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Old 03-20-2019, 05:19 PM
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teotwawki12 teotwawki12 is offline
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Default Did I just copper plate a buffalo nickel??

It's raining. Figured I'd take a day off from detecting the newly thawed ground so that I don't do five in a row and make my wife think I'm really nuts. So...with nothing better to do I decided to try cleaning some of my nickels. I'm not a coin collector, so "ruining" them doesn't bother me; I'm just trying to make them more visually appealing. I've screwed up some things in the past trying different methods of cleaning, so I tried one to start with. Used white vinegar and salt, which apparently when combined create hydrochloric acid (and added a wad of aluminum foil because I read about someone doing that somewhere). Didn't take any pictures to start out with, but they were "dug" nickels; some better than others. A couple were all sorts of bad with green concretions, some just orange or brown. I took them out and rinsed and wiped them every so often, and removed them when I was at good gray. Then I rubbed them on a green scrubbie to shine up the details. Was pretty pleased with the results.

I have another batch brewing now. After about an hour I took them out and got aggressive (scrubbed lightly with a brass brush) and put 'em back. I put in one of my three Shield nickels this time too. If that turns out nicely, I may do my last three nickels (which are photographed). I'm nervous about doing my stars n' rays nickel though, it's such a beauty as is....

Since I didn't take "before" photos, I looked through my other photos to locate some I took of them in the field (I didn't photo the crustier ones when I was hunting as they weren't photogenic....). Don't know which are which, but all the nickels you see in the countertop photos are all the Buffalo, V and Shield nickels I've found.
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Last edited by teotwawki12; 03-21-2019 at 10:00 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2019, 09:52 AM
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So....they turned out to my liking (I wanted them to look more like nickels...). The photos don't really do them justice and you have to remember some were reaaally crusty to start out with. I lost one somewhere along the way, so I'm down to 15 (They are shinier than the picture indicates)

Strange thing. I put a wheat penny in the second batch for a short time to see what would happen. It was just getting dull so I took it out. But....it seems I somehow started copper plating the nickels??? Some of the nickels in the second row show a bit of the copper, which I tried to scrub off with a green pad. I left that 1919 as-is just for fun. If you see it in real life it looks almost identical to a brand new copper penny... odd.
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Last edited by teotwawki12; 03-21-2019 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:08 PM
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Forgot I had one more nickel...in the acid she goes! Three-center before and after
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:44 AM
Pete e Pete e is offline
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Apparently the discolouration is caused by using salt and vinegar as the electrolyte...I've not tried it, but apparently using either washing soda or baking powder doesn't cause discolouration of cooper coins like the salt/vinegar does..

An alternative way is just let your coin sit in either red (tomato) or brown sauce over night..

I remember doing this asa kid and it brings coins up very shiny but removes all traces of a patina ect so should not be used on anything that might be rare or collectable ect..
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:45 PM
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If you tumble clad coins with copper coins, no matter what chemicals or abrasives it will color the clad coins, you should never mix clad and copper while cleaning.

Those did turn out pretty nice btw


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