Whether you are a coin collector or just happen to come across some rare coins, it's important that you don't do anything to compromise their value. This is especially true if you are hoping to sell the coins to a rare coin dealer.

The Problems With Cleaning

It might seem like a good idea to clean an old coin, particularly if it is encrusted with dirt or badly tarnished. Unfortunately, doing so can greatly reduce the value of the coin. There are a few reasons for this. For one, cleaning can remove fine details, particularly on older coins made of softer metals. Further, sometimes the patina of age is what adds to the beauty and thus the value of certain coins.

Cleaning solutions can also etch into metal, usually because of a chemical reaction or acid content in the cleaner. You can gently brush off crusted-on dirt with a soft brush so you can more clearly see the details of the coin, but avoid any type of major cleaning that could cause damage.

Storage Issues and Safety

There is a right way and a wrong way to store and transport old coins. The right way is in specially made coin folders, envelopes, and cases. These are designed to prevent damage to the coin's surface from outside abrasion as well as from issues like acids and moisture.

Other common storage methods aren't safe. Don't place coins in an envelope unless it is made of acid-free paper. Avoid sealing the coins up in plastic bags or wrapped in plastic wrap, as well, as these materials trap moisture and can rust or corrosion on some coin types. Taped rolls leave sticky residue on coins, which can damage surfaces. Some people wrap coins in foil, but you will want to avoid this, because the aluminum may react with the metal in some coins and cause decay or corrosion.

Improper Sorting Methods

If your collection isn't sorted, then don't bother doing so. Attempting to sort coins for ease of value usually backfires. Depending on the type of coin, it may be valuable due to age, metal content, or minting. A dealer re-sort your carefully-sorted coins so they can then review them one by one to determine what is the most valuable aspect of each coin.

The one exception is if you inherit a carefully-sorted collection. Some coins hold value because of the collection they belong to, especially if there is any interesting history to the collector themselves. In this case, bring in the collection as is and let your coin dealer determine the best way to value it.

Contact a rare coin dealer in your area for more help, or visit a website like https://rmcoin.com/.