Today’s Mail Bag post comes from an email that came in last week from Raj. Their question has to do with coin cleaning and understanding the term Whizzing.
I’ve heard of cleaning a coin by whizzing it. What does that mean? Should I clean coins this way?Raj via Email
Raj, thanks for taking the time to write and ask this important question, especially for new collectors. As a general rule, you should not clean coins but certainly never Whiz them.
The term Whizzing is an older term for coin cleaning in which the coin was dropped into a low acid wash, such as acetone like nail polish remover. The problem with this is, as you can guess, it is extremely abrasive to the surface of the coin and actually eats into the surface if left in long enough. While it certainly cleans the toning and dirt off a coin, it is a harsh way of doing it.
Why this became popular was in the 40s-60s, the idea was that a “clean” coin would bring more value (and often did back then) than a toned coin. This slowly changed in the 70s and 80s when all of the sudden people found the beauty of toning in older coins. Indeed, we’ve somewhat come full circle. Some not-so-reputable people use chemicals to rapidly tone a coin to bring more value!
If you have to clean a coin – say you found it while metal detecting – use very mild cleaners and brushes to do so. I personally use Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo with a baby toothbrush. I use gentle circular motions to clean the dirt off but I don’t have to worry about the brush being too course and scratching the coin. Nor do I have to worry about acidity in the shampoo – it’s designed for babies after all!
Hopefully this answers your question Raj.
If you have a question for the Mail Bag, use the contact form on the About page to send it in.