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So I cleaned my first coin with acetone

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christian_cyclist
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United States
284 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  12:16 am Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add christian_cyclist to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

One of my biggest fears is losing a coin to human handling: skin oil, finger prints, and corrosion. Some of you may have seen my post about asking for help in ID'ing an Asian coin. It was a Japanese 10 Yen. I have two of them, one dated 1954 and the other 1977. The one dated 1977 had some black enamel on it.

I decided to try cleaning it off with some acetone. The acetone was purchased about a week ago from Walmart. It's made by KleenStrip. First note on acetone: it absolutely reeks! Some things are said to be flammable and this just smells flammable. Don't be a hero and open up a can of it in your room with the doors and windows closed. Go outside. If you must open it indoors (a room, a garage, etc) at least make sure there is a lot of ventilation with a couple fans blowing around and the windows open.

I did the residue test by pouring in a small amount into a petri dish and letting it evaporate. It dries up pretty quick. There was some residue left behind but it looked like water. It was odorless and didn't feel oily. I didn't dare try tasting it.

Wearing nitrile gloves, I dipped my Japanese coins into a freshly refilled petri dish. You don't need a lot of fluid. Just enough to cover the coin. Using a Q-tip, I agitated the acetone and gently rubbed the black enamel. Sure enough, after about 5 minutes, the enamel came off. A slick residue floated on top of whatever acetone was left (half of it evaporated). I pulled out the coins, dried them off with canned air, and set them on some wristwatch paper. The acetone almost ate through the gloves and the gloves just barely survived.

Anyways, I have two very "clean" 10 Yen coins. I wanted to show the before and after shots of the coins. You can see the copper that was under the enamel is shinier than the rest of the coin.

http://www.geocities.com/christian_...periment.jpg

Interesting. My eye notices this shinier area more than it noticed the black enamel. Maybe I was just used to the enamel and this looks new to me.

The coins are now secured in cardboard/mylar coin flips.

-- Boris

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 Posted 01/08/2009  12:34 am  Show Profile Check biokemist6's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add biokemist6 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Some things are said to be flammable and this just smells flammable. Don't be a hero and open up a can of it in your room with the doors and windows closed. Go outside. If you must open it indoors (a room, a garage, etc) at least make sure there is a lot of ventilation with a couple fans blowing around and the windows open.

Acetone is volatile but as long as used in a properly ventilated room away from all ignition sources, then you should have no problems. It is not necessarily harmful to you but it is intoxicating and will depress the central nervous system if inhaled in copious amounts.

Quote:
There was some residue left behind but it looked like water. It was odorless and didn't feel oily

It was possibly water, even reagent grade acetone is about 0.5% water. However, I would recommend letting it thoroughly evaporate and then check for residue. If it was water then it should evaporate in a couple hours.

Quote:
I pulled out the coins, dried them off with canned air, and set them on some wristwatch paper. The acetone almost ate through the gloves and the gloves just barely survived.

In the case of an obviously "dirty" coin and even in the case of any coin, I would recommend a clean rinse after the soak. Nitrile does not hold up too well to acetone but I believe that chloroprene gloves work ok. I do not wear gloves at all and acetone is relatively harmless to the skin although it will strip all essential oils making your skin very dry so minimize contact but you do not have to avoid it.
ANA R-3151318
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Canada
1082 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  02:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add WpgLwr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Way back when I was in school, we used to use acetone in shop class to "glue" plexiglas together. We would put the acetone in a hypodermic needle and squirt it in the joints between the two pieces of plexiglas, and they would just melt together.

And, no, we didn't even think of using gloves.
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164 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  05:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rohumpy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In chem lab in grad school many years ago, we used acetone like it was water and never worried about any ill effects. Seriously, we would use it to wash glassware and our hands because it dried so fast. As they say, ignorance is bliss.
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 Posted 01/08/2009  10:44 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

Interesting. My eye notices this shinier area more than it noticed the black enamel. Maybe I was just used to the enamel and this looks new to me.


Try to remember that although Acetone and many other substances may not effect the skin on your hands noticably, there are many people with limited or no eyesight due to simple splashes of such chemicals into the eyes. Acetone WILL distroy your eyesight. Acetone can also ruin your nasal abilities if excessively inhaled. Possible sparks from an electrical object, sparks from dry air and rubbing your own head, dragging feet across a rug could ignite the fumes if not properly ventilated. Acetone can and does remove many oils and moisture on your hands that nature put there to protect them.
The usage of any chemicals should be handled with care even if you THINK you know all about them.
And you should have rinsed those coins with distilled water after a dip or soak in Acetone.
just carl
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United States
284 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  11:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add christian_cyclist to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good note on the eye protection! I should have been wearing something. You never know when something could inadvertently splash on you. Splashes can be very unexpected.

