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Advice Needed - Cleaning And Preservation Of An Aluminum Token

 
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 Posted 12/06/2022  3:51 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Hondo Boguss to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I recently acquired this aluminum token. It's filthy and dirty with a bit of corrosion. It's an R9, from the 1920s. Welham Store, L. Keller & Co., Hester, Louisiana.
It arrived in a flip, and I immediately placed it in a 2X2.
How should I go about cleaning it and preventing further corrosion?
Many thanks for your input!

Inordinately fascinated by bits of metal with strange markings and figures
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 Posted 12/06/2022  4:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add 279773 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Warm water swish in a plastic cup, pat dry with cottony fabric.
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 Posted 12/06/2022  5:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jimbucks to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You can use a mild soapy solution (de-ionized water suggested). Be sure to dry thoroughly, perhaps using a hair dryer on low heat. Then just leave it alone.
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 Posted 12/06/2022  6:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would not recommend using soap on aluminium coins; aluminium is one of the few metals that readily corrodes in both acidic and alkaline solutions, and "soap" is normally alkaline. In my younger days I have personally ruined several potentially-nice aluminium coins by cleaning them with bath soap. If you think to need to use a surfactant on an aluminium coin, make sure it's a pH-neutral soap. Personally, I'd use an organic solvent like ethanol or acetone instead; that should take off any adhered soil particles but leave the metal and its precious oxide later alone.

Jut looking at this piece, I would tend to assume none of it is actual dirt, but all of it is corrosion; aluminium can turn brown when it reacts with humic acids in soil, so I assume this was a metal detector find or it otherwise spent some time in the ground.

As for preservation, your best bet is to keep it dry. Aluminium has excellent corrosion resistance in dry air; raw aluminium metal when exposed to air rapidly forms a transparent aluminium oxide layer that protects the metal from further corrosion. It's only when moisture enters the equation that problems start because water, and things dissolved in that water, can disrupt the oxide layer.

Oh, and keep it away from other metals; don't just toss it in a jar with a bunch of other coins. Especially tarnished silver. I have also ruined a very nice aluminium medal by putting a heavily tarnished silver coin on top of it and letting it sit there for several months in a warm, humid environment. You know that trick of using a piece of aluminium foil and some baking soda to remove silver tarnish? Yeah, my scenario did much the same thing; I now have a silver coin that's nice and clean (on one side only), and a giant corrosion pit in my medal.

So in putting it in a 2x2, you've already done all you really need to do to preserve it from future damage.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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 Posted 12/06/2022  8:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with the recommendation of a soak in acetone. I'd follow the soak with a gentle once over with an acetone dipped cotton swab then placement back in a sealed 2x2. Much more than that and you run the risk of causing permanent damage, The token will never be "As New" again, but at least you can prevent further deterioration by removing surface contaminants.

Let us know what you do - and the results!



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 Posted 12/24/2022  10:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Hondo Boguss to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I haven't done anything with it yet. Acetone will be my first approach. Would VerdiCare be of use on it?
Many thanks!
Inordinately fascinated by bits of metal with strange markings and figures
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