Precious Metal Maintenance: Part 2. Cleaning Your CoinsAlthough you certainly shouldn’t clean your gold bullion or precious metal coins too frequently, there may come a time when you want to make sure they’re free of debris. Here is how to do it properly.
Numismatic coins should never be cleaned unless under very particular circumstances—cleaning coins in an attempt to remove tarnish will only devalue them in the long run, and once cleaned, coins can never be “uncleaned.” While it isn’t advisable to clean your gold or precious metal bullion on a regular basis, it is important to preserve them carefully and effectively. If you ever feel the need to clean your coins, make sure you follow these guidelines.
Only “clean” coins that have PVC residue. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, used to be a component in plastic coin holders. Although PVC use has been largely discontinued, there are still some coins in circulation that have PVC deposits. PVC will corrode your coins, and must be carefully removed with acetone. In a well-ventilated room, pour ½ oz. of acetone in a glass container, and using protective gloves, carefully place the stained coins in the solution and allow to soak for approximately one minute. Remove the coins and gently blot dry thoroughly.
Don’t attempt to aggressively clean your gold coins. Gold is an inert metal, so it will never oxidize or discolor the way silver and copper will. You will likely never encounter a circumstance where you legitimately need to clean your unalloyed gold bullion coins. If they are covered with dust or some debris, simply brush them lightly with a microfiber cloth.
Do not simultaneously handle tarnished and pristine metals. Wiping tarnished and pristine metals with the same cloth could cause cross-contamination. Make sure you always handle them separately.Never leave any moisture on your coins. Moisture can cause discoloration in silver or alloyed coins that cannot be removed without risk of serious damage. Even humidity and the moisture from your breath can stain them.
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