Why should I rinse the coins in distilled water? Is there a residue from the acetone that I need to wash off?

-- Boris
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 Posted 01/08/2009  12:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add AuldFartte to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't rinse in anything but more acetone. It evaporates so rapidly, leaving no spots whereas water evaporates much more slowly and will leave spots. If you wish to rinse with water, use canned air to get rid of all moisture on the coin.
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 Posted 01/08/2009  12:16 pm  Show Profile Check biokemist6's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add biokemist6 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I rinse with clean acetone after soaking but I never use distilled water because that can leave waterspots on coins(especially proofs). Acetone should not leave a residue- that is why the evap test is performed.
ANA R-3151318
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 Posted 01/08/2009  1:18 pm  Show Profile Check Jaobler's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Jaobler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with the "acetone final rinse" crowd. One of the nice properties of acetone is that it is complete miscible (soluble) with water. The final acetone rinse effectively removes all moisture from the coin. Once that acetone rinse has evaporated the coin is completely dry. You can then safely put it away in the holder of your choice.

Christian Cyclist, you probably realize that the coin is shiny under the enamel because the enamel protected the covered surface from oxidation. The rest of the coin darkened over time while the enameled area remained basically the same shade as when the enamel was first applied.
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 Posted 01/08/2009  3:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add desertgem to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


Quote:
Christian Cyclist, you probably realize that the coin is shiny under the enamel because the enamel protected the covered surface from oxidation. The rest of the coin darkened over time while the enameled area remained basically the same shade as when the enamel was first applied.


I am fully convinced that this type of occurance has led to the hundreds of reports that acetone shouldn't be used on copper because it changes the color. The color change was there before the acetone, it just exposes it.


Jim
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284 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  3:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add christian_cyclist to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I fully expected the "shiny" part to come out once the enamel was removed. It just looked a bit weird since I wasn't used to seeing it. I'm sure as time goes on, the exposed copper will slowly oxidize and everything will be closer to an even color. Personally, I'd rather have a shiny bit on the edge than some nasty black enamel.

As long as the coin doesn't turn green, then I'm happy.

-- Boris
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917 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  4:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wetglaswegian to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I didn't dare try tasting it.





Thats the only bit that confused me
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12261 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  4:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

I am fully convinced that this type of occurance has led to the hundreds of reports that acetone shouldn't be used on copper because it changes the color. The color change was there before the acetone, it just exposes it.


Jim

I've heard similar stories in the past. In fact there was a post on the internet by someone that explained how Acetone will effect Copper coins but only if exposed to the sun during a rinse process. So naturally I tried this.
Put clear Acetone in a clean jar. Added numerous coins of differnt materials and denomimations. Cent, Nickel, Dime, Quarter and a few of each. One cent was prior to 82 and the other was post 82. One dime was a Liberty head and one a Roosevelt. Quarter was a state thing. Jar now sealed.
Jar placed in garage on workbench for one day. NOTHING.
Jar placed on garage window sill for one day. NOTHING.
Jar placed on picnic table outside for one day. NOTHING.
Jar placed on a small ladder in the sun all day. NOTHING.
Neighbors now think I'm a little weird putting money in jars outside.
All coins removed, rinsed with distilled water, blown dry with hair dryer on warm setting.
Results: Quarter was a lot cleaner. All other coins appeared to be the same as when I put them in the jar. These coins have been sitting on a window sill in my kitchen for about 6 months now. Still look the same except a little dirty.
I use distilled water and then blow dry just to be safe. A second rinse of Acetone is great as long as it is proven to be pure.
just carl
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2427 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2009  5:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Tim Stroud to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You think acetone is bad? next time get you some methylethylketone or trichloromethylisobutolketone, now those really smell. And nitril gloves? well they just sort of melt away and leave a sticky goo on your hands.

Just in case you guys really want to know what that stuff will do to ya here is a link to the Material Safety Data Sheet for Acetone.

http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Acetone-9927062
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Oldest Circulation Find ----- 1897S Barber quarter
Oldest Detector Find -------- 1803 Large cent


Edited by Tim Stroud
01/08/2009 5:19 pm
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