Some PVC Damaged Coins Can Be Cleaned

Proceed at your own risk!


PVC is an abbreviation of “Poly Vinyl Chloride,” found in some soft plastic flips that gradually eats away at the surface of a coin. If not caught in time, the effect can render a coin essentially worthless. But PVC is also fairly easy to clean, if you know what you are doing, and as we cannot be held responsible for any damage you might do to a lot, please proceed at your own risk.

The 1915-S Wheat Cent above is beyond repair. The PVC poison already has eaten away at some of the coin, above the “Y” in “Liberty and right of Lincoln’s mouth. Had this coin not been stored in a PVC flip, it would be worth at least $35 retail. Now it is a $3 damaged, ugly coin filler.

We used the cent above as an example of how bad PVC damage can be. This lot sold for a few dollars recently on Proxibid.

Conversely, this 1917-D coin as presented would bring a lower bid than if cleaned with an approved solution. The cleaning described here works best on silver and nickel, not copper or bronze.


You might use a coin cleaner called “MS70,” which is not a dip that alters the surface of a coin, but a mild soapy cleaner. Pour a small amount of the MS70 solution in the bottle’s cap. Then use a Q-Tip with a paper rather than plastic stick holder, dip it in the solution and then gently swipe it across the PVC area. If the PVC is on both sides of a coin, use another Q-Tip and dip it in the solution and go through the same process. (Never dip a used Q-Tip into the solution. Also, discard the solution from the cap when finished, rinsing the cap to be sure it is free of all contaminants.)

After gently rubbing MS70 on the coin with a Q-Tip, go to a sink and run the coin under warm water to remove any traces of the soap solution. Then set the coin to dry on a soft cloth. (Do not rub the coin dry!)

Once again, use MS70 on silver and nickel, but not copper or bronze. It has a tendency to turn the metal into a slightly unnatural bluish color. If you dare to try this, buy some PVC-damaged coins on Proxibid, bidding below low-ball. When you get the coins, experiment with the soap cleaner and see the results for yourself. And once more, you are doing this at your own risk.

The best bet might be to ask your local coin dealer about MS70 and whether he or she recommends cleaning coins with it. His or her opinion may differ from ours. The shop also should stock the product.

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.