Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Southernman189, Sep 17, 2021.
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When talking about coins the word dip or dipping has a very specific and limited meaning, it refers to using a commercial coin dip, all of which contain an acid.
When talking about using distilled water, acetone, or xylene, rinsing would be the proper term to use.
As for your basic question, will acetone or xylene remove varnish from a coin ? Yes, they will. But since there are several different kinds of varnish with each being made of different things, some can be removed with acetone while others will require using xylene to remove them. And no, there's no way to determine which to use except by trial and error. First use one and if that works fine, but if it doesn't then use the other.
But as desertgem said, there's no guarantee that what's on the coin is varnish at all, it could easily be almost anything else. So acetone or xylene may or may not remove it if it is something else.
Yes, what you're describing could very easily happen. The reason it could happen is because the varnish (or coating) would have been stopping toning from occurring in the covered areas. But all the while allowing toning to occur in the uncovered areas. And since neither acetone nor xylene will remove toning, once the the varnish or coating is removed it will reveal untoned metal that will be a different color than the metal that is toned because it was not covered. And that will result in pretty much the look you're describing - the coin will look to be spotted with different colors.
Many decades ago varnish and lacquer were used by many collectors in an effort to protect, primarily copper coins because copper is so reactive and tones so easily but some also used it on other coins as well, coins from toning. They thought it was a great idea at first and it seemed to work. But they failed to take the long term effects into account. With time, the varnish changed colors and became ugly, and some would flake off here and there. Or, any contact with other surfaces could and would wