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Question About Cleaning Coins

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Valued Member
United States
178 Posts
 Posted 06/21/2011  12:32 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add master6238 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Yes I know some of you just had a mild stroke reading the subject name. and I know "cleaning" coins is a big no no, so save your breath.... for now...

Now for my questions.

I had a morgan with some black spots on it. It was not PVC, it was just spots of black tarnish.
I have been wanting to get them off, but didnt want to destroy the poor thing. So after reading some things and watching a few videos I decided to use some baking soda and warm water. All I did was get my finger wet, and dip in some baking soda then rubbed on black spots. 80% of them are gone and the coin looks way better.
She still has all if not more "luster" than before. Looks almost as good as some of my BU morgans.
Now, keep in mind this is your average AU morgan... nothing special.

What do people clean their coins with that leaves the haze around edges? And why clean them with that if it makes them look so bad?

Edited by master6238
06/21/2011 12:41 am
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1784 Posts
 Posted 06/21/2011  01:02 am  Show Profile   Check Yokozuna's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Yokozuna to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You can't add luster to a coin. Baking Soda is abrasive so you may be seeing scratches and hairlines and thinking it's luster. Do you have any Before and After photos? Cleaning makes the coin look better to the eye but damaged to the collector.

Cleaning is bad unless you are a Professional *as in Professional Coin Cleaning service*. If you try to get the coin graded, it will be noted on the slab or "body bag" that it was improperly cleaned.

Sorry. I couldn't hold my breath.
"Shine, shine, a Roosevelt dime
All the way to Baltimore and running out of time" - Tom Waits 'Clap Hands'

Valued Member
United States
178 Posts
 Posted 06/21/2011  01:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add master6238 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
No it didnt add luster it just took off the black and and made the orignal luster easier to see
Here is a before, I'll get an after shot tomorrow for everyone. Also this coin will never be graded! I just couldnt stand looking at the spots anymore :)

And its ok Yokozuna, flame on if you must hehe

Edited by master6238
06/21/2011 01:46 am
Valued Member
United States
178 Posts
 Posted 06/21/2011  01:58 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add master6238 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Also I am a collector and have a some coins that I know have been cleand in the past, It is quite visable. My eye cant tell its been cleaned, but I will compare high res photos tomorrow. So I guess what I'm saying is I dont see any new scratches or hairlines. :)
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 Posted 06/21/2011  02:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's your coin, and you did due diligence before making a decision. Not to mention, it's too late to change your mind anyway.

Take it out under direct sunlight, and angle it a few different ways under a loupe. You'll see what you did to it, even if a photograph won't.
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 Posted 06/21/2011  03:18 am  Show Profile   Check Yokozuna's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Yokozuna to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry if you felt slighted as It was not my intention. It's just a fact of coin collecting. You even said it in the opening line of your post. You said that you knew that cleaning a coin was a big no no.

I was just agreeing with your statement as almost all of the collectors here will. Don't clean your coins. I would never attack or insult another member of CCF. My comments were aimed at act of cleaning coins.

I'll take a Morgan with spots over a cleaned one any day. If a coin has been cleaned improperly, it no longer interest me as a collector.

Once again, I didn't mean to say anything against you. I was just talking about the method you used to clean the coin. I'm truly worried that it may have caused damage. I'm going on my experiences and the knowledge that any coin I've ever seen cleaned with an abrasive has been damaged.
"Shine, shine, a Roosevelt dime
All the way to Baltimore and running out of time" - Tom Waits 'Clap Hands'

Edited by Yokozuna
06/21/2011 04:02 am
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United States
178 Posts
 Posted 06/21/2011  03:29 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add master6238 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not offended at all Yokozuna. But thank you for thinkin about my feelings hehe.. I know cleaning is a no no thats why I was surprised to not see any damage, thats why I posted. I'll get some good photos up tomorrow. The surface still has that BU "look" not sure what to call it... and for being "cleaned" she still does "cartwheels" :) Ok time for bed, photos in the morning!
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178 Posts
 Posted 06/21/2011  03:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add master6238 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I can show you what it DOES NOT look like




Thats one I got on ebay... and NO I didnt do that to it lol
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 Posted 06/21/2011  09:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SeatedNut to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There are many folks in the numismatic arena who do not know what "luster" is. Time to enlighten.

