How to clean clad coins
US Missing Clad Layer 1965 to Date
Nowadays not many people remember when silver coins actually circulated in America. Up to 1964, our silver coins
dimes, quarters, half dollars
were made of actual silver. A full 90 percent of each coin was pure silver. The remaining 10 percent was copper. Then, in 1964, the Federal Government decided, with the rest of the world (pretty much), to do away with precious metal in coins and strike them out of cheap alloys. Coins minted from 1965 until now have zero silver content. Dimes, quarters, and half dollars are made of copper with a thin clad layer of nickel.
(Aside -- With the economic turmoil of today, do you think anything would be different if we used real precious metal in coins? Hmmmm.)
If you have old pre-1965 silver coins they are quite valuable today. See this CoinQuest link for details.
Once in a while the thin nickel clad layer is not attached to the coin blank when it is sent into the minting machine. What you get is a clad layer missing error coin and these are sought by collectors. Mint workers are supposed to catch all such errors before the coins leave the mint, but some get through.
Evaluating these coins is a
bit tricky. There are several factors which enter into the equation, and all factors are subject to wide variations.
First there is eye appeal. To be valuable, an error coin has to knock your socks off to be valuable. The dime in our picture does that. The obverse ('heads' side) is almost uncirculated, fully lustrous, and pure white, while the reverse ('tails side') has a bright, lustrous red look from the exposed copper. To keep coins in such beautiful condition, owners usually send them to professional coin encapsulation services like PCGS, NGC, ANACS, and ICG (don't use other services).
NEVER CLEAN A COIN. CLEANING RUINS VALUE.
Second there is the actual error configuration. The nickel layer may be missing on one side or both, and it may be partially missing of fully missing.
Third, if you want to sell your coin, you need to find a buyer. There are not many collectors of error coins, so the unavailability of buyers can send prices lower.
Taking these into account, here are some best-guess estimates of the value of missing clad coins:
FULL EYE APPEAL, FULLY UNCIRCULATED, IN NUMISMATIC SLAB:
ONE SIDE MISSING ENTIRE CLAD LAYER
Half dollars: $500
Ike dollars: $600
Susan B. Anthony dollars: $300Source: www.coinquest.com