why does cleaning an old coin devalue it?

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I get that the rust and buildup is impressive, but if that’s what gives the coin value then wouldn’t a coin forgotten in a swamp be more valuable than one that’s perfectly preserved in a time capsule or something?

If the cleaning process damages the coin then that’s obvious too, but why is all coin cleaning considered that bad?

In: Other

It’s not going to lose any of its material value from cleaning. It’ll always have that.

It *will* lose the part that makes it valuable and interesting to many other humans, its tangible and authentic connection to a distant past. Whatever corrosion it collected on its way to through the ages is part of the story it can tell. Removing that removes the story.

Repainting the Mona Lisa with modern materials, in more vibrant colors and on a bigger canvas will not somehow create a more valuable piece of art. Look into Walter Benjamin’s “aura” terminology of you’re more interested in this.