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Old 08-22-2022, 08:40 PM
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Default Adventures in Cleaning Two Silver Dollars!

Yesterday, I wrote about a trip to a mid-century dump, during which I found an old melted purse which contained a 1901 "V" Nickel and a 1904 Morgan Dollar. Not far away, buried in with the trash, I found a 1926 Peace Dollar. They were obviously pretty corroded and I imagine they were exposed to a fire.
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:43 PM
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Now, if you are a real coin guy or gal, this might not be something you want to read as I continue. This is not a tutorial. I have a history of really going overboard cleaning things. But these dollars are not key dates, the look quite rough, and most importantly.....they are mine!

This was what they looked like after simply using a toothbrush, water, and dish soap. (Except the nickel, which I gave a good rub with a green Scotch pad..)
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:46 PM
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Today, after receiving some suggestions, I decided to start with Acetone (which I gather shouldn't harm the metal and should be relatively gentle). Went to Menards, bought a can for six bucks, and gave 'em a bath.

After a half hour, there was no change at all. No change in the color of the liquid. Maybe it would work if I was patient, but I didn't care to leave them in overnight. So I decided to try something else.
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:49 PM
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I decide the Peace Dollar, as the more corroded of the two, was going into the electrolysis bath....
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:51 PM
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You're getting there. Since they were in rough shape I wouldn't be concerned with hurting them. Using baking soda and water slurry then rubbing them wouldn't hurt.

Steve

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Old 08-22-2022, 08:52 PM
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While the peace dollar cooked, I decided to try the foil/baking soda/boiling water gentler process on the Morgan.
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by stetam View post
You're getting there. Since they were in rough shape I wouldn't be concerned with hurting them. Using baking soda and water slurry then rubbing them wouldn't hurt.

Steve
Oh, we will get there! Stand by....

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Old 08-22-2022, 08:54 PM
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I went back to the electrolysis tank and pulled that one out after about a half hour. Definitely showing progress! So back she went, figured I check again in another half hour....
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:56 PM
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And after a bit, checked on the Morgan in the baking soda/foil/water. Absolutely no reaction going on. I believe I read somewhere that this only works on the black tarnish, and I think I'd agree. Aborted this one for something else.
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:59 PM
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Getting a little more aggressive, it was time for toothpaste and thumbs. Gave it a while and made a little progress, but not a ton.

So I got even more aggressive and made baking soda paste and rubbed her real good with my thumbs. More progress on the high points, but still a long way to go...
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Old 08-22-2022, 09:05 PM
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In the meantime, I went back to the electrolysis tub and realized that it had shut off. No bubbling. Thing was still plugged in and it's a manual charger, so I'm not sure what is going on there. It had only been cooking for another ten minutes or so. I unwrapped the wire from the coin and noticed something strange....wait... Did I just electroplate the ****ing thing??? I realized that I had been using copper wires attached to the clips so I don't have to submerge them...works great with iron.

The "copper plating" seems to follow the areas that had the worst corrosion, but I've a sneaking suspicion I was electroplating my dollar. Glad the charger died when it did I suppose...

At that point I decided it was time for baking soda paste and a nice plastic bristled brush... so I scrubbed...and scrubbed some more....
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Old 08-22-2022, 09:10 PM
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And this is where I've stopped tonight. They ain't perfect, but they are certainly cleaner. I don't really have an issue with them showing a little of their history (as girls from the dump, they were never going to be perfect).

The only other steps up would be the dreaded green Scotch pad and a dremel polish Maybe one of these days I'll do that...
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2022, 09:11 PM
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Considering what you started with, they came out great!

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Old 08-22-2022, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SeabeeRon View post
Considering what you started with, they came out great!
Thank you. I am certainly not going to complain. That purse was one of the most surprising things I have ever found

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Old 08-23-2022, 04:40 AM
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What a difference. Love them!

Steve

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Old 08-23-2022, 08:54 AM
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They look great T. Monumental effort, well done. Do you think tumbling them would have been too harsh ? Maybe just a quick 30 minutes to break down the outer layer of crud. Oh well its done now and as I said they look great. Mark

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  #17  
Old 08-23-2022, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by stetam View post
What a difference. Love them!

Steve
Originally Posted by markinswpa View post
They look great T. Monumental effort, well done. Do you think tumbling them would have been too harsh ? Maybe just a quick 30 minutes to break down the outer layer of crud. Oh well its done now and as I said they look great. Mark
Thanks fellas

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  #18  
Old 08-24-2022, 12:02 AM
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I liked them dirty, but they sure cleaned up nicely too (so far). Not sure what I would have done! Definitly crazy cool finds, congrats again!

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  #19  
Old 08-25-2022, 09:09 PM
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Great play-by-play on the clean up, teotw. I agree, they really turned out pretty nice, especially considering the starting point!

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  #20  
Old 09-21-2022, 12:35 PM
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Great job! I'm sure I'd have done something similar before putting them in my found coin book. I'd put photos and a history note with them.
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