow, I don't think that's your intent.


There is a local coin shop that had a version of an urban legend occur within its own doors. A gentleman came in with a bunch of silver dollars that were circulated. he thought he had a fortune with him and was disappointed to hear the prices offered to him for the hoard. Some coins, however, were worth more than bullion due to their collector value. Anyhow, he went away and cleaned the coins - polished them. He came back proud as punch with the coins. They were worth no moer than melt value. All ruined by cleaning. The proprietor of the shop tells me that he encounters this frequently, as he travels to buy collections. He recently had to break the news to an older woman who was sure her collection was worth 50k. Cleaned and badly stored, the coins were worth about $3500. .........



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All of you are correct I dont want cleaned coins or treated for date coins and it was buffalo nickels. It left an ugly round blotch where the date should have been. I couldn't understand how someone could use acid on a coin when all that ya'll have taught me has shown not to even wipe a coin off. I am very careful with what I buy when I handle them. I dont!!!. They immediately go into a safety-flip if they are not already slabbed. This has been saved as another lesson in my "Lessons Folder"

Thanks again hi.gif

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As has been mentioned with the Nic-a-Date use on Buffalo nickels, there is left quite often a crescent moon shape that is darker than the surrounding fields. This color can take on a tobacco hue and is one of the first things that new collectors can spot in the arena of damaged coinage. Though some people still use Nic-a-Date, its usage is not nearly what it was in the 1960s when many people used the product on Buffalo nickels.


The wiping of coins to remove fingerprints won't help. Some prints can be carefully dipped off, but many are there to stay. One of the reasons for a coin to be bagged by the services is wiping and this alteration, while subtle if done with expertise, will ruin a coin once it is spotted in the correct light.


By the way, I will buy a coin with fingerprints on it if the toning is quite spectacular.

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