How to Clean Indian Head Cents

How to Clean Indian Head Cents

As with all cleaning recommendations on Detecting365, it is important that you practice on non-valuable coins, so your learning experience will not take a toll on one or more of your finds.

First of all make sure your Indian isn’t a rare date.  If it is valuable you probably don’t want to touch it and may decide to have it professionally cleaned.

indiangreenIf your dug Indian has that beautiful emerald green color they often get, just wash it with soap and water lightly and leave it be.  The green ones are the beautiful.   Just clean it enough to get the dirt off if you can and you should be ready to go.

If your Indian is a reddish color, it may be so brittle that just rubbing a little bit can make it start flaking and losing the date and details.  In these instances you might try an ultrasonic cleaner.   Some diggers will soak them in lemon juice for an hour at a time, then wash off and let air dry without touching.  This can take quite some time, but I have seen good results with this method.

If the coin looks fairly sturdy and not too encrusted, I will just dip it in soapy water and scrub it with a soft toothbrush.  I’ll use a wet toothpick to carefully get the dirt out from the letters and other details.

Many times Indian Head Cents are so heavily encrusted with buildup.  These are the hardest to clean.  I’ll soak them in Olive Oil.   I’ll take them out once every day or so and carefully rub the gunk off with a paper towel, then return to the Olive Oil.  This can take a couple of weeks or more, but is a good effective way to slowly clean the coin without damaging it.

I use paraffin wax used for canning – the brand I have is “Gulf Wax”.  Put a small amount between my fingers and rub them together until it is soft and somewhat melted then lightly rub it on the coin.

Detecting365, Thomas Shahan, eBay

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Chris at 6:02 pm

    I’ve had amazing results cleaning pennies using peroxide. A tiny crackpot works great just don’t get to hot as to boil the peroxide. The coin will start bubbling when it stops it should be fairly clean just rinse and repeat with new peroxide if not. This trick will not work if the coin has been in oil.

  2. Pingback: Melanie Glastrong

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