Lately we have been noticing more dipped coins showing up in Proxibid auctions. Dipping is a chemical process that requires a high amount of skill to do without harming a coin. But once a large coin like a Morgan dollar is damaged by dipping, it’s essentially silver melt.
There is a difference between dipping and washing. Dipping coins elicits a sheen in silver using a chemical cleaner–there are several on the market for silver–with a popular one being “e-Z-est jewel luster.” This is a useful product that when used correctly and swiftly can remove some stains or other contaminant. Officially, using coin dips are not considered “doctoring.” But using it properly requires experience, and experience is often gotten by damaging coins.
Our intent is not to share how to dip properly but how to spot coins that have been dipped improperly so that you are aware of consignors who send you inferior lots. Here are two of the most common:
- A dipped coin may be well-worn but somehow appear to have luster. That’s a sign of properly dipping a slider coin, one that is looks like mint state but is actually an almost uncirculated one, or MS50-59 on the Sheldon scale.
- A dipped coin may be uncirculated with a strong strike but somehow appear grainy. That’s a sign of improper dipping, leaving the coin too long in the solution or not washing and drying it properly after its chemical bath.
Dipping differs from washing coins. Often, soap and water can remove small traces of debris although we do not recommend that as even this has to be done properly because the debris can scratch the surface of a coin, especially those with mirrored surfaces. If used correctly, a relatively harmless product is MS70 Coin Cleaner. But again, there are always risks.
The biggest risk to auctioneers is learning that her or his company has received a consignment of dipped and doctored coins. That usually leads to complaints after the coins are received. Better not to deal with consignors who send such coins than to try to clean up the auction mess that many leave behind.
Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.