Bellevue 425-454-1283 · Lynnwood 425-672-2646 · Issaquah 425-392-0450 · Tacoma 253-328-4014

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tips-handling-rare-coinsCollecting coins can be a very exciting and fulfilling hobby, and an essential part of this hobby is knowing how to handle and care for your coins.

Contact marks, blemishes, worn features or evidence of cleaning can significantly decrease a coin’s value. Following some simple rules of thumb when handling and caring for your coins can ensure they retain their worth, which will help you enjoy your collection for years to come.

How to Handle Rare Coins

Many of us handle coins every day when making purchases and don’t think twice about how we hold them. It is important not to handle your collectible coins in the same manner as you would handle a penny you find on the sidewalk.

You can easily damage an uncirculated or proof coin simply by touching the front or back of the coin. The natural oils in your skin are caustic enough to etch a finger or thumbprint into the surface of the coin. This leads to the first rule for handling rare coins: Always hold a coin by the edge, never the face.

Before handling your coins you should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to reduce the chance of doing damage just by touching your coins. You can get used to handling coins in this way by practicing with ordinary coins. Hold the coin by its edges with your thumb and forefinger. Holding the coin in this way will prevent damage and also makes it easier to examine the coin.

In many cases, handling an upper-grade, proof or uncirculated coin calls for wearing a pair of lint-free cotton gloves. Plastic or latex gloves are not recommend because they often contain powder or lubricants that can damage coins. You can also place a thick, soft cloth underneath the coin when you hold it just in case you drop the coin or it slips out of your fingers.

If you are worried about handling your coins properly, you can always place them in a holder to protect their surfaces or prevent damage caused by accidentally dropping them.

Cleaning Coins

The #1 tip for cleaning your coins is actually not to clean them at all. Virtually every type of cleaning can end up causing more harm than good to your valuable coins, making them worth less in the long run.

One of the most common mistakes new collectors make is using abrasives or acids to clean the coin’s surfaces. This practice can easily reduce their value by as much as 50%. Non-destructive cleaning uses solvents that are harmless to the coin’s metal, but even these methods hold the potential for damage.

Be sure not to use metal cleaners, which are acid-based and will remove some of the coin’s surface metal. Always seek professional help and advice when considering cleaning your upper-grade, uncirculated, proof coins or copper alloy coins.

If you insist on cleaning your coins, a weak soap solution in distilled water can remove dirt and grease without causing damage. City tap water contains chlorine which will discolor the coin, so be sure to use distilled water.

Coin Storage

The best way to ensure your coins do not become damaged is to keep them properly stored away and only handle them when necessary. If you want to enjoy your coins more often you can put them on display in protective cases.

Bellevue Rare Coins

Bellevue Rare Coins is the best place to buy and sell coins in Bellevue, Lynnwood, Issaquah and West Seattle. We also buy jewelry, gold, silver and diamonds. Check out our selection of rare collectable coins which you can add to your collection today.

Schedule an Appointment

  • Bellevue


    321 Bellevue Way NE
    Bellevue, WA 98004
    Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am - 6 pm
    Saturday & Sunday Closed
    Phone: 425-454-1283
  • Lynnwood


    18411 Alderwood Mall Parkway Suite F
    Lynnwood, WA 98037
    Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am - 6 pm
    Saturday & Sunday Closed
    Phone: 425-672-2646
  • Issaquah


    1175 NW Gilman Blvd Suite B16
    Issaquah, WA 98027
    Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am - 6 pm
    Saturday & Sunday Closed
    Phone: 425-392-0450
  • Tacoma


    2302 Pacific Ave
    Tacoma, WA 98402
    Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am - 6 pm
    Saturday & Sunday Closed
    Phone: 253-328-4014