Chapter fifteen. Handle with care

Cotton gloves.
To avoid leaving finger prints (which become permanent) or even light scratches on a coin, wear gloves. White cotton gloves, as shown, are used by many people and they are very inexpensive. I just purchased five pairs for six-dollars online. Cotton gloves are also sold at Walgreen's and other fine stores. They wont hold up for doing gardening but are plenty good enough to handle coins. You may use some other type glove of course. For example, rubber gloves are OK. I prefer the white cotton ones myself.

NOTE: I understand that the professional coin graders handle coins with their bare hands. That is fine for them. I'm sure they use hand cleaner etc. to avoid the oils associated with tarnishing a coin. But for me and you, that is a really bad idea. I own a proof coin from 1988 which I purchased then myself. It has a nice smudge where I touched it some 25+ years ago. That smudge is permanent now and may well have cost me hundreds of dollars! Buy and wear gloves!

Remember, a small mark or scratch or a finger print on a coin can cost you a lot of money! It can make the difference between one grade and a lower grade, which could easily lower the value by half! In the higher grades this can be as much as seven times or even more in value. So be careful.

For slabbed coins it matters as well. Think of the plastic slab as a show case. Small marks or scratches lower "eye appeal" and reduce the value, even though the problem is not on the actual coin. So handle those slabs with care. If you harm a slab and must get it re-certified it can cost about twenty-dollars or more depending on which coin it is. I always wear gloves.

My results in scratch removal: I have used Meguiar's Scratch X2.0 to polish coin slabs. The results are near perfect! On all minor abrasions or light scratches it works 100% of the time. Naturally, any deep scratches have now become a part of the slab and cannot be (easily) removed. Get that coin re certified if you want - or live with it as is. I am not saying only Meguiar's works. It is just the only one I have tried is all. Other brands may work as well.

If you decide to remove silver bars from the plastic in which they are often shipped, handle those bars with gloves too. Silver bars don't gain value with collectors in the ways coins do, but some are worth more due to a company going out of business or other reasons. Plus it just makes sense to keep them looking like new if possible. It costs you almost nothing and allows you to take pride in your collection. I know if I were buying, and had the choice between a shiny new looking silver bar or one that was ratted out I would pick the better looking one, and for that matter probably respect the seller more.

Make sure whatever glove you use is perfectly clean. Cotton is soft and does no damage. I also have a couple pairs of silk gloves which are even better for the feel you get. Personally I don't like rubber gloves and you need to toss them after use. The thicker ones wont give you the "feel" needed to handle a small coin.

Also, work over something soft. Put a towel on your desk or table to catch the coins when you drop them. And . . .

YOU WILL DROP THEM! 

Enjoy your new hobby