Luster is ... the undisturbed result of striking a coin under immense pressure. As metal flows between the dies the surface tends to "frost". In proof-like coins, due to the newness of the dies the frosting occurs mainly on the devices and the fields take on a mirror appearance. As the dies age the mirror fields begin to frost. Any friction on the frost after the minting process removes it forever (wear or cleaning). The test for luster is rotating the coin at angled lighting and observing the "cartwheel" effect. If the luster is gone or inhibited the reflection will not cartwheel. In previous threads we have discussed "dipping". Repeated dipping removes the frost that is luster ... it's a very thin layer.

Luster isn't ... a shiny surface.
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Australia
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 Posted 06/21/2011  10:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think the cartwheel effect is the result of radial flow of the metal from centre of the planchet to the edge. It is possible to have luster without radial flow, and as a result, there would be no cartwheel effect.

Is there anybody here in the CCF who can produce an electron micrograph (maybe from the Net), of a coin showing lustre? I think that could be quite informative. A picture is worth a thousand words.
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 Posted 06/21/2011  11:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is there anybody here in the CCF who can produce an electron micrograph (maybe from the Net), of a coin showing lustre?


Have a wander through this thread. Some of the work rmpsrpms is doing is of a resolution sufficient to show the "roughness" of surface responsible for cartwheel; my own experience tells me that dipping causes a noticeable degredation of this "roughness." Of course, this kind of resolution makes it impossible to view the whole surface of the coin at once, but the necessary detail is there.
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 Posted 06/21/2011  12:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add biokemist6 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Any type of mechanical rubbing with an abrasive will ALWAYS damage a coin.
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United States
178 Posts
 Posted 06/21/2011  5:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add master6238 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ok here is an after shot of that coin.. I tried to get it to show the luster. You can see it the best on the right and left of the photo, and spins all around when in the light. All around I am impressed, and didnt think it would have come out this good. And it still looks 10 times better than a few other coins I have that must have been dipped in something much stronger than the baking soda.





I know its hard to compare photos, but with my eye I cant see any damage caused by my cleaning.
So the next question, what kind of magnification do TPG's use? I'll see if I can get a closer look.

And once again this is not something I would do to every coin in my collection, Just this one with those nasty black spots.

So questions? comments? hate mail time?

One more thing. I do see a little haze around the leaves on it, but I looked at some photos I had taken a few weeks ago and I see it those too. So that wasnt me
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 Posted 06/21/2011  9:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add southsav to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That looks shiny to me, not luster.
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 Posted 06/21/2011  11:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add desertgem to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Here are some photos I took for a thread of mine on another forum. Maybe they would help

Here are 2 morgans, one on left is more lustrous than one on right



This is magnification of 100X using my microscope with LED light cloase at angle to get surface.



Notice the flow line peaks that give the cartwheel effect. After wear or repeated dipping, or strength of strike, dies newness, etc, these peaks wear easily and the cartwheel effect will become less and if there are no peaks, disappear.

Below is the same at 400X



And a final close up at 400X on the more lustrous one. Scratching or abrasives reduce the natural cartwheel effect and may leave it "shiny" but not the same as lustre.





Jim
Valued Member
United States
178 Posts
 Posted 06/22/2011  02:01 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add master6238 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow bravo Jim thoses are some really nice photos. Thats the first time I've seen a coin under such high magnification. Makes me want to go out and buy a microscope now... As if I really need to spend more money. Anyone need a roomate? Because when the wife finds out I just bought a microscope to spend more time looking at me coins I'm gonna get kicked out
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