Contact Me

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It Is Hard to Resist: Restored Post

1953D, 1946, 1950
Wheat Pennies

It is hard to resist cleaning coins, isn't it? This is one of the strongest temptations I face. The value will be degraded. I want coins to be worth more, not less. However, I have never sold a coin. Have you?

(I recovered this blog post I deleted. Never again will I lose forever a post.)
Recently, I fished these out of my coin purse as I was paying for something. I saw the wheat back and quickly retrieved it, not for a purchase, but to hold in a separate place in my purse. That day, I checked each penny in my coin purse and found these three Wheat pennies.
wheat design on the back
The quality of the three coins impress me. I can even see the ear on two of the coins. Their value is from $0.15 to $3 and $4. So, potentially I have $11.00 (2x$4+1x$3)  in front of me. I have been grading coins on and off since I was eight-years-old. However, I am not sure how good I am since I have had no guidance. I must say I only have about three dozen coins even though I have been looking at coins for 60 years. Most are pennies with one Standing Liberty dime.
When I was eight-years-old, I desperately wanted a coin book. I suppose I was a strange child, not wanting a toy, just a book and not a story book but a reference book. As a fledgling numismatist I was passionate. The first coin I ever looked up was an Indian Head nickel. When my grandson was the same age, I gave it to him along with an up-to-date coin book. I don't think it took. Not one word has been spoken to me about coins, so I doubt he has any interest. Kids have their own interests. I tried! My original book still is in great condition. Did he keep his book?
Over the years, coins have disappeared. Did I accidentally spend them? I hope not. Give them away? Possibly! If a coin were only worth one-cent over face value, I probably spent it.
Do you collect coins in a major or minor way? I cannot afford to buy coins and do not want to do so. That is not an interest. Just rescuing coins from change is about all I care to do. But, as a child I was much more passionate about coin rescue.

Out of 25 pennies in my coin purse a few days ago, I found these three wheat pennies. My coin purse had $4 in coins, way too much weight for me.

When you find many in one fistful of change, do you wonder if someone became desperate for money and spent saved coins he knew were valuable? Do you wonder if someone took coins surreptitiously from someone and spent the coins? Oh, yes, that is called stealing!


I think I need another coin book. However, the  grading systems and pricing are online. It is more satisfying to sit with a book and a dish of coins. Okay, I don't really protect my coins like I should.

Is there a numismatist who knows how to clean coins an approved way? One guy put acid on a dime and penny of mine, ruining their value. Another suggested a good soak and scrub. Got a better idea?
Sorry I cannot get the print size right. 
Your turn
Do you collect coins in a major or minor way? Now, this might be revealing more than you want to reveal if you are into gold coins. However, robbing me might net $2 at face value and not a lot using numismatic prices.



  1. I was emptying hubby's pockets before doing the wash last week and found a 1965 quarter, so I pulled it out and saved it!

    1. Alex,
      That was a great save. I keep looking at my quarters and never find an old one. You give me

  2. I don't really collect coins now, but when I was growing up, my dad helped me collect Kennedy half-dollars and Eisenhower silver dollars. Somehow they disappeared right before I packed up to leave because of the divorce. It still irritates me. My dad collected coins, especially pennies, as he grew older. After he died, my mom gave the collection to The Hurricane. She doesn't have time to work on it now, but when she was in elementary and middle school she added some coins to the collection. During about 1979 - 1980 when the price of silver skyrocketed, X and I sold some silver coins, mostly quarters, and made a helpful profit.


    1. Janie,
      It's a shame your coins "disappeared." At least you were able to make a profit from what coins you had.. These would probably not guy a half tank of gas. They are all stored elsewhere.

  3. Yes, my husband collects coins and enjoys pouring through the "red book" as I'm sure you did as a girl. Personally I don't know much about coin collecting. One of our grandsons collected for a few years but I haven't heard him mention coins in several years.

    I don't really have any jewelry except for a wonderful $5 gold coin from 1895 that my husband bought for me probably 20 years ago. For a couple of years it just sat in the little gift box that it came in. It was set in a pretty bezel but I didn't have a way to wear it. After a few years he found the perfect chain. I wear it several times a week. In fact I have worn it every day this week!

    I fight the same coin cleaning urge that you face. When my sister and I were girls it was the custom to come forward during Sunday School the week of your birthday and deposit coins corresponding to your age. She and I would get out the copper cleaner on the Saturday night closest to our birthdays and really go to town. My mother had Revere Ware pans so copper cleaner was always near the sink. Heaven forbid that we would have dull coins. You almost needed to wear sunglasses when the Miller girls stepped forward to deposit their birthday coins!

