Skip past the menu Skip to accessibility controls

How Do I Care for Gold Coins?

The GoldSilver Team 

You’ve put a lot of thought and consideration into your choices of gold coins in addition to the monetary investment. Not handling your coins correctly can lead to them requiring cleaning to get them back into pristine condition. However, you could be decreasing the value of your collection if you have to resort to cleaning. Evidence of cleaning, contact marks, worn down features, and damage to the rim all devalue your item. Here are some tips on the best way to handle your gold coins to help protect your investment.

  • Curious about cleaning your coins? When in doubt, don’t. There are many ways to damage gold coins in the cleaning and handling process, some of which seem harmless
  • Don’t cut corners. If you’re going to clean your coins, do it right: That means following all of the guidelines spelled out below. Otherwise, you may well do more harm than good
  • Storage is key: You can do significant damage to your coins if you don’t keep them housed in specific protective materials, out of the sun, within a specific temperature and humidity range

How Can Cleaning Your Gold Coins Be Bad?

One of the most significant issues with having to clean your gold coins is that pure gold is a soft and malleable metal. The problem is that the finish, fine edges, and details that make your gold coins stand out can be damaged in the cleaning process. In fact, you may end up making your gold coin look worse than it did before you started cleaning it. Some collectors and gold buyers would rather have a tarnished or dirty coin over one that’s been cleaned improperly.

Clean Your Hands

The first tip is that you should never handle your coins without doing some cleaning first. You should wash your hands to remove any dirt and oil from your fingers. These substances can transfer to your coin, and over time, can start to tarnish and decay it. If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is the next best thing. Make sure your hands are dry before getting started.

Glove Up

You can go a step further, and after you wash your hands, put on soft gloves. Cotton gloves that don’t leave behind a lint residue are what you should be wearing. Stay away from using latex, plastic, or similar material gloves as they can put lubricant or powder on the surface of the coin. That lubricant and powders are what make it possible to get the gloves on your hands, and often, these materials don’t remain inside the glove when you’re wearing them.

Cotton gloves are a good option because not only are you creating a soft barrier between your hands and your coin’s surfaces, but you’re preventing your fingertips from leaving behind fingerprints on the surface. These prints can detract from the way your coin looks just as much as other damage.

Plastic Tweezers

Another option when you’re picking up gold coins that you want to protect would be using plastic tweezers. These tweezers allow you to pick the coin up without a problem and won’t damage the surface. You’ll want to avoid using tweezers made out of metal to prevent scratching.

Create a Soft Surface

Next, you’ll want to use a soft cloth or towel on top of the surface where you’ll be working with your coins. This thick surface will help to protect your coins. Just be sure not to use a cloth that’s scratchy as that could cause damage rather than prevent it from occurring. It can help to keep them in place while on the table, and the softness can cushion them in case you drop a coin. This cushioning can prevent them from being damaged in a fall on a hard surface. You may even want to put a towel on the floor surrounding the area where you plan on handling them in an instance where you miss the tabletop when you drop the gold coin.

Avoid Biological Cleaning Agents

Gold coins don’t frequently tarnish or corrode when appropriately kept, so they shouldn’t require cleaning. Some coin collectors think that breathing on the coin surface is a great way to clean it up and improve the shine. It’s a bad idea. You’ll be putting excess moisture on the coin from your breath.

Also, you could be spitting on the surface of the coin when you blow the puff of air on the coin. Some owners think that using their saliva on the surface of the coin is okay to clean it, but it’s a bad idea. All the agents in your saliva that work to break down food will be sitting on your coin. Avoid putting any biological cleaning agents on your coins. Breathing and spitting on your coins can leave behind spotting, and it’s often complicated to remove them once they are on the surface of your gold coins.

Properly Handling

When you pick up your coins, you want to pay attention to where your fingers are touching them, even if you washed your hands. You could handle them by the edges of the coins rather than the face. Some oil or other residues may still be on your hands after washing them. You don’t want to take a chance of transferring anything to the face of the coin or marring the finish.

Reduce Handling Time

You really shouldn’t be handling your bare coins often. It’s best to leave them in their protective case or stored away to prevent any handling mishaps. Remember that a higher purity of gold in your coins means they are more easily damaged than coins that are blended with other metals.

Proper Storage Area

You want to make sure that the place you're putting your gold coin collection is ideal for storage. Coins are best stored away from high heat and moisture. A cool, dry place is the most suitable as both heat and humidity can cause corrosion. In addition, you don’t want to store your gold with any silver or metal that has been tarnished. These can damage your gold coins. If you plan on handling both pristine and tarnished coins, do so separately. You don’t want to containment the pristine coins with residue from the tarnished coins on your gloves or hands.

Proper Storage Materials

You want to ensure that the material that you’re using to store your coins is what you should be using. For instance, a PVC container can negatively impact your coins over time. PVC will react to light and heat in a fashion that releases hydrochloric acid. This acid will destroy your gold coins and could reduce the amount they are worth if you wanted to sell them.

Depending on where you purchased your gold coin, it was probably sent in a plastic sleeve, capsule, or another type of holder. These are often sufficient for storing your collection. However, if you have to buy holders, you should look for air-tights or purchase coin slabs for your coins that have been graded by a third-party service.

Remember that proper prevention of coin problems is much easier than trying to fix the damage caused by poor handling. All the good intentions in the world won’t help your collection if you’re misinformed about proper handling techniques. The way that you handle your gold coins now can impact how they’ll look in the future, and more importantly, can influence their value positively or negatively. These tips can help you to keep your collection looking as amazing as it did when you first purchased it.