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  #1  
Old 06-26-2011, 11:49 PM
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1960DPenny 1960DPenny is offline
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Default Harbor Freight Rock Tumbler -- Results (w/photos)

I finally got the Harbor Freight Rock tumbler people have been talking about.

I, of course, wasted no time in plugging it in and throwing in some of my beat up clad coins.

So far . . . I am rather impressed. For $38.00 (think it was on sale), the tumbler does an excellent job at bringing old coins back to life.

For example, I started with four pennies in rather mediocre condition.

The first picture below is a "Before Picture". As you can see, none of the coins are in horrible shape -- but none really sparkle or shine either. (I added a rather pristine coin in the middle to show how a "good" coin looks).

Well, I ran the four pennies in the tumbler for about 75 minutes (kind of surprised how little time was required) and the four pennies came out in a radically different form. (See Picture 2# below).

As you can see, the pennies "cleaned up" quite nicely and where before you had a hard time seeing any detail, including dates, now the pennies are much more clearer and easy to read.

The downside -- of course -- is that the coins are much more "grainy" in appearance with hundreds of little dings and scratches in the coins. This is -- naturally -- the byproduct of the tumbling process. On any coins of value, I imagine this process (even if it ultimately made the coin look better) would greatly strip the coin of much of its value.

Still, for truly junk coins (i.e., clad), this process is really impressive.

More tests and pics in the future as I play around with my new toy.
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  #2  
Old 06-27-2011, 12:09 AM
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wow, bid difference

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Old 06-27-2011, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for the post - everybody has different standards, but the "before" coins look good enough to me. What did you use for abrasive?

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Old 06-27-2011, 10:37 AM
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Still experimenting with abrasives. For these I used rather large quarter-size stones.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 1960DPenny View post
Still experimenting with abrasives. For these I used rather large quarter-size stones.
You will damage your coins. Consider small white aquarium gravel. It will remove the crud without doing damage.

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Old 06-27-2011, 11:49 AM
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Looks like it was a good buy!
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:24 PM
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Tumblers work magic on dirty clad. Don't tumble those penny's too long with other clad or you'll get purple nickels.

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Old 06-27-2011, 12:42 PM
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I hope that 84 up top only had one ear hehehe

I'd definitely go with the smaller gravel. They look pretty beat up.

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Old 06-27-2011, 02:09 PM
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Crushed pecan shells work also......(finely crushed)

Dusty

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Old 06-27-2011, 02:11 PM
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Nice! I love my HF 3lb tumbler!

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Old 06-27-2011, 03:18 PM
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Yep, those look like coins that have been through a tumbler.

G.
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:20 PM
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I think that is a good way to make a high value coin worthless

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Old 06-27-2011, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by yomero View post
I think that is a good way to make a high value coin worthless
Hence my warning -- not even sure if I would use it on semi-worthless coins ex. Wheats)
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:46 AM
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I think that is a good way to make a high value coin worthless
Originally Posted by 1960DPenny View post
Hence my warning -- not even sure if I would use it on semi-worthless coins ex. Wheats)
I most often use my spaghetti sauce jar and dishwasher powder method on my clad coinage that I find. I could care less about the dimes quarters and nickels coming out pink because I mixed them with pennies. The vinegar and salt will cause the same thing to happen if you mixed the pennies with clad dimes, etc. When I dump coinage it is in my bank coin counter and it wouldn't know if the coins were mauve, fuchsia, day glow orange, or electric blue colored. Since I'm not going to carry coins around with me and hand them over the counter when I make a purchase, I don't care if they are polka dotted. As soon as I get home if I have coins in my pocket they go into jar and get dumped. The next day if I get change - it is the same thing.

I have used a tumbler before on sizable amounts of wheat pennies to clean I have dug up. I did this so that I could sell them to a coin dealer as bulk. Anything from 1940 and later is worth 2.7 cents. Dug up or otherwise. These were the years when the mint came close to minting billions of wheat pennies every year. If I find a key date in the 1909-1939 range, it won't be cleaned up other than soap and water. My opinion is people make too much of wheat pennies. If they are a dug coin they are almost worthless except for the copper. I seriously don't think a person would get much for a 31-S, 09-S VDB, or even a 22 no D if it was a dug coin. And you won't find too many "dug coins" on EBay. Unless the person interested in buying just wants it to fill a hole in a book, most people want pleasing looking coins and most old copper doesn't come out of the ground looking very nice after being buried 40-80 years.

Some folks speculate that wheat penny values will sky rocket if the government decides to stop minting them. Maybe that will be the case - but why would that occur when from 1940 and onward there were billions of them minted. Heck some folks have 55 gallon drums of them and they can't unload them except for bulk. I know someone that has culled a dozen 5 gallon paint buckets of wheats. He did it of the possibilty of them being worth more. He still has them and doesn't know how todump them other than bulk That's why people are selling these so-called unsearched penny rolls on EBay with Mercs and other coins showing on the ends. Right, I was born on a Friday, but not last Friday. I may be older, and semi-retired, but I know when something smells. They salted the roll so they can dump them and maybe make some money. It's always on the end. Isn't that interesting. There can't be thousands and thousands of unserached penny rolls with Mercs, Injuns, 3 cent nickels, and Civil Wars tokens in the rolls just laying around. And that is about the number of roll auctions out there on EBay - thousands of those salted rolls. Heck a person can open the end of a shotgun roll, throw a Merc on the end, and use a manual crimper. Even a machine crimper doesn't cost thousands of dollars.

If it isn't a key date wheatie, I say clean it, tumble it, or use whatever method one wants.

Yep, call me cynical.

G.
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