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Collecting items is a hobby human beings develop that can become a necessity. Cars, décor, DVDs, vinyl LPs, baseball cards, and those friendly comic books have constantly stayed in vogue for well over a century. Some people collect items for profit, some horde, others hold on to their collections to preserve time and memories.

One interesting pastime that arguably surpasses those listed above would be coin collecting. There are several individuals in the world who can tell stories about their parents or grandparents collecting coins. Think about what they were thinking: If I save this 1917 U.S. penny, in 2017, who knows how much it will be worth to my family? 

That question, 100 years after print, is easy to answer: A penny in 2017 is more than likely worth the same as a penny in 2017 if some individual pays in exact change at Target. 

Sure, like most hobbies involving “collecting,” there are rarities worth more than others—like the Lincoln “wheat” pennies, but to your local retail clerk, a penny’s a penny.

The curation of coins plays a big part in coin collecting. Say, a person finds one of these “wheat” pennies, but there are rust stains and 100 years’ worth of wear and tear. How can he or she eradicate 100 years of damage?

Coca-Cola. 

Now, this unusual cleaning method only works on pennies because they’re made from copper. Unfortunately, that JFK half-dollar will have to stay grimy. (Try lemon juice.) That said, experts conclude that cleaning coins isn’t necessarily the best thing a collector can do to pump up the value. However, in this instance, if a penny collector wants his or her collection to “look” pristine, drop a few dirty pennies in a cup of Coke and watch science go to work.

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Follow Matt de Simone on Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe to his podcast today.

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