(The denominations have been changed to protect the innocent)
I am a clean and hygienic person (and you are probably already wondering just where the hell this article is going when I start off like that…..) but even I am aware that there are certain items which do not require cleaning. Oil paintings, antiques, ancient books….. these are all exceptions to the rule when it comes to cleanliness and they should not be scrubbed, scraped, buffed or bleached. Another category requiring the same level of respect is coins.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that coins are made from metal (yes, honestly) and that metal can be damaged with the help of some chemicals. Worse than that, damage to coins will often be irreversible (for anyone who didn’t know coins were made of metal – ‘irreversible’ means ‘no going back’).
Over the years I have spoken to a great many people about coins. I have also heard some thoroughly God-awful things in this time… terrible things….. evil, heinous acts carried out by the uninitiated. Tales of torture, suffering and chemical ‘improvements’. Like something from the pages of Robert Louis Stevenson or Edgar Allen Poe!
Here are some of the very worst things people use in their quest for ‘clean’ coins –
Drop a coin into some Coke and leave it there for a few hours. Once you have taken it back out it will be super-super-shiny. The problem is that this globally admired beverage will also do untold damage to your coin at the same time. It is basically known as erosion.
After seeing what Coke can do to a coin, it kind of makes you wonder what it does to your stomach :/
Works in pretty much the same way as Coke but this is even more acidic. Pickling your coins is not a good plan. You may make them look nice in the short term but it won’t take very long to see what awful damage you have actually caused. Just stick to using the stuff on your chips.
If a coin has been Brasso-ed you can spot it a mile off. It will have an unnatural look about it and continually scream at people, ‘Someone just polished the sh*t out of me!’. Brasso will strip away the coating and make the coin deteriorate rapidly over time. So if you save for your kids and you want their inheritance to have any actual value, move away from the tin.
Another firm favourite if you move in the completely wrong circles. For those who are fixated with having a coin collection that is thoroughly shiny, Brasso offers the ideal solution. It will leave virtually any coin glowing so amazingly bright it will be necessary to don your shades before perusing your collection.
When T-cut is applied to a coin it works much the same way as when it is used on car paintwork. So if you are merely after that shiny effect and aren’t actually bothered if the top layer is still present, go for it!
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019