Stumpy's Blog

23 Dec 2020

Have you cleaned your cabinet lately?

Coins-United States | Stumpy

I am posting this in the hope that experienced Numismatist out there will read it and offer suggestions that would help.

I decided to clean the bottom shelf of one of my cabinets, and at the bottom in very back was a box I recognized as one my Grandfather had given me. It contained a complete set of pre 1964 Jefferson Nickels, with some extras. Many of these are in rough shape, it looks like some of them had been taped to a book at one point.

Based on the fact that these came out of a coin folder I'm guessing he bought these since he kept his coins raw and never in books. He had a habit of buying things off people he knew if they were short of cash, most of the time he didn't even want the things he bought, he just wanted to help friends out, and while not losing money, he was always fair.

They need preserving. I am thinking soaking them in Distilled Water? I am not going to use any cleaner, scrubber, or crap like that. I will gently blot them dry and hope for the best. These coins have been sealed in this box this way for over 40 years.

Is this the best way to go? PLEASE ADVISE.

Photos 1 - 3, problem children, Photo 4; Some coins have no issues.



Level 5

Nice memories to have. Warm soapy water is always the first step.


Level 5

Well, I know I'm old, know I broken, gnarly, nope, I take a bath every Sat, even if I don't need it! Lol, Later!


Level 6

These are really cool! Old and gnarly... just like us!

Water won't do the nickels any harm, and it looks like some of the coins are still in excellent shape. Just don't clean them with harsh products.


Level 5

I agree with what everyone else has said so far. Do some research and figure out what you think would work best. Cheers!


Level 5

Thanks folks, I will take before and after photos. There is no value to these coins other than sentimental, and some of the coins are in fine shape, but most need some love. My only goal is to try to get the bulk of the crud off so they can at least look better than a junk yard dog. Trust me, I separated the "good" coins from the crap, what you are seeing in the photos are the coins with crap on em. These were placed in the box in this condition, sealed and left unopened for 40 plus years. Their condition is probably the reason they were separated from the rest of the collection. Thanks again for the advice. I will let you know how it goes. Later!


Level 4

Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes! :)


Level 5

All of the above. They don't look valuable monetarily so use everyone's advice. More sentimental value. Clean them up best you can with everyone's advice and then your good. Let us know how you do. Before and after pictures. Thanks


Level 6

Acetone. If something needs a little poke to loosen it use a thorn or cactus sticker. Something organic. Gently. Rinse well in distilled water. Good luck..


Level 7

Sam even said it. Distilled water is all. It will take a few days. And pat it down. With cotten. This way you won't scratch the coin. I know a dealer who sells more silver cleaner than coins. Esndirty. His store is dirty. I went in once that was it. I saw customers coming in and buying this junk I couldn't believe it. I have never cleaned a coin not even a cent. That's the way I got it that's the way it stays. If it's an an investment coin of to NGC.

It's Mokie

Level 6

Since the main problem with the Nickels is glue residue, Acetone is your bet bet. Just let them sit for awhile in an acetone bath and then warm water to rinse off the acetone after the bath. Whatever you do, just dab the coins to dry off any remaining water.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Distilled water won't hurt. 100% acetone (not fingernail polish remover) is safe and will remove debris. As far as the tarnish goes, I think you are stuck with that. I had a coin dealer offer to dip a coin I was buying. I was kind of horrified at that thought and wondered what was he thinking! That one in the top right corner of the photo looks like Jefferson has a phrygian cap on LOL! A NEW VARIETY! HA HA!

Long Beard

Level 5

I would have to agree with your thoughts on the tape residue since early folders, those with a backing paper making the coin viewable only from the obverse, sometimes had an adhesive. I understand your not wishing to clean your coins, yet a quick dip in acetone (found at Home Depot, Lowes or Walmart in the paint section) easily removes this residue without damage to a coins surface, no discoloration and won't brighten them. For those heavier, stubborn areas a gentle dab with a q-tip while wet takes care of that. I have personally been doing this for many years.


Level 5

Ya, I see what you mean, wow is there a lot of silver in there! I don't really know what you should do to preserve them, and I certainly don't think distilled water will harm them, but definitely start keeping them in tubes or something else.


Level 5

They are in pretty rough shape. My instincts tell me to never under no circumstance clean a coin. But if they aren't too valuable and are already terribly beaten up and ugly, then a gentle cleaning should be fine. I don't think soaking in distilled water would be all too bad, but I haven't tried it before. Good luck!

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