    1. JANET,
      Funny post about the shining of coins on Saturday night. That is what urge is pulling at me--make these pennies shiny as new. But, I will resist.

      Yes, I did pore over the book with coins on my bed. It was such fun. How does he clean coins? There is an approved way. Show him the green on these pennies. Thanks.

  4. Replies
    1. lotta,
      Thanks a lot. My Brasso would work as well as Tarnex to ruin the Cleaning things ruins the value. But, there is an approved way of getting just the green spots off the coins. I want to retain their value.

    2. Have you tried holding them in your mouth? I'd gladly drive up there to watch.

      Seriously though, isn't there an old trick that involves aluminum foil, a little water and baking soda? It removes tarnish instantly.

    3. LOL, lotta joy, I am not going to do this just to amuse you. I have put pennies to my tongue before, but I was little.

      See, I don't want to take off the tarnish, I want to clean the green stuff. All the methods in the comments will diminish the numismatic value. A numismatist is going to contact me. thanks.

      Got any other ways to get a laugh from my misery? That penny is dirty! Hey, if you drive up here, I will hold the penny in my mouth.

  5. I started collection when I was little. #1 started when he was about 8. He's spent more money on them than I have. He hates having holes in his collection. I just keep my change, and then a couple times a year, I sort through it, pick out the best of any dates I'm missing, and add them to my collection. I started books for the younger boys as well, although they've shown little interest so far. I don't keep track of values. Someday I might want to sell, but so far, they're just for me.

    There was a time that I was really broke and took out a bunch of silver dollars that I had doubles of. I sold them to my Dad with the intention of buying them back some day. Mom has them now.

    1. Wendy,
      That reminds me that I have the little fold-out books to put dates in. Now, I need to find that. While I never was interested in selling, I do look up the prices. As a child I was fascinated with how a penny could be worth more.

      None of my children are interested in collecting coins. I suppose the grandchildren aren't either.

      Did you sell to your father for face value or numismatic value? I don't have any silver dollars.

  6. Linda, I am so glad it could be restored.

    I collect coins in the minor way that if a silver one comes across my palm, I keep that one. I don't clean them because it reduces the numismatic value (if there is any.)

    1. Jame,
      I am glad I could restore the post, too. It is the worst feeling in the world to write and lose it all, but I figured out how to restore it.

      You collect the way I do. That is why I was asking because there is a way to do some minor cleaning of coins, like those green spots that will only grow on the pennies pictured without diminishing the numismatic value.

      All silver coins have a numismatic value greater than the face value. I look it up and "oooh" and "aaah" a little, put the coin away and promptly forget the value.

  7. The Canadian mint stopped making pennies in February 2013. They cost more to make here than their face value. I suppose a penny from that last run would be worth something some day. Prices are still set to the penny, but it only counts if you are paying by cheque or debit card. If you pay by cash the price is rounded to the nearest nickel.

    1. Sue,
      The US wants to stop making pennies here, too, for the same reason. Now, people will probably start hoarding pennies, not that I blame them.

      So, even if you have pennies in your hand, you must pay to the rounded nickel?

    2. If the total is one or two cents, the consumer is supposed to keep them. three of four cents goes to the business. It's supposed to even out. Ha!

      I take a few pennies with me shopping, and use them when it's three or four cents, so I'm not yet losing as much as I would be, but I see prices for common items starting to shift in favour of the business. Coffee shops in particular... It only applies to cash payments- debit and credit cards are still calculated to the penny.

      Yesterday I went in to a government office to buy #2's small game license, and the lady asked if I had the two cents. I said no. Helpful #2 pulled a nickel out of his pocket. I told him to put it away, since she had to give it back to him any way. (2 cents goes to the consumer). She did give him the nickel back, but then told us that they're still using pennies, and are supposed to make exact change! Go figure- government trying to make different rules for themselves.

    3. Thanks. Interesting system. I suppose we might soon use that. I suppose #2 will be carrying pennies from now on.

  8. Linda, a jeweler here once upon a time told me to use toothpaste on sensitive items. I have cleaned and shined coins, gold, even silver. Just apply the toothpaste with your finger and rub gently with or without a toothbrush, rinse and dry polish.

    Tell me how it works out.

  9. John says " Hands off" !!! There really isn't a way to clean coins. He says better to er on the side of caution (besides, pennies aren't worth much of anything) BUT if you feel the urge ..... go for it! Throw caution to the wind!...

    1. Janet,
      I have never cleaned a coin because of my fear of ruining the little numismatic value there is. So, he confirmed my thoughts. Thanks.


For the present, I am taking comment moderation off the blog.