Here's an Instructable on how to clean and polish your pennies and smashed pennies if they're dirty.
For all of you coin enthusiasts out there and elongated penny collectors, you will probably find this Instructable very helpful. I collect elongated pennies (you know, those penny smashing machines you see in museums and whatnot) however, after a while the pennies would start to lost their shine because of oxidation (in layman's terms: when the pennies are exposed to air, they lose their shine gradually)
I found out that you can restore the shine by rubbing a pencil eraser on the coin and therefore polishing it, however the process is long, hard, boring, and it kills your wrist.
The way I polish pennies uses the same concept, but is much more faster.
The pros and cons of this method are:
-No volatile chemicals/ fumes
-You could get a better shine with chemicals
-It would be faster with chemicals
When I write Instructables I put multiple pictures showing multiple steps on only one step, so be sure to look at all of the pictures.
Step 1: The Tools
Here is what you need to do this:
-A small vice
-A bunch of those cheap pencils you can get at the dollar store
-A small saw (like one you'd get on a multitool)
-Dirty, oxidized pennies just waiting to be polished
Step 2: Prepare the Tool You Will Use to Polish With
This step will show you how to prepare the drill so you can use it to polish the pennies.
Just look at the tags in all of the pictures so you know exactly what to do.
Basically what you're doing is using the eraser part of the pencil with the drill in lieu of a drill bit.
I would write all of the steps up here, but I find that it's annoying to keep looking up at the instructions and the down at the pictures, so I made it so it's easier to view the pictures and the instructions.
Step 3: Polishing Pennies
This step will show you how to polish the pennies.
A few notes though,
When polishing the pennies, make sure you're using the drill at full power and use little force when pressing down on the drill, but you still want to put some force into it while moving the drill around at the same time. Continue to do this until it has the shine you desire.
Don't use the eraser bit to the point where it's almost completely worn out, the metal around the eraser could scratch the penny and ruin it.
Small nooks and crannies may be hard to to polish so here's the part where it's okay to use a little extra force when using the drill so you don't get any uneven spots.
And last but certainly not least, Be careful not to hit the sides of the vice securing your penny. It will wear down your eraser bit very quickly and you will have to make a new one. When you've polished the penny as much as you can when it's secured in the vice,remove it and turn it at a 90 degree angle so you can polish the rest of it.
If there still dark spots on the penny even after polishing it, it could be one of two reasons
1.The penny isn't evenly polished, go over the darkened area with the eraser bit again. If the dark areas are in small indents that you otherwise couldn't get by going at it head on, angle the eraser so that the edge is getting into those nooks and crannies on the penny.
2.This is for elongated pennies. If there are dark areas that are colored a dark grey, this is zinc, what pennies are mostly made of today. Unfortunately you can't do anything about that. If your elongated penny was minted before 1980, you won't have this problem.
And that's basically it! Repeat as necessary with your coin collection.
Enjoy your shiny penny!
Step 4: Polishing Elongated Pennies
Yes! You can polish elongated pennies too! The process is the same as the one in the previous however, you must take extra care in securing the penny in the vice since it's thinner, and again, pennies are made of copper, namely those minted before 1980, so they will bend even more easier than a normal penny.
Thanks for checking out my instructable! I hope you found this information helpful.