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Magnet Fishing for coins? Learn how to restore them

Updated: Aug 24, 2019

If you are a using your Neodymium Magnet fishing magnets for coin hunt to be added to your coins collection, chances are that you came across some coins that are too hard to identify due to the prolonged time these coins have been underwater, dirty and rusty.


This Magnet Fishing Blog post is just what you were looking for.

I’ll present you with several proven technics of restoring the coins you found going magnet fishing.

Without carefully restoring the coins you salvaged, you won’t be able to see the fine details of the coins and identify their lost personality. The efficient yet gentle technics presented will allow you to restore even the most damaged coins without damaging them.


What happened to your magnet fishing coins?

Assuming the coins you found during your magnet fishing adventure spent a good while underwater, surrounded with water and some salts and minerals, these substances had a chemical reaction with the metals the coins are made of. The chemical interaction caused the coins to corrode, rust and sometimes even rot.

Coins are made of different metals and metal mixtures, pure metals cannot be used due to their physical characteristics, Gold, for example is too soft to be used is the coin industry, not to mention to price, however Gold and silver, even when mixed with other metals are resistant to corrosion and therefore may be retrieved without damage. It is important to know what kind of metal your retrieved magnet is made of, as some cleaning technics may damage your coin so you better of leave it as is to maintain its value.


Coins retrieved with a fishing magnet


Restoring Gold Coins

Found a gold coin? Well, the stars must be smiling at you!

Gold is one of the metals that do not have a chemical reaction with substances such as salt and minerals so chances are the coin you found during your magnet fishing treasure hunt are in pretty good shape! Even if the coins are slightly dirty or coated with thin mineral layers, in most cases a micro fibre cloth, some water and a rub will do the trick.


How to restore silver coins?

Unlike Gold coins mentioned earlier, silver does interact on the chemical level with some substances the bodies of water used for magnets-fishing contains. Taking into consideration that silver coins are usually old as silver was not used in the coin industry for ages, the coins you retrieved may be in advanced corrosive condition and therefore also fragile and easy to deteriorate so you may need to re-consider the process of restoration, sometimes it may be better to leave them as is.

If you are still up to the challenge, the simple method of using two common household materials an Aluminium foil and your own spit (saliva) is all you need to get your silver coin good as new. Yes, may not be the most elegant way but who cares.


Place your silver coin on a piece of aluminium foil, spit on it and fold the foil so it covers the silver coin. Now, start rubbing it between your fingertips. The friction will cause some heat to generate and it will trigger a chemical reaction between the coin, your spit and the aluminium foil. Within a few minutes, you should see a dramatic change and your coin will be shiny and clean.


Restoring bronze and silver coins using Electrolysis

Caution! Not to be used without proper safety measures! The method presented next involves electricity and water and may lead to injury if not used properly.

The next method is quite aggressive but works well with bronze and silver coins. Using a technique called Electrolysis, you may find it very effective on severely damages coins. Please note that this method can damage your coins if you do not pay close attention during the process.

The technique of Electrolysis involves low electrical current and salty water. Once the coin is placed in water that has some dissolved salts, the low current triggers a chemical reaction that “attacks” the coin and eats away the dirt and rust.

There’s absolutely now need to buy an electrolysis kit, you can make your DIY kit at home using some items you surely have at your disposal (A phone charger, nail, water, salt ta-da!)


Electrolysis for coin restoration


Using coin tumblers for coin restoration

The next method for restoring your magnet fishing retrieved coins is probably the most efficient and advanced method of coin restoration availble.

This is how it works: The Coin is placed inside a barrel connected to a motor (washing machine style) In addition to the coin, you add some sort of an abrasive material and turn the machine on.The friction and caused by the abrasive material and the coins will surely remove all dirt, rust and corrosion so you coins will be shiny as they were on the first day they reached the bank. Keep in mind that this technique is harsh, so it may not be suitable for really old coins or coins that are made of silver or gold as they are not hard enough and may break.


Restoring coins with a coin tumbler

Restoring Magnet Fishing coins using Ultrasonic cleaners

Another efficient way for cleaning and restoring coins retrieved with the help of your Neodymium magnet is by waves of sound that are enhanced using liquids such as water. These high frequency sound waves, once emitted through liquids are enhanced once they hit the object submerged in the water causing these tiny vibrations to remove all layers of dirt and grime from the coins or any other small object detected during your treasure hunt. This method is safe and usually does not harm delicate finds.


Ultrasonic Cleaner for coin restoration


In Summation

Hopefully this magnet fishing blog post, all dedicated to coin restoration helped you with some tips and tricks for restoring the coins you found using a metal detector or fishing magnet.

Happy Magnet Fishing!

Josh.