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What are the stipulations of legal coin altering?

I recently acquired a coin that has been painted. Is this legal?


Since whomever did this didn’t ‘fraudulently’ alter, deface, or mutilate the coin, painting the coin is legal. Had the person tried to alter the denomination this act would have been illegal.

Someone recently told me it’s not illegal to try to separate the silver from American coins. Is this true?

People have been scrapping U.S. coins for their intrinsic value since the time the spot price of silver rose above the face value of these coins. According to Federal statute 18 USC 331, “whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” Since scrapping silver composition coins is not a fraudulent act it is not illegal.

How do you clean U.S. copper cents?

I don’t recommend cleaning any coin, however if you want to clean copper composition one cent coins mix a tablespoon or 15 grams of salt in a half cup or four ounces of vinegar, orange juice, or with a lemon. This weak acid mix will dissolve copper oxide.

When a professional grading service grades a coin that has been cleaned, is the highest grading they can give it an About Uncirculated grade?

There is no ceiling to the grade that can be assigned a coin by a certification service. Most services, however, will identify a certified coin as having a problem such as having been cleaned while assigning a grade when such a detriment has been identified. The assigned grade might be impacted depending on the grading service being used and the extent of the impact of the cleaning.

How many coin planchets can a blanking machine strike per minute?

There are a number of companies that make these machines. The number of strokes per minute also varies depending on the denomination to be produced. For those reasons there isn’t one specific number, however, it appears 800 blanks per minute is a reasonable figure to use.

Are there any standard reference books (catalogs, history books, grading/pricing guides, etc.) covering gaming tokens like those issued by storied arcade gaming facilities like Time Out?

There are numerous catalogs in which amusement tokens are listed, many of them listing tokens by the state in which they were used. I am unaware of any catalog for Time Out Family Amusement Centers, although some of these tokens might be listed in these more general catalogs.

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