Some additional information on the toning issues...
I just came home from a business trip to Montreal and the GTA. In three Shoppers Drug Mart postal areas, I found coins that exhibited this "bronzing" effect. My guess is that the temperature / humidity / lighting conditions in these environments is not conducive to long-term coin storage, and is causing the toning.
I have followed up on this matter with my RCM
rep. Here is our e-mail thread (edited to remove identifying markers and personal information):ORIGINAL MESSAGE:
Hope you had a great weekend!
Wondering if you could help me out with an issue? We spoke in the past about some of my RCM
coins toning, and I'm wondering if I could make an exchange on these coins?
A quick summary of my storage methods / situation:
I live in a climate-controlled house (temperature and humidity).
Upon receiving new coins, they are displayed in a glass showcase for up to 6 months. Some coins are displayed with clamshells open, while others are kept in their graphical "beauty boxes" (closed).
Only coins / processed precious metals are stored in my glass display case (rounds, bars).
The above cabinets do not have artificial lighting, and are not exposed to direct sunlight (through any windows). They are located on an "interior wall" with no rapid variations in temperature. The cabinets are located upwards of 6 feet away from A/C and heating ducts. The cabinets are stored in a second-floor location (not in a basement).
After 3-6 months, the product is transitioned to long-term storage (off-site cabinets), with coins in clamshells / cases. Before this transition, I check to ensure that packing slips match orders from the RCM
The method of collecting, temporarily displaying, and storing my coins has not changed in the past 3 years (all environmental variables are the same, down to the positioning of the cabinets and the type of lightbulbs in the space housing my glass showcase).
However... I'm noticing that several new additions to my collection are rapidly toning while stored as above.
Here are the coins I am having issues with:
- Great Canadian Locomotives Set - Heavy Toning, all sides
- Star Trek Enterprise - Heavy Toning, looks gold
- Our Home & Native Land Proof Dollar - Starting to turn gold
- Apple Blossoms, Celebration of Spring - Reverse is toning on "Canada 2018"
- Little Creatures - Monarch Caterpillar - Reverse is toning, obverse is also toning, but only around rim
This is the first time I've ever had "mass-toning" effects on RCM
coins. Would it be possible to exchange these coins? I would like to keep all within my collection.
XXXXRCM REPLY #1
Apologies for the delay, due to the timeframe of receiving certain coins it was more difficult to produce RMA's.
Attached is a label for exchanges for the Caterpillar and Apple Blossom.
StarTrek coin is too old to action RMA's on it.
Proof Dollar is also too old to action RMA's on it.
For the Locomotive set, you would need to return the metal holder for it as well, then I can exchange only the coins available which is RS 20 and GE ES44AC.
What are your thoughts?MY REPLY #1
Thanks for your help here!
How would you recommend handling future defective items from the RCM
In all honesty, I've drastically cut back on my purchases since I've noticed two things with RCM
1) Toning issues on new releases
2) Dramatic declines on the secondary market
I am concerned that the RCM
will not warranty possible defects after a given span of time (1 year, as an example). While I realize that post-shipment storage and treatment may be questionable with some individuals, I assure you that I am not storing your coins in any inappropriate fashion.
I have nearly $XX,XXX of RCM
products in my collection (purchased from the RCM
and from dealers), and a lack of assurance against possible defects really concerns me. Is there anything we can do to overcome this? What happens if I continue to see toning defects down the line?
Somewhat related, I was in a Shoppers Drug Mart in Cambridge, ON this weekend, and I saw a few coins with the "exact" same symptoms that I experienced. These coins were stored a bit differently than mine (in a lit case, with the clamshells open). Additionally, there are several mentions of this issue on the coin forms. It looks like this problem extends beyond my personal experiences. Do you know if a change in manufacturing processes is causing this effect? Is it the problem possibly caused by defective plastic flips? Could the packaging be affecting the coins?
Is there any way for the RCM
to warranty problems like this? Please let me know, as this will be a large factor in how I continue to collect / what I continue to collect from the RCM
XXXXRCM REPLY #2
Communicating with our quality engineer, could you clarify in detail the toning issue?
Is it a yellow-ish mark?MY REPLY #2a
I will forward photos when I return home. The entire surface of the coins has turned gold... they almost look gold plated. In most cases, this toning has occurred on "both" the reverse and the "obverse" sides. This toning has occurred in situations where the clamshell cases were closed, and where they were open. There is no light source in my storage cabinet, and the cabinet is located away from windows and furnace ducts.
It's a strange situation... it almost looks like the coins were plated and/or dunked in some form of solution before shipping (which has since discolored).
XXXXMY REPLY #2b - Sent photos described above
Here are a couple of shots of two of the coins. As mentioned previously, the coins almost look gold / gold-plated. I've never seen anything like this before.
There's a lot of talk about similar issues in the coin forums (example: http://goccf.com/t/319521)
Let me know how you make out here - I'm unsure of what to do moving forward. if there is a chance that we'll see more situations like this (with no warranty), I'm likely to be a bit gun-shy with purchases from the RCM
Also. I just received my Mosaic Series -Cougar coin, and there is a large smudge / fingerprint right below "DG Regina". Would it be possible to exchange this coin?
[NOTE: I included the exact photos I posted earlier in the forms with this message]RCM REPLY #3
After discussing with our quality department, I will share the feedback in regards to the toning issue. From the quality and system, it was explained that the RCM applies a protective coating on our coins - this is to protect the gold and silver coins from tarnishing.
[italics added for emphasis]
The occurrence of this toning is however not common. Certain environmental circumstances could contribute to a toning issue where the coating will turn into a bronze color over time.
I was briefed that the chances of this toning issue is more likely to occur in situations where the coins are exposed to to direct/indirect UV exposure from light sources or also in hot/humid temperatures.
However, the majority of coins does not exhibit these properties and often is random from coin to coin that may have the same coating applied.
Feedback such as this is an important integrated part and appreciate you informing about this. As part of our continuous improvement culture at the Mint, we continue to evaluate all coating and manufacturing options to produce excellent coins that can be preserved in great condition for many years under normal storage conditions.
If you wish to rework the coins it could be a possibility to do this, but it is risky due to the handling needed that could damage the coins in other ways and is impossible for any coin with paint since the lacquer is below the paint and stripping it off would also remove some of the paint.
Unfortunately, at this time the RCM
cannot guarantee against toning of coins in the future based on a variety of variables associated with transport and long-term storage of the coins. You do however have your one-year guarantee for money back on any product defects.
1) It appears that some people guessed correctly, the RCM
"is" applying a protective coating to their coins, and this is what is causing the discoloration.
2) There is a one-year return policy on defective coins, after which, it appears us collectors are out-of-luck with defective merchandise.
3) There may be a chance for "re-working" coins with this issue... interesting.
4) I'm wondering if some of the "exposure" described by the RCM
in our e-mails could be caused by shipping through Canada Post? They deliver in non-airconditioned units, and leave parcels in outdoor mailboxes. These don't sound like "ideal" conditions, based on my RCM
5) My personal apprehensions about future RCM
purchases really haven't been addressed (incidental toning, secondary market depreciation). This leaves me wondering how I should best enjoy this hobby moving forward. I'm at a bit of a loss here, as I don't really want to feel "losses" on future purchases.