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Some copper (or copper plated) coins are described as "red", referring to the dark red colour of a newly minted coin.

Over time copper coins tarnish and begin to turn green. Constant handling removes some of the tarnish and as a result the coin will appear brown.

Collectors often refer to a coin as "red" to indicate that it has been handled very little and not exposed to any elements (like water) that would cause it to tarnish. Because the metal is so soft, it is impossible to clean a copper coin and return it to a "red" state.

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