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Acetone: OK For All Kinds Of Coins? For How Long?

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Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 12/05/2022  1:16 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add twslisa to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Are there any types of coins that shouldn't get an acetone bath? I've been doing it already with the usual silver, nickel, bronze and copper business strike coins.

The ones I'm specifically wondering about are the steel cents and the proof and mint set coins. There are some that look like they need to come out of their holders and wrappers because one or more coins is getting discolored.

If there are any other types you wouldn't put in acetone, let me know!

Also, I've seen some people say they've left coins in acetone up to 24 hours to release some particularly sticky gunk. Is a longer bath in acetone safe? I have a couple coins from pocket change that look to be in pretty great condition, but they have some kind of goo on them that loosened up a bit with a shorter bath, but it won't come off without rubbing—I'd like to give them a longer soak if it wouldn't damage the coins.

Thanks!!

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 Posted 12/05/2022  1:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ijn1944 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Others will weigh-in here, but I've never had an issue using acetone for long soaks--some upwards of several days to eradicate PVC film on copper and clad coins.
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 Posted 12/05/2022  2:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chipjones to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As I am old I forgot and left some soak for a week and had no problems.
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 Posted 12/05/2022  2:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add keith12 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think I would put a "coloured" coin in acetone. Nerer tried
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 Posted 12/05/2022  2:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumismaticsFTW to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is my experience, maybe it is different for other series.

I don't put nice Clad coins in acetone, it messes up the natural luster.

I only know this because I did this to a couple Ike's and they got all wonky..

*Looks around for Jbuck*
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 Posted 12/05/2022  2:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I don't put nice Clad coins in acetone, it messes up the natural luster.
I have never, ever had this problem.


Quote:
I only know this because I did this to a couple Ike's and they got all wonky..

Maybe because of something else that was on the coin?

Quote:
*Looks around for Jbuck*


I could not count the number of circulation finds I have rinsed, never an ill effect as far as messing with luster.

Now, I have had more that one coin where the now dissolved organic material had either protected or ruined the surface area it occupied. That area is noticeably different than the rest of the coin. For example, it is shiny new where the rest of the coin had toned, or it is corroded where the rest of the coin is normal.
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 Posted 12/05/2022  5:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add twslisa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
How about the steel cents and proofs? Will their surfaces be damaged by acetone?
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 Posted 12/05/2022  5:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
How about the steel cents and proofs? Will their surfaces be damaged by acetone?
Acetone is an organic solvent and should never directly affect the metal surfaces (indirect effect would be by revealing contrasting surface conditions as I said above).

The one exception is red copper, and it is very rare as it requires long exposure to a strong light source (like leaving red cents in sealed jar outside in the sun). The light will break down the acetone into acetic acid, which would be able to affect metal surfaces.
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 Posted 12/05/2022  5:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Tunnioc to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, acetone will remove the zinc plating on steel cents.
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 Posted 12/05/2022  5:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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Yes, acetone will remove the zinc plating on steel cents.
I do not believe this is true. However, given how volatile the zinc coating is, I would not be surprised if any rinse (acetone, water, xylene) expedited the shedding of zinc that is already separating from a steel cent.
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 Posted 12/05/2022  5:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wallyb to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for all the info here JBuck!
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 Posted 12/05/2022  5:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumismaticsFTW to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Jbuck-I'll PM you and show you what I mean with pics later when I get home.
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 Posted 12/05/2022  6:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Are there any types of coins that shouldn't get an acetone bath?

Yes , chocolate coins .
Tony

For Butch & Jim rest in peace .
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 Posted 12/05/2022  8:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumisEd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Any coin with any amount of polymer in it should NEVER be exposed to acetone, e.g. the German Climate Series coins.
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 Posted 12/06/2022  09:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Thanks for all the info here JBuck!
No problem!


Quote:
Jbuck-I'll PM you and show you what I mean with pics later when I get home.
Got it! I will reply shortly.


Quote:
Yes , chocolate coins .



Quote:
Any coin with any amount of polymer in it should NEVER be exposed to acetone, e.g. the German Climate Series coins.
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 Posted 12/06/2022  10:04 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I put almost all raw coins in acetone as a preventive for getting finger prints.

My last raw coin had a sticky substance on the reverse, it went into acetone for about 24 hours. The acetone turned greenish yellow and the reverse lightened a little. That is always the issue with using any solvent. It can remove something that can show a lighter coin or hide corrosion.
Edited by hfjacinto
12/06/2022 10:04 am
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