Introduction: Refurbishing Old Coins
I have some coins that are somewhat old. They were all in circulation, so time and hundreds and maybe even thousands of uses left their mark.
I have seen a lot of these currency coins when they were new and shiny and some of them while still are a legal tender are of series that are no longer issued. for the really old ones I don't intend to use them as currency any more, and while I looked for ways to restore their shine which included some weak acids and carbonates, I actually made some look even worse. I bought a dremel with a lot of wheels recently and discovered that using a wool wheel with car polish actually works.
So in this instructable I will share with you how did I restore some coins shine.
Note: @WyckedStudios mentioned an important point: This process is ok if you are looking to polish a coin for a crafts project. however, do not attempt this if the coin has any significant historical value or if it is intended for collection as this will seriously decrease the value of the coin or even raise the question of the coin being a fake or a forgery.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
To restore the shine of coins you shall need:
- A dremel preferably with a flex shaft
- Polishing Wheel
- Turtle Wax Polishing paste
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Water in a spray can
and of course an old coin. The one shown is 1 Moroccan Dirham from the 1987 serice which is no longer issued and I assume it's anywhere between 20 and 30 years old.
Step 2: Prepping Your Coin
This is really simple. Rub the coin with some isopropyl alcohol and dry it, then rub it with the polishing compound and spray some water on it.
Step 3: Polish Away
Use the dremel polishing wheel to clean the coin. It's best to use circular motion with the face of the wheel then using the edge of the wheel.
The slurry will turn black very quickly, that's expected. Keep adding little amount of the polishing compound and spray water on the coin, and take care not to damage the coin with the wheel screw. Go ahead ask me how I know that :)
Step 4: Final Cleaning and Results
Once you are satisfied with the results give the coins a rub with a damp microfiber towel and look at them with some of their glory restored.
During circulation coins face a lot of abuse which will result in scars, scratches, and dents. This process won't restore that, and I don't know if fixing that kind of damage is even possible, but it is always nice to look at nice and clean shiny coins.
In the pictures:
2 one Dirham coins from Morocco (1987 and 2002 series)
1 20 centimes coin from Morocco (1987 series)
a pair of Kuwaiti 100 fils coins, one was minted in 1962, the other in 1976.
Half a Jordanian Dinar (Minted 2008) with the back side not being polished for comparison.
Thank you for reading this instructable. I hope it was useful.
3 years ago on Step 4
You are never supposed to clean old coins. What you have just done it's destroyed the numismatic value [relating to or consisting of coins, paper currency, and medals] decreases the value in any possible chance of selling it to a collector
5 years ago
If you're polishing the coin for a crafting project or something like that, this method of cleaning works fine.
However...this should never be done to a coin that has any kind of collector's value. It may make a coin look nicer to the untrained eye, but any decent dealer can spot a polish job right away, and it does lower the value of the coin.
Reply 5 years ago
That's absolutely true. Again I wouldn't use this for a coin that has some sort of significant value. The coins I have used are all still in circulation and I'm polishing them just so that they look nice. If it is a historical coin then the gunk and dirt actually makes it worth more.
This is a good point. I will include your thoughts in the introduction.