Rare Coin Care: Tips for Proper Rare Coin Care and Handling

Collecting rare coins can be fun and exciting. Whether you are collecting coins for their historical significance, monetary value, or aesthetic appeal, it is crucial to know how to care for them.

Inappropriate handling and environmental factors can damage your coins, resulting in marks, blemishes, and scratches that decrease their value significantly. Learn three rare coin care tips to ensure your collection retains its worth for years.

Cleaning Coins

Typically, you should not clean your rare coins. While you may want to keep your rare coins beautiful and shiny, cleaning them may damage them and reduce their value. Also, the tarnish and signs of age on old coins are part of their appeal. For this reason, professional coin collectors do not clean their coins.

If you still want to clean your coins, you can use the Internet’s number one method of soaking in coke for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can clean the coins using distilled water — don’t use tap water as it contains chlorine, which can react with the coin and harm it. Also, you can soak the coins in vinegar or soapy water.      


Store your coins in a dark, cool, and low-humidity place as exposure to heat, light, and moisture can damage them. Avoid storing your coins in basements and attics unless they are air- and water-tight and climate-controlled. You can store the coins in protective cases, coin holders, coin albums, coin slabs, or home safes.

Since rare coins are valuable, they are a profitable target for thieves. Therefore, keep your coins safe by doing the following:

  • Keep them out of sight; few people should know where you store your coins.
  • Be cautious who you tell about your collection; they may innocently tell the wrong people about them, increasing the chances of burglary.
  • Do not use coin-related terms on your coin storage as it may alert thieves.
  • Do not leave your rare coins unattended in your car or motel room, and don’t keep them in a cab’s trunk.
  • Avoid storing rare coins in plastic coin holders. The PVC in these holders reacts with heat and sunlight.   

Look, Don’t Touch

While you may be tempted to keep touching and admiring your rare coin collection, it is not advisable. Touching your rare coins unnecessarily makes them vulnerable to damage from the natural oils, dirt, sweat, and food particles on your hands. Gold coins are particularly vulnerable to improper touching; you can scratch or fingerprint them.   

If you must handle your coins, wear a pair of lint-free cotton gloves. Do not use plastic or latex gloves as they contain lubricants that damage coins. Importantly, hold the edge, not the face of the coin using your thumb and index finger. This way, you can examine it seamlessly and protect its surface.

Even when in protective holders, it would be best to handle rare coins over soft surfaces. This protects the coin from dents and scratches should it fall accidentally. Whether you want to examine the coin or marvel at its beauty, a soft surface or carpeted area ensures its safety and does not pose any threat.

While coin collectors have an inherent instinct to care for and protect their collection, some innocent actions such as cleaning can harm the coins and their value. The tips above can protect your valuable rare coins from physical damage and loss of value.

Get in touch with Rocky Mountain Coin for all your rare coin needs. If you want to liquidate your rare coins and turn them to cash, we buy them at competitive prices. We also sell rare coins so that you can add to your incredible collection.