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Coin Collecting: Tips On Caring For Your Coins

Collector coins

Royal Canadian Mint numismatic (collector) coins come encapsulated to protect the coin from damage. It is best not to remove coins from their capsules because outside they are more susceptible to nicks and wear, which reduces grade and value. When handling numismatic coins, do so by their edges and only over a cloth pad so an accidental drop won't mar them. Avoid touching the coin unnecessarily, as dirt and grease from your fingers will tarnish the finish over time. Exposure to air oxidizes metal, changing its colour. Although the aesthetics may change, price does not. The value of your coins stays the same regardless of colour.

Cleaning

Coins can lose their brightness over time, and you'll be tempted to polish them. The best advice is ... DON'T. Chances are you'll do more damage than good. The process of cleaning often leaves tiny scratches that show up under a magnifying glass and lower the value of the coin. Physical dirt can be removed by careful washing with a hand soap and patting dry. Tarnish, called toning to collectors, does not lower the value of the coin. Although dips can remove the tarnish, they also remove any remaining mint lustre. The result is a coin with an unnatural appearance and a lower value. Any cleaning will wear the coin surface, and though it may look brighter for a time, the coin will eventually lose its value to a collector. The natural tarnish of a coin is expected by collectors, and is actually proof of its authenticity.

For more information on caring for your coins, and ideas on what to collect, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website at www.mint.ca.

- News Canada

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