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Two New Coin Collecting Mistakes To Avoid

Numismatics or the art of coin collecting can be a fascinating as well as a monetarily rewarding hobby. When you first start collecting, you may want to purchase loose coins that have not been properly graded. This is often cheaper and you may end up purchasing a rare coin that you can sell later on. However, you may ruin your investment if you make some newbie mistakes at the beginning. Keep reading to learn about some of these mistakes you should avoid.

Cleaning Your Coins

It only makes sense that you want your coins to appear as sparkling and brilliant as possible with details that can be clearly seen. However, cleaning a coin can drop its value substantially. Cleaning removes the natural protective coating that forms on the outside of the coin called the patina. The patina is the discolored surface layer that sits on the outside of the coin and is the result of the metal interacting to its environment. Many people refer to this patina as tarnish when it comes to new coins and it is considered unsightly.

However, the patina on an old coin is often considered aesthetically pleasing. This is especially true when it comes to the natural rainbow tone patina seen on silver coins and that malachite patina noted on bronze ones. If this type of patina is seen, then it can actually raise the value of a coin. Not only can the patina make a coin look good in the eyes of many numismatic enthusiasts, but it can also inform a future buyer that the coin is authentic. It can be incredibly difficult, and sometimes impossible, to replicate the appearance of a natural patina on the surface of a coin in a way that will trick an expert eye. 

All of this means that you should absolutely not clean a coin, especially with chemical products. However, you can lightly rinse a coin in water if it is caked with dirt, dust, or other loose debris. To do this, put on some latex gloves first. This will help to keep the oils from your hands off of the coin. The oils will create fingerprints that you will be unable to remove. Afterwards, place a small amount of lukewarm water in a cup and gently drop the coin in the water for several minutes. Remove the coin and use a paper towel to blot dirt and water away. Place the coin on a clean cotton cloth to dry completely before you store it.

Forgetting The Holders

If you are just starting to collect coins, then you probably do not want to pay the fee to have your coins graded right away. Grading can cost you anywhere from $20 to over $250 dollars. You will also need to pay for holders and secure shipping if you use an online coin dealer, and you will need to wait sometimes up to 30 days or more for the service to be completed. However, the grading process will leave you with a completely encased coin in a sealed holder. This helps to keep it safe from damage.

Fortunately, you can seal your coins yourself by placing them in holders, and hard plastic holders that snap together are the best option. You will need to purchase the right size for your coin. You can either find a holder from an online coin dealer that is made specifically for the year and type of coin that you own or you can measure the coin to find a suitable holder. Coins and holders are both measured in millimeters, so use a ruler to find out how many millimeters across your coin is. Once you receive the holder, put on some latex gloves and use a cotton cloth to gently wipe dust away from the exterior of the coin. The holder will be either square or rectangular in shape, so make sure the words or head on the coin line up perpendicular to the top of the holder. This will help to make sure that the coin does not sit crooked inside of it. Once the coin is placed correctly, snap the top and bottom of the holder over the coin.