Preventing silver coin tarnish is important to the growing number of historic and rare coin collectors.
Citing new statistics from the U.S. Mint’s coin collector statistics, Numismatic News reports collection of historic, commemorative and rare coins is on the rise. While the aftermarket for collectible coins can be tough to gauge (dealers aren’t required to report their sales), it is known there’s been an uptick in both the number of buyers and price-per-coin.
Tarnish, a chemical reaction spurred by silver’s interaction with hydrogen sulfide (a gas found in small quantities in the air), can significantly impact the value of any collectible. Pieces that are pristine and absent any significant tarnish, abrasion or wear are going to last the longest and command the highest prices at auction.
Silver coins in particular are at risk of tarnishing compared to other metals both because silver itself is soft and prone to tarnishing and because coins are more likely to be handled than other types of collectibles.
Heirloom silver serving trays, dishes, platters, teapots, candlesticks and utensils add a touch of tradition and elegance to holiday festivities. Unfortunately, keeping these pieces timeless requires special care to prevent silver tarnish from taking hold.
Tarnish, also known as silver sulfide, is that black film that accumulates over time on silver, giving it an appearance of grimy rather than gleaming. It’s the result of a chemical reaction that can be caused simply by exposure of silver surfaces to sulfides present in air, water or materials like felt. Silver is especially vulnerable in high-humidity or when an accumulation of oils or chemicals has built up, usually having rubbed off from skin contact.
If silver tarnish forms, a quick soap-and-water scrub isn’t going to cut it. It must be removed through tedious polishing. (The editors of Southern Living said that to refer to the task as time-consuming is “an understatement,” and recommend hosts set themselves to the chore three days in advance of a festive gathering.) Shortcuts can leave your cherished pieces worse for the wear. Some silver tarnish removers promise expedited polishing, but can pose a risk of damaging the surface quality of each piece.
Whether a sparkling silver necklace or a valued set of antique serving platters and cutlery, keeping your silver collection free from tarnish and ensuring these cherished pieces remain in excellent condition for the next use need not be time-consuming or expensive.
Anti-tarnish silver storage bags from Zerust can protect smaller items, while anti-tarnish drawer liners and anti-tarnish vapor capsules can be placed into existing drawers, boxes, storage cabinets or containers.
Why Does Silver Tarnish?