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.
CHECK FOR KEY DATE
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.
GREEN IS KING
If 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.
PROTECTING AND BRINGING OUT THE DETAILS
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