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Coin Value: Should You Handle Your Coins?


New coin collectors have many questions when it comes to their coins. This is natural. Whether people collect coins as an investment strategy, because they enjoy the hunt for rare mintages, or because they are true numismatists at heart, they want to be able to find the coins they desire and care for them well so they retain their value. One common question people have is: Should you handle your coins - or not? Here we will answer that question. 

Do Not Clean Your Coins

First and most importantly, we do not recommend that people clean their coins. Cleaning your coins decreases their value. An uncirculated coin that you clean will no longer be considered in uncirculated condition. 

There are many factors involved in determining coin value, but in general coin collectors want pristine, never-been-handled coins - or the closest thing to that that they can find. They prefer uncirculated coins to circulated coins and untouched and uncirculated is the most desirable coin condition. Why? Because anything that touches a coin has the potential to damage it at the microscopic level. Rubbing a coin to remove any surface discoloration will damage it in a way that cannot be fixed. Don’t clean your coins. 

How To Handle Your Coins 

In a previous blog we talked about the tools that coin collectors use. These include lint-free cotton gloves and a soft pad or cloth. We recommend always wearing gloves so that the oils or acids from your fingers will not rub off onto your coins, especially when you are handling uncirculated coins. The pad or a soft cloth should be underneath the coins while you examine them to protect them from damage if you should drop them accidentally. 

If you must handle your coins without gloves for whatever reason, make sure your hands are very clean. Use hand sanitizer to remove the oils from your hands that could get on the coins and damage them. Pick up your coins using the edges only. 

Of course, if you never intend to sell your coins, you can handle them. They are your property, and you should feel free to get whatever enjoyment you want from them. However, if you think you or someone else in the future will possibly sell them, you should work to keep them in premium condition to safeguard their value. 

As far as bullion goes, people purchase bullion for its intrinsic value and not its appearance, but it’s still not advisable to handle your bullion or bullion coins with your bare hands. Gold especially is a soft, malleable metal and easily damaged.

Our rule of thumb for handling coins is to avoid handling them directly as much as possible, but collectors disagree among themselves about this, and many collectors enjoy looking at and carefully handling their coins. 

As always, if Grand Rapids Coins can help you locate coins or currency you are interested in or evaluate coins you already have, please call us. We work hard to be the best coin collecting resource in West Michigan! 

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