Cleaning wheat pennies

7up2000

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Jul 6, 2014
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Tucson, Arizona
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Currently use Garrett AT Pro, Previously used the Fisher F2 for one year
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Does anybody know how to clean wheat pennies without using a rock tumbler?
 
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cudamark

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Mar 16, 2011
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Clean them of what?
 

mdc002

Full Member
Jun 25, 2022
132
168
West Coast
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If you are cleaning to remove dirt it's OK but if they have any collector value that's all I would remove. It's best not to clean them other than that as that can devalue the penny.
 

brianc053

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Jan 27, 2015
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Morris County, NJ
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Generally use a toothpick and then Andre's Pencils (the steel wool one) on older ones and toothbrush with soapy water on common ones.

My process:

When I find them I tend to treat them like "scratch-off" lottery tickets. I first use the toothpick to gently remove the dirt from the area of the date. If it's a rare/low-mintage one I slow down and proceed to remove the dirt carefully.

But since the vast majority are common wheat pennies, once I see the date I just take a toothbrush and soapy water to remove the rest of the dirt.
 

cudamark

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Mar 16, 2011
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These are coins I found MD'ing so they have dirt on them.
Simple dirt....hot soapy water and a soft bristled toothbrush. Once you determine year/mint/condition/potential value, further cleaning would need to be decided based on what is needed to be removed and the effect cleaning will have on the coins' value. Sometimes it's beneficial, sometimes it will ruin value. I needs to be determined on a coin by coin basis.
 

DWerk

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Oct 18, 2020
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Soak in vineger and salt, then rinse well
 

brianc053

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Jan 27, 2015
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Morris County, NJ
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B6EE25E6-5CF2-4FBF-8FC8-53CE739BE868.jpeg
A0EE3317-CE97-46D0-B144-5052437221B9.jpeg

Soak in vineger and salt, then rinse well
Be careful with vinegar. Here is a heavily patina’d Indian Head Cent that I used a toothpick and Andre’s pencils on (first picture - the patina was so hard nothing else would come off with mechanical means).

I figured the IHC was toast so I’d try vinegar to maybe reveal more detail. Bad idea. (Second picture after 2 hours in vinegar).
 

DWerk

Greenie
Oct 18, 2020
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I should have added; soak for a few minutes... and only for those that are spenders, not keepers..
 

RShackleford

Tenderfoot
Aug 6, 2022
8
21
Be careful with vinegar. Here is a heavily patina’d Indian Head Cent that I used a toothpick and Andre’s pencils on (first picture - the patina was so hard nothing else would come off with mechanical means).

I figured the IHC was toast so I’d try vinegar to maybe reveal more detail. Bad idea. (Second picture after 2 hours in vinegar).
I tried the same thing with one in a little better shape then the one you posted. I’m a rookie to all this and In about 20 mins of soaking I destroyed it with vinegar. Lesson learned.
 

brianc053

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Jan 27, 2015
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I should have added; soak for a few minutes... and only for those that are spenders, not keepers..
It‘s been a long time since I tried vinegar on a copper coin (I’m very against the practice), and I had forgotten how quickly it affects the coin.
BUT - this coin came from a farm field that has notoriously destroyed other coppers - large and small - so I kind of knew that this IHC was a lost cause. I was certain I’d never get a date off of it, so I took it as a chance to try vinegar.
Nevertheless, I should have done nothing to it. Oh well, I didn’t lose too much and worse mistakes have been made.
 

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