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Here's why you shouldn't clean coins

Copper-coated zinc cents and corrosion go hand in hand, collectors know.

I have seen some pretty seriously wrecked cents in the last 29 years.

Readers occasionally play “Can you top this?” and send in cents so badly corroded that it is a wonder the coin can still be considered a cent.

Games aside, the heightened awareness of terror threats that occurred nationwide in advance of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack put people on edge.

When people are on edge, they can overreact.

A reader sent in this real beaut from in or near Rochester, N.Y.

There in early September bank employees called police about a suspicious substance on cents.

Once that is done public officials need to follow the procedures outlined in their emergency response plans.

So the area was blocked off. The corroded cents were investigated and it turned out that a teller trying to be helpful had sprayed a cleaner on them and this then initiated a chemical reaction.

What’s the moral of the story?

Well, collectors are told never to clean their coins.

I guess that advice applies to bank tellers, too.