Coin Cleaning?


Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2004
Roswell, NM
Detector(s) used
Minelab CTX 3030
Minelab 705
Minelab Equinox 800
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I have good news and bad news...

Good news: I recently found a 1914 D wheat cent in Colorado in a Church yard while they were re-sodding their grass, I didn't even scratch this one!!!

Bad news: Look at the pictures! It is in rough shape due to sitting in the ground for so long and corroding.

When I look at the coin with a jewelers lens it looks like it might be in pretty decent shape if there was a way to get all the corrosion or caked on dirt off. I let it sit in olive oil for a few days with no luck. Should I put it in a rock tumbler for a few hours? haha just kidding!

Any suggestions? (I know the general rule is not to clean coins but I doubt this coin is going to get any worse).



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Give it a few months in the virgin olive oil, the oil wouldn't hurt it. It that don't work i don't know what to tell ya.

Well the pristine coinage is pretty much were I draw the line. If it's a key date or super-duper condition then I set them aside and don't clean them. The usual wheat pile and common injuns alike go through the tumbler and come out nicely done. As they are not going to fetch a high price anyway I clean them as best as I can and humbly revel in my mediocre detecting prowess.

The Pete said:
Give it a few months in the virgin olive oil, the oil wouldn't hurt it. It that don't work i don't know what to tell ya.
I gotta go with The Pete on this one,i've got a few coins encrusted with years of crud on them,they've been soaking about a month.I took a toothbrush to one the other day.Compared to what it started out as,and what it is now is like night and day.BTW- the coins i'm referring to are 2-barber dimes,(can't read dates yet)and a liberty nickel,(1894?)If anyone knows a better idea, post it on the coin cleaning page.......

See if your camera has a "macro" mode or a picture of a little flower on it to put it in macro mode for close up shots. It appears your pictures are way out of focus but good find.

Silver normally comes up clean but as for wheats I use my fingernail and if I'm really desperate
I might try a tooth pick, or a match stick end, these small pieces of wood, will not scratch the patina
or coin, on copper coins, but will take off the excess dirt. This may be a very good way to do this,
that is to soak it in Olive Oil, then rub it with a toothpic, let it soak some more and repeat..
lots of work for all your coins but might do well on those rarer wheats.
Silver though is very soft, so don't do this with a silver coin. it might scratch silver.

I use my hot melt glue gun/glue to fix everything! Even more than duct tape!! I spend an evening squirting hot melt glue first on one side, then the other of my old indians and wheaties before their stint in olive oil. Just let it dry and pick it off, and along comes the dirt. Takes several applications per side though. Squirt 'em, come back in half an hour, remove and turn over...repeat.

To clean or not to clean? This is an age old question that will still be here long after we've all gone. everything I've read says leave them alone. A soft bristle brush and mild detergent under running water to remove the lose dirt and that's it. Most importantly let them air dry naturally, do not hand dry them cause it could damage the surface of your coin. Now it is a whole different story when it comes to the clads. I tumble the heck out of them :) Now here is a suggestion I will offer to anyone who cares to try it out. I find it works out really great.

After you have naturally dried your coin. Use your computer and a good scanner. scan your coin front and back. then put the coin in your preferred storage container and leave it alone. Using the computer and any photo editing software. Photoshop, Pitcure it any of them work fine. you can adjust brightness, color, tint etc. and tweak the pic till your hearts content. this will often allow you to see details about the coin such as dates, mintmarks lettering etc.... you can also print the picture and use it as a method of record keeping listing detail about date, time, location and techniques used to find it on the back of your photo. you can show the picture around and you won't be handling your coin over and over risking damage.....I hope this helps someone out there. I find it works great.

Happy Hunting


Your typing excercise is appreciated! Thanks for the info.
Do you think a bullet casing tumbler would work? I think this one has corn hulls ground in it for use in polishing. Maybe it would take a bit longer than a rock tumbler with aquarium rock?

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