Do Gold Coins Tarnish? Tips for Taking Care of Gold Coins

Do Gold Coins Tarnish? Tips for Taking Care of Gold Coins


Written by John Rothans

Jan 28, 2022

Gold coins can be a great addition to a financial or retirement portfolio. Plus, it’s easy to take care of the precious metal because gold does not tarnish. Head with us down the yellow-metal road as we explain why gold coins don’t tarnish and how to take care of your gold coins.

Do Gold Coins Tarnish?

Gold coins do not tarnish. But some coins, including brass and silver, can tarnish over time.

Tarnishing, or toning, is a chemical reaction that happens to the exterior layer of a coin when it is exposed to oxygen. The chemical reaction causes the coin to become discolored. Depending on the coin’s metal, tarnishing can create different appearances. A tarnished coin could look rusty, dull, black, or gray.

Tarnishing doesn’t mean a coin is being “eaten away.” Tarnishing is only a change in the coin’s outer appearance. Though often unsightly, the tarnished color is superficial and can be removed.

Why don’t gold coins tarnish? It’s simple: Gold does not react with oxygen, thus eliminating the possibility that the precious metal will tarnish or rust. If cared for, gold coins may forever maintain their shine.

If a piece of jewelry or a coin isn’t pure gold, however, it can tarnish. Gold-plated metals can tarnish depending on the base metal, which typically is brass, nickel, or pewter. That’s one more reason to buy solid gold coins instead of gold-plated coins or gold-clad coins.

Tips for Handling and Storing Gold Coins

While gold coins don’t tarnish, they can be damaged. That’s because gold is relatively soft compared to its fellow precious metals. Here are six do’s and don’ts for properly handling and storing your gold coins:

1. DO handle your gold coins with special gloves. When handling your gold coins for any period, you should wear lint-free cotton gloves to provide maximum protection.

2. DO pick up your gold coins carefully. When picking up gold coins, hold them by the edges to minimize damage to the surfaces of the coins. If your coins are stored in secure plastic cases, do not remove them from their cases.

3. DO place your gold coins on a soft surface. If you’re going to examine your gold coins on a table or another hard surface, place a soft, clean towel or cloth on top of the surface first to prevent scratches or other damage.

4. DO keep gold coins in a secure spot. Store your gold coins in an at-home safe or at an off-site vault to prevent damage, theft, or other problems.

5. DON’T eat or drink near your gold coins. Small food or drink particles may get on your coins and cause color changes or spots.

6. DON’T clean gold coins. Though it may seem counterintuitive, cleaning your coins may actually cause scratches or other damage.

7. DON’T store gold coins with other metals that may tarnish. If you store gold coins with items made of brass, silver, or other metals that may tarnish, you might end up damaging the gold coins. Residue from a tarnished coin could transfer to your gold coins and scratch, smudge, or otherwise contaminate them.

Gold’s Power as a Precious Metal

Gold bullion coins and bars purchased from reputable dealers can be powerful additions to your portfolio. Gold has been used as a form of currency for centuries, giving it a proven track record as a store of wealth.

In addition, gold can serve as a hedge against inflation. How? The precious metal has historically increased during periods of inflation. In other words, gold has served as a store of wealth when the U.S. dollar has lost its purchasing power.

Gold may also:

  • help diversify your portfolio,
  • help provide stability during times of economic or geopolitical uncertainty, and
  • grow in performance potential amid rising demand and constrained supply.

The World Gold Council explains that gold is a unique asset because it is both highly liquid and scarce. It is also a luxury good as well as a tangible asset.

“Gold is no one’s liability and carries no counterparty risk. As such, it can play a fundamental role in [a] portfolio,” the World Gold Council says.

Shop online now for gold coins that are backed by the U.S. government for their gold content, weight, and purity. Call U.S. Money Reserve today for special inventory and pricing.


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