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Offline coloma goldTopic starter
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« on: September 20, 2011, 10:04:08 am »
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I am finding several copper or bronze (as far as I can tell)coins. They are very thin and small denominations. Many have green corrosion on them. I have tried electrolysis and it seems to work but the results are marginal. I am wondering if a tumbler would be better. These coins run from 1790's to the 1920's but mostly in the 1850's.  Also, if a tumbler is recommended, are they all essentially the same for a hobbyist?  The prices range dramatically. For those who have tried both electrolysis and tumbler method, which is better?  Any drawbacks to the tumbler? Any other suggestions? These are not high value coins but I would like to 'clean' them up as much as possible.  I look forward to your rec's.  Coloma Gold..

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Offline avision4u2liveby
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 11:57:44 am »
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I'm a big saver of coins. I buy, sell, and trade alot of copper and brass or bronze coins and tokens. If you can read a date or know what it is before you you do electrolysis or chemicals like vinegar and salt or tunbling......your $$ ahead. Any old ones with numismatic value should NOT  be cleaned with those methods. The idea is to clean it without ruining the patina. Copper, bronze and brass are the toughest to save. They get green corrosion that etches deep into the metal on some.  If it could be worth alot to you, then plan on a very long method of boiling and cooling many times and soaking in dish soap in between. Some people use olive oil.....I do that after Ive soaked, boiled, etc.. many many times and it has to be a valuable coin. I usually end up frustrated when it doesnt get clean and dunk it in 5% vinegar for as long as it takes to make the corrosion gone lol. If your patient and can spend 6 months soaking in olive oil.......more power to you!  Tumblers vary alot in qualitty. Dont even think bout using the toy or hobby type, they just dont work and you'll waste your $ on it. I use a Lortone for rocks and a thumblers brand for coins. No special reason except thats what I have. The thumblers is over 35 years old and still going. The lortone I"m told will go longer, but I dont know. I like my Lortone better, only because its newer and quieter. You can buy either one for around $75 new if you shop around. I tumble all my clad and modern coins for about half an hour to an hour in a saalt and white vinegar solution with aquarium gravel and they come out like new.

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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 12:21:31 pm »
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All the above is Smart for sure.

If dated, Leave alone.



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Offline coloma goldTopic starter
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 01:03:10 pm »
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So, if I understand you correctly, if I can read the date before cleaning with electrolysis, I should leave them alone?    My problem with many of the coins I am finding is that they have the green cancer in varying degrees. I don't know if the coins have numismatic value at this time. The dates are usually in the 1850's on the older ones but I have them from 1792-1999. Not all are copper as far as I can tell. I just know that electrolysis doesn't do the job that I expected from it (perhaps I am not allowing the coins to bath long enough). So, my next thought was to use a tumbler (of which I know nothing about). Will the tumbler damage the coins (assuming they are not of high value to start with)? Coloma Gold

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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2011, 01:55:13 pm »
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Quote:Posted by coloma gold
So, if I understand you correctly, if I can read the date before cleaning with electrolysis, I should leave them alone?    My problem with many of the coins I am finding is that they have the green cancer in varying degrees. I don't know if the coins have numismatic value at this time. The dates are usually in the 1850's on the older ones but I have them from 1792-1999. Not all are copper as far as I can tell. I just know that electrolysis doesn't do the job that I expected from it (perhaps I am not allowing the coins to bath long enough). So, my next thought was to use a tumbler (of which I know nothing about). Will the tumbler damage the coins (assuming they are not of high value to start with)? Coloma Gold


Coloma, the advice to leave them alone is because in the US market cleaning coins tends to lowers their value.   My understanding is that European collectors are not quite as adamant about not cleaning coins as are their American brethren.....plus if you're planning to keep the coin strictly for your own enjoyment and not intending to put it on the market, it's entirely up to you whether you clean it or not.    If you do elect to clean it, the goal should be to clean it as little as possible...i.e. just enough to kill the green cancer, but not enough to destroy the patina or to add additional wear to the coin that was not their before.

BA

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« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 04:24:44 pm by BitburgAggie_7377 »
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2011, 03:46:39 pm »
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These photos are from the Internet.

I have the same coins in the same condition found buy a guy at Black Castle Turkey while I was there.

I was 5 years old.

He found by eye, a hand full of coins along the wall as if some one had chucked um to shut up the little people below.

He gave Me 3 of them one I gave away as a kid to my thought was love of life.  LOL.

He gave away about half of what he found before we got back on the bus.

You got to understand that back in 1965 a military bus tour of the Castle was a Turkish Driver that got you there, opened up the door and said I leave in three hours.

He spent his time eating all the goodies we gave em and slept away the rest.

I almost died that day just missing a hole in the ground that later looked to not have a bottom.

Guided!  LOL!

Bottom line is I have never attempted to clean them.

Some day I will find out exactly what they are and from ware.

A few drops of Ferric Chloride in water would clean them over time but I don't want to mess them up.


Note on Photo!   All those homes was NOT there back in 1965!

Just the Castle.








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« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 03:50:37 pm by homefire »
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 05:32:46 pm »
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 I would say leave them alone also. If you can make them out. (Date and other parts you can recognize. ) If you look at ebay the coins sold with patina or a little crust sell better then harshly stripped coins. Pick about any of the dealers

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. And you will see they leave patina or some crust on. Thing with cleaning coins haste is waste.
 
 I talked in another thread about using olive oil or mineral oil in another thread, but the full treatment I first soak in soapy water. Then thoroughly rinse with distilled water, not mineral water. Dry them and in to the olive oil. I'll look in on them and change out the oil every so often when the oil starts having color. Thing is I'm not in a hurry and you can put a lot of different coins in at once with out having to worry about ruining them.  Both a lazy man's way of cleaning and a safe way.

  Electrolysis would be my next choice. It is controllable and would do only in short sessions.  But can strip of patina which is bad thing for coin collectors. And only use it if olive oil does not work.

 Tumbling unless its modern coins I would not even try. To much chance of having a slug of copper or brass. The thing with tumbling it can take down the metal and any date or thing on the coin at the same time. If a face or date is showing it could end up being gone fast. Some coins also have something on the edge and that would be the first thing gone.

BTW if you decide you need some help ID'ing them post some pictures over in coins or what is this section. And I'll try to give you a hand.

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Offline coloma goldTopic starter
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2011, 10:15:08 pm »
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Thanks ghola,

I guess, based upon the responses from all, that I will not try to do any quick cleaning (other than liquid soap/water) to the coins. I am fairly certain that the ones that I have found to date, are not worth anything so I probably haven't ruined their 'value'. However, I will try to follow the directions for the future coin finds. It's not that I want them shiny and like new, but I would like to get rid of the green cancer and be able to read the date.

I was curious however about the 'black' that is on one or two of the coins after I used the electrolysis.. It is a very thick black (sooty) substance that is difficult to remove. This would appear to be an obvious interaction between the metal in the coin and the electrolysis. Do you have an idea what this is caused by or is it natural? What is the best way to clean it from the coin? Does it signify the kind of metal in the coin?
Thanks, Coloma Gold

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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 12:05:56 am »
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I was curious however about the 'black' that is on one or two of the coins after I used the electrolysis.. It is a very thick black (sooty) substance that is difficult to remove. This would appear to be an obvious interaction between the metal in the coin and the electrolysis. Do you have an idea what this is caused by or is it natural? What is the best way to clean it from the coin?


After doing electrolysis with salt water (salt makes the water more conductive) rinse it off and start over with fresh plain water and run it for a few minutes until the black comes off. There's more to electrolysis than that, do a search on here and read the old threads. If you dont find what I"m talking about, I'll make a detailed how to.  Also.......I forgot my best secret on coppper coins lol. boiling them in peroxide. put a 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a coffee cup and microwave until its really hot. Drop in your coin and let it sit an hour or until it stops bubbling. Repeat as necessary. I use q-tips and wooden tooth pics soaked in peroxide to clean small stubborn spots on a coin. If its extremely bad, I use a dry toothpic and clean every detail by hand on an expensive coin. Once its cleaned to your liking......soak it in olive oil for 2 hours....take it out.....dry it with a cloth......and seal it in a coin holder for long term storage, and safe handling. That keeps the green corrosion from coming back, and makes it look presentable.  For clad coins.....you can take an old sock and drop them in....tie a knot in the end and throw it in the laundry. They'll come out like new.

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« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 12:07:34 am by avision4u2liveby »
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Offline coloma goldTopic starter
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 12:22:46 am »
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Thanks, avision4u2liveby

I will use your suggestions on the ones that I have already worked on to see if they fair better. Obviously, I have a lot to learn about the cleaning methods so I appreciate your input.
Coloma Gold

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