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As an novice, how can I tell if a coin has been "too harshly" cleaned to be graded. I submitted 5 coins a few days ago, and never thought for a minute that the person I bought them from might have cleaned them. Is there any form of cleaning that is acceptable? makepoint.gif

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Yes, lots of forms of cleaning are acceptable. The problem is that most people who clean coins do not know how to properly clean coins. They use abrasive methods, improperly use non-abrasive methods, or do not know what procedure to use when cleaning a coin.


There are several easy ways to tell if a coin has been cleaned. The coin will be covered with hairlines. Basically, tiny scratch lines all over the coin. Do not confuse these with die polish. Or the luster will be muted. There are many coins that have been cleaned improperly that while they might not show the hairlines anymore, they do not have a lustrous look to them. Basically they are dead to the eye. You can find a lot of these coins in slabs with low MS grades, but very few marks for the grade.


As for has the coin been too harshly cleaned to be acceptable to a grading service, that is something that only comes with experience. The older / rarer the coin, the more cleaning they will allow and still slab it.

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As a general rule, it is best to only clean coins with a fresh SOS pad, or Comet cleanser and a new sponge.


You just might want to stick with certified coins for now. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif




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What are the acceptable methods for cleaning coins?


DO NOT CLEAN YOUR COINS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! It is best done by people who know what they are doing. If you don't, you can and likely will ruin the value of your coins.


If done properly:


Dipping is OK. This is placing the coin in an acid solution and removing minor oxidation.


The removing of dirt using mild soaps and oils is also acceptable.


Using pure acetone to remove contaminants is OK.


Those are the most popular non-abrasive methods. Some minor abrasive methods are OK is it is removing a substance that is actively harming the coin.

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