Cleaning Silver Coins
If silver coins get exposed to air they will get after some time a
brown or even black oxidized layer. This is caused by the small amount
of sulphur that air contains. By knowing this chemical reaction, we could all imagine that the only
way to stop this process is preventing that the coin is surrounded by
air. There are ways to seal it in or cover it with an acid free jelly
but most collectors prefer to clean the coins.
Because most coins are exposed to air cleaning will be necessary
after some time. The cleaning of silver coins can be done by different methods and on
this page we like to present to you this specific information and how
this can be done safely.
Keep in mind that for some coins, like ancient roman coins it might
be wise not to clean them totally as they look more authentic with a
light (ancient looking) color change caused by this natural silver
Method 1: Lemon Acid.
Put the coin in a lemon acid bath for some hours to maximum one day
depending on the thickness of the oxidation layer to be removed from the
coin. After this bath clean the coin carefully with soft brush, rinse it
with water and dry it with soft paper.
The effect of this method can be improved by putting some small iron
nails in the lemon acid bath. This will improve the chemical reduction
of the lemon acid bath and a faster cleaning of the silver coin will
If you use some small iron nails do not leave the silver coin longer
in the lemon acid bath then 30 minutes maximum and use the procedure as
Method 2: Acid Fluid.
If the silver coin you want to clean has only some small oxidation
spots then you can clean them best with an acid fluid like warm vinegar
or sour milk on a soft tissue or a raw potato cut in half and rub the
coin with it.
After cleaning it rinse it well with water and dry the coin with a
soft paper tissue.
Method 3: Using Silver Cleaners.
There are various ready made silver cleaning products for sale and
they can be used for cleaning heavy oxidized silver coins. They clean
silver coins in several seconds and here lays also the problem
when using one of these products.
Because the cleaning process goes so fast you can't stop at a
specific level where the coin has still that little oxidized effect, like
we want with ancient roman coins.
For this reason we advice method 1 or 2 for cleaning your silver
coins unless you know what your doing when using method 3.
At last we like to give you a good advice and this is good to know
before cleaning. If you are intending to sell your silver coins, do not clean them as
potential buyers will give you more for it when it's brown or black by
this natural process !!
In other words, a brown or black silver coin is more worth than a
coin that has been cleaned the wrong way or just to much cleaned