If you are one of those people who fancy collecting military coins instead of stamps, paintings, monetary coins, and other works of art, then it is important that you know the proper way to care for your collection. Military challenge coins, especially the rare ones, can cost a hefty sum, so you surely do not want to ruin them and in effect, lower their value. To prevent that from happening, here are some caring tips that you must remember:
Cleaning your military coins is a bit challenging because a single mistake can ruin their appearance and deem them worthless. Hence, the best thing to do is to consult an expert before you ever think of soaking that coin in vinegar, baking soda, soap, or even water. First, have an expert identify the material from which the coin was made because that will be your basis on how to proceed. Better yet, let a professional do it. If you do want to clean your collection by yourself, then remember these warnings:
Clean them one by one. As mentioned, different metals require various methods of cleaning, so the reagent you are using may be harmless to one but damaging to the other. Certain metals also do not react well together and may cause staining.
Use cotton gloves when cleaning your coins. Old coins are often fragile and simple reaction with your sweat can ruin them. A soft cotton glove will serve as protection against this and also prevent scratches.
Hold the coin by the edges and not on its flat surface. The lesser the contact, the better.
Use water if possible or better yet distilled water, because it does not contain any minerals or contaminants. If the dirt does not come off easily, then that is when you can try other cleaning reagents, like vinegar. Again, consult with an expert about this first.
Stay away from abrasive materials. A rough sponge, sandpaper, and even a toothbrush can scratch old military coins. Just stick to using soft cloth. After cleaning the coins, lay them down on soft cloth to air dry, do not wipe dry.
After cleaning your coins, you certainly want to store them in a safe place to avoid getting them dirty again. However, as a collector, you would of course desire to brag and show off your collection, so the best solution would be to use display boxes. These cases usually have stands where you can mount the coin and the box is then framed in glass or plastic. Another option is the rack design, where coins are placed vertically in a rack that has plastic or glass covering. If guests want to inspect your collections, they simply have to hold the rack and turn it to see both sides of your coins. Still another alternative is the display table. Here, coins are laid flat on soft velvet and framed by glass. This is a classy way to display your coins but observers will not be able to see the other side.
Know What to Avoid
It will also do you good to know what should be avoided to preserve the quality of your coins. Air pollution, acid, chlorine, humidity, sulfur, salt, soda, and extreme temperatures are some of these. Therefore, even if your coins are encased in glass, it would be best to check their conditions once in a while to ensure that no condensation is taking place in the interior.
Some of these tips also apply for those people who own military coins and use them in their affiliation with their groups or organizations. Even if they are required to carry those coins regularly, they still need to observe proper handling and maintenance.
Cleaning your military coins is a bit challenging because a single mistake can ruin their appearance.