I recently found out the bags I was storing my coins in have pvc in them. They haven't shown any signs of damage as of yet (been about 2 months or so.) My question is when I take them out, will a quick dip in acetone neutralize them, or do I need to do something else or nothing at all. I would really hate in years time to go back and see all my coins ruined. I plan on passing down to my kids later on. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've ordered a whole lot of 2x2's and hard tubes to replace the bags.. Thank you Group
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PVC damage on coins is the result of improperly storing coins in soft plastic flips or other plastic coin holders that contain PVC. It reacts with the metal creating a slightly acidic residue. Copper coins are most vulnerable to PVC damage, followed by silver, and then gold and platinum.
PVC damage appears as greenish, milky, or grey streaks or haze. in really bad cases, it will appear as a blobs of green. It has a distinctive "plastic" odor which can range from subtle to strong.
If the PVC residue on the surface of the coin is removed soon enough, the coin may escape with minimal damage that is not visible to the naked eye. If the green PVC residue is left on the coin for a long time, it will start eating into the surface of the coin. When the green PVC residue is removed, it will reveal the extent of the damage. In extreme cases, this will leave a series of microscopic pits and indentations that cannot be repaired. Copper coins and coins that contain copper in their alloy are the most susceptible to PVC damage.
Here's some instructions found online, please be AWARE THAT ANY CLEANING OR TREATMENT OF COINS, ESPECIALLY WHEN DONE WRONG, CAN SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER ITS VALUE, I'm Not telling you to clean or treat them,this is at your discretion. That being said, the damage done by pvc can in the future, especially given that you plan on passing your collection along to your kids, will also significantly lower its value, even more so than the treatment, and it'll eventually cause permanent damage that isn't pleasing to the naked eye.
Put on latex gloves and eye protection. Make sure you have good ventilation, and avoid using the kitchen or any area where an open flame is present. Acetone is a powerful chemical that is extremely flammable. Although acetone doesn't burn the skin (it is a key ingredient in some nail polish removers,) you should avoid unnecessary contact. Pour a very small amount of acetone into the container. (Don't use plastic because acetone will melt it.) You only need about 1/4 to 1/2 ounce if you use a small drinking glass, or tiny jar. You need only enough to cover the coin by about 1/4 inch. Gently place the coin with PVC residue into the dish, and swirl the acetone around for about 30 seconds. If both sides of the coin are affected, turn it over and swirl the other side. Remove the coin and let it air dry. If the PVC residue is still present, continue with Step 5. If the coin is clean, proceed to your next coin, and when finished dispose of the acetone by pouring it into a resealable jar. Never pour acetone down a drain, or let more than a very small amount evaporate. Acetone is considered hazardous and must be handled appropriately. If the coin still needs further cleaning after swirling (and in my experience, most do), take a cotton swab (such as a Q-Tip) and dip it into the acetone. (Don't use cotton swabs with plastic sticks!) Then, using a firm and steady hand, roll the swab across the coin's surface on the PVC-infected areas, taking care not to use any sort of rubbing or abrasive maneuver. If the coin has a lot of PVC residue, you should replace the swab every few "rolls." Keep rolling, using new swabs as needed, until the coin appears clean, and then swirl it again to finish. Tips:
Never rub the coin with the cotton swab. Use only rolling motions. The slightest abrasion might cause hairlines to the coin's surface. Sometimes PVC residue can be stubborn and will not respond to rolling.
Try soaking the coin in a sealed jar of acetone for 24 hours before attempting the rolling maneuver again. If rolling still fails, try more intensive, higher-pressure "dabbing" (but don't "scrub!") If the PVC residue still doesn't respond (in other words, if the swab isn't picking up anything at all,) your coin may not be cleanable (or maybe it's not PVC residue that you see on the coin.) You could try sending it to NCS for expert conservation.
It's reccomended that you clean the coins that smell like obv even if you cannot see it yet.
Yes - definitely acetone. And it does not have to be expensive. As long as the container says pure acetone you will be fine - fingernail polish remover is fine as long as its 100% acetone with no fragrance or coloring added.
Walmart sells the following for around 2.00 a bottle and its in the health and beauty section:
Thank y'all. I actually did the PVC burn test on my bags and I didn't get a green flame. It was just a red normal flame. Is this test accurate? I heated a needle, and pushed it through the bag, collecting some plastic on it. Let it cool, then heated it again and flame was normal, not green. Should I be ok and not have to do acetone bath. I have 2x2 holders on the way I bought online anyways. Just trying to avoid the bath. 1500 is a lot doing one by one lol
Verdi-Care was made for removing verdigris not PVC residue. It is a active chemical that reacts with metal corrosion products (specifically copper corrosion) it may remove PVC residue but that's not what it was designed for. I would use Verdi-Care for verdigris and acetone for PVC residue.
If the flame test didn't show green you are probably OK.
First, I have easily done this many over the years and have them in 2X2s with no problems.
Second: The cited website, while informative, is typical of what we see nowadays with the concept of liability driving the listing.
While people would be downright stupid to drink acetone, the typical medical treatment for a patient having drunk this "hazardous" material is to simply let the patient's body take care of it by natural means. There is no medicine/antidote (not one needed), and the patient comes out fine.
Our bodies make small amounts of acetone and you also eat it when you eat grapes.
Gloves an absolute necessity? If so I wonder if the multi-millions of people soaking their nails in beauty salons for decades miraculously all had immunity to this chemical? I have never heard of the horrible death by acetone exposure from soaking nails news story yet. It will dry dry out your skin locally and might sting in a cut.
Nail polish remover is typically acetone with perfumes and coloring. Little girls have nail parties all the time with an open bottle in s bedroom and have no adverse affects. Common sense is all that is needed. Don't pour the entire jar in a closet, go in, close the door, and sit there inhaling the fumes and you will likely be OK. I typically do keep mine capped for not only the smell, but it evaporates quickly.
Third: It does not take a 30 second soak on both sides. I have seen on this forum people saying as little as 10 seconds is enough -- total. Although sometimes removing excessive tape residue/glue etc. may take more time - like overnight.
4th: Copper coins soaked in acetone - while exposed to direct sunlight - can develop a pinkish tone. This is information from this forum I have read before. I have never experienced it as I am not in direct sunlight when using acetone.
5th: Anything that removes surface metal from a coin is considered "cleaning," and devalues the coin. Acetone cannot do this - of course don't rub the coin.
6th: I have deliberately left a coin in acetone for 2+ months with no adverse affects just to see if what I was reading on the forum was factual.
7Th: Don't let the acetone evaporate with the coin soaking in it. For some reason it seems to bond the junk it lifted to the coin and acetone will not remove it again.
8th: If I had as many as you do, I would be tempted to get a jar with a lid, put a bunch of coins in the jar, cover them with acetone, and let them soak overnight or so. I have done up to 10-15 coins at a time in a babyfood jar, put them in 2X2s, and they are still OK. How much acetone to cove them with? Just remember you are diluting the acetone with an incredibly small amount of junk off of each coin, but it can add up. Use enough you think it might be overkill.
Something like 1500 I would be tempted to put a bunch in mason jar half filled with enough acetone, cap it, let it sit overnight or more, and remove one at a time to put in 2X2s.
As we know, only 100% pure Acetone and Verdi-Care is safe, as long as you do it correctly. I would go to Walmart, since they have all the stuff your need for the job. I would buy latex gloves (as long as you're not allergic to it) and protective safety glasses (optional if you want to be extra safe).
I was wondering if somebody can copy and paste BadThad's reply about using Acetone?
Ok, very good information, thank you all. This is a great group of people that takes time out of y'alls day to try and help people. I really appreciate all the knowledge I have gained since I've joined. It makes this hobby all the more enjoyable and I can't thank y'all enough
Quote: Whenever you have residue and want to try to conserve a coin, you should follow the solvent polarity ladder. Randomly trying different solvents is not systematic, it is problematic. You'll never figure out exactly what kind of residue you have and whether or not you'll be able to remove it by darting around. The goal is conservation and if you're not careful you'll cross-over into the evil world of cleaning.
Here's an except from my upcoming book on verdigris....but it applies here too. I also have an in-depth look at olive oil that should make for interesting reading.
Quote: THE FIRST STEPS OF CONSERVATION
ALWAYS be aware that sometimes organic residues can be green and mistaken for verdigris. Just because a coin surface contaminate is green doesn't necessarily mean it is verdigris. Coins can be exposed to anything and everything during their existence. That green spot could be a very old piece of gum. For this reason it is recommended to first try what I call the solvent POLARITY LADDER shown below:
Wannabe Geek Note: Polar means a chemical has a negative charge on one end and a positive charge on the other end.
Very Important Note: Only use glass containers with a tight fitting lid for soaking coins.
TABLE 3: The coin solvent Polarity Ladder.
SOLVENT POLARITY Deionized or Distilled Water Polar Acetone Less polar than water Xylene or Hexane Non-polar
STEP 1: WATER
Water will remove many polar surface contaminants. On the Polarity Ladder we start with the absolutely safest coin solvent in the world. As long as soak times are kept reasonable, probably less than 7 days, distilled water will not damage a copper coin. When water soaking, be sure to change out the water at frequent intervals. The more frequent the water changes, the better. Remember, the water is dissolving unwanted contaminants so it becomes contaminated. Each time you change it you're throwing away the bad stuff. Always use distilled or deionized water for soaking. Unpurified water or tap water contains contaminants that may deposit on the coin defeating the conservation attempt.
STEP 2: ACETONE
Acetone chemically, OC(CH3)2 , is a very polar, organic, volatile solvent. High grade acetone can be purchased at most hardware stores. It can also be ordered over the internet in a higher grade like ACS (American Chemical Society) but at a much higher cost. It will remove many organic materials from the coin surface.
Warnings: Do not soak in directly sunlight and store your acetone away from sun. UV light can degrade acetone and produce some chemicals that might be hazardous to your coin. Never allow the acetone to evaporate while the coin is soaking or everything that was dissolved will simply be redeposited on the surface. Use high quality acetone only! DO NOT USE NAIL POLISH REMOVER! Acetone will dissolve plastics and styrofoam so only use a glass container with a tight sealing lid when soaking in acetone. Acetone is flammable; keep open flames away from it. Be sure to read the label and MSDS so you understand the hazards of working with this organic solvent.
A good test to perform before using acetone on a coin is to place some in a glass dish and allow it to evaporate. Inspect the bottom of the dish once it's gone and make sure there's no residue, haziness or sticky film. Any acetone that fails this test is impure and should not be used on a coin.
STEP 3: XYLENE
Xylene is what we call a non-polar solvent and it's completely safe on copper. It's important to use a non-polar solvent because it's the only thing that will dissolve some organic residue. If the surface debris is non-polar, chances are that xylene will be able to dissolve it. Remember "like dissolves like"! Do not over-soak in xylene or you may affect the patina, it can lighten a brown patina with enough time.
That is the process of stepping through various coin safe solvents before attempting conservation. If the green is removed, then it was most likely organic (carbon containing) in nature.
I'm adding if applying to a potential high dollar coin, stop and think twice. Then stop and think twice again. A professional conservation approach may be a better solution. If one wishes to proceed start with a clean vessel. Some soaps or detergents can leave residue in or on a container surface. The residue can redeposit to other surfaces. If doing multiple soaks, recommend a cleaned vessel for each attempt.
May not hurt to submerge in or rinse with fresh distilled water after each attempt before drying. Try not to let the solvents evaporate dry on their own.
Use a clean soft cloth or towel and lightly pat or dab dry. Never rub!
This is how I would approach a coin that had potential value. Cruddy or most circulated coins is another story. They generally require less fuss. Thanks, Doug.
Second opinions are always recommended. Rookies thoughts! Two sides to every coin. The edge makes three. Side Note: Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't.
Experiment on junk coins till you get the desired results. Never doctor a variety coin. You could stand to loose a lot more on them if you mess them up. Face value coins you don't loose on. But a variety coin could reduce the coin into a cull coin and end up with a 90% loss.