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My Very First Indian Head - Should I Clean It?

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The main damage done in cleaning coins is by rubbing when dirty or using a an acid. I found this advice a few years a go, and was effective with ultrasonic cleaning device.

Patina (also known as toning), whether it's colorful or gray, is integral to a coin's surface.
Remove it and you've cleaned the coin; you've changed the surface.

Dirt (along with glue, tape, etc.) is just foreign debris on a coin's surface.
Removing it is called conserving and is generally done with such things as distilled water or acetone.
Once removed you can see the current state of the surface of a coin.
That could be pristine or damaged but NOT changed.

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Ah man, thank you all sO much for all the info. I know many of these common questions can get to the point of beating a dead horse here, so I really appreciate all of your input here. My main concern around cleaning is what might and might not damage the coin, thanks again for the resources. I wanted to play it very very safe and not even assume water is the safest. I understand hardness, so I would never rub with dirt, but I totally forewent the thought of what could happen with it loosely perched in a plastic container. I got lucky and dug this out with a stick since the signal had a lot of good signs going for it. You guys rock.


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I was told a story at our last detecting club meeting about a detectorist who found a rare coin.  It was a rare date and had a valuable defect which made it potentially worth thousands.  He submitted the coin for grading.  He was asked if he had cleaned it and when he said yes they would not grade it.

Some of the videos I watch about coin retreivals show the finders only squirting a bit of water on a coin retreived from a farm field.  Then they take the coin and put it in a container with padding so it will not rub or touch other finds.

You have to get them home in uncleaned shape to see if they have any value.

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As mentioned, your particular Indian cent is in decent condition wear-wise, but, not a rare date being the most produced of all Indian cents. If you want to keep the current patina look, use acetone to gently clean off any surface debris/dirt/goo. I then like to use CoinCare or similar to coat copper coins and help prevent any future corrosion. If you want it to look bright and shiny like a new cent, more severe methods will get you there, but, at the expense of less detail and a somewhat artificial look. Your coin, your choice. Either way, the value won't change much being a coin only worth a buck or two.

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