AFFECT OF COINS CLEANED TO SHINY LUSTRE-$$
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HOW DOES THE MYRIAD OF COINS, ESPECIALLY ON POPULAR AUCTIONS, DISPLAY OBVIOUSLY WASHED, POLISHED AND ALTERED.

FURTHERMORE, THE SELLER WILL PLACE A BU GRADING, ETC.  HOW DO THE ABOVE "TREATED" SILVER COINS WASH-OUT IN THE

GRADING PROCESS? AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW CAN A NOVICE, LIKE THIS OLD MAN, READILY DETERMINE WHETHER A

PIECE IS CLEANED. THE SELLERS ARE SOMETIMES QUITE UNSCRUPULOUS. 

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Most of us amateurs buy coins graded and encapsulated by a major Third Party Grading service, at least when we buy older coins and more expensive coins. With more experience, which involves looking at many many coins of various types and in various states of preservation, one can venture into buying "raw" coins. However, even the most experienced collectors and even professional graders can occasionally miss flaws or be fooled by coins that have been altered by "coin doctors", with the intent to deceive. So, when buying expensive coins (however you define that), it's best to also seek advice from more experienced collectors/dealers. When buying on eBay or other sources where it isn't practical to seek counsel, one must be sure the buy from a reputable source with a generous return policy. As far as cleaned coins, the grading services will give aggressively cleaned coins a "details" grade, which will tell you it has been cleaned, scratched, polished or whatever. However, you need to know that "dipped" coins are generally given a pass as this is seen as acceptable by much or most of the collector community - lots of people prefer shiny over tarnished coins. The dipping process is similar to the process used to clean one's silverware, but generally with more diluted chemicals. Dipping with too harsh a chemical will visibly alter the surface of the coin as will overdipping; i.e. dipping too many times. (Any dipping at all will alter the surface but not necessarily to the degree that is noticeable.) To the chagrin of many, heavily dipped coins are generally nonetheless give a numeric or "straight" grade by the grader, usually a lower grade than if the coin were unimpaired. With very little practice you will be able to spot these washed out coins as they will be more grey in appearance with less luster. So, look and learn, read as much as you can, don't rush into buying anything until you're comfortable, seek advice, make sure you can return what you buy, be patient. I've been collecting for over 60 years, have been ripped off more times than I can count, but still love and enjoy the hobby and the comrades I've met over the years. Have fun.

Edited by LINCOLNMAN
correction

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A good beginning to avoiding the pitfalls you cited is to learn what mint luster looks like. When a coin is struck, it placed under 10 of hundreds or even a hundred tons of pressure. The metal flows like a liquid, and the resulting coin has surfaces that play with the light when it is swirled under strong illumination. This has been called “cartwheel luster.”

Once this luster is broken by wear from circulation or improper cleaning, it can never be restored. Coins with broken luster are not Mint State. “Shine” is not enough. The surfaces must “play with the light” when the coin is swirled around under a light source.

What is the best way to learn how to spot luster? I would suggest buying a common date, certified Mint State Morgan Silver dollar and studying it for a while. After that you can examine other coins. If they are truly Mint State, the same luster characteristics will be visible.

Beyond this, there are other things to look for, like fine scratches, called hairlines, and polishing which a coin an unnatural luster. But I think I have cover enough here for one post.

Here is the reverse of a Mint State Morgan Silver Dollar. When you swirl this piece under the light, the bright area you see will continue around the piece unbroken. That an indicator of a mint surface.

 

1878-CC Dol R.jpg

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5 hours ago, Walter0311 said:

HOW DOES THE MYRIAD OF COINS, ESPECIALLY ON POPULAR AUCTIONS, DISPLAY OBVIOUSLY WASHED, POLISHED AND ALTERED.

FURTHERMORE, THE SELLER WILL PLACE A BU GRADING, ETC.  HOW DO THE ABOVE "TREATED" SILVER COINS WASH-OUT IN THE

GRADING PROCESS? AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW CAN A NOVICE, LIKE THIS OLD MAN, READILY DETERMINE WHETHER A

PIECE IS CLEANED. THE SELLERS ARE SOMETIMES QUITE UNSCRUPULOUS. 

Walter, examine your coins under a concentrated light source to determine if they have hairline scratches. This is the most prevalent form of "cleaning" damage. Keep in mind that the term "cleaned" refers to damage done to the surface during the act of cleaning; and not the act itself; and that there are some safe forms of cleaning that do not result in a "cleaned" coin.

Be careful not to confuse die polishing lines with cleaning hairlines, they can be similar at first glance, but under magnification, die polishing lines are raised. Additionally, die polishing lines will disappear at some angles because they have flow lines in them and are an integral  part of the mint luster.

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On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 5:59 PM, BillJones said:

A good beginning to avoiding the pitfalls you cited is to learn what mint luster looks like. When a coin is struck, it placed under 10 of hundreds or even a hundred tons of pressure. The metal flows like a liquid, and the resulting coin has surfaces that play with the light when it is swirled under strong illumination. This has been called “cartwheel luster.”

Once this luster is broken by wear from circulation or improper cleaning, it can never be restored. Coins with broken luster are not Mint State. “Shine” is not enough. The surfaces must “play with the light” when the coin is swirled around under a light source.

Great advice and then follow with surface preservation. Assign grade 70 when it first left the die. Any disruption of surfaces will gradually reduce luster thus lowering grade. Visible marks or hairlines further weigh on final grade. Eye appeal is highly subjective but does play a small role in the grading process.

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People can and do write whatever they want on a 2x2 coin holder or piece of paper. Only you can determine authenticity and condition to your own satisfaction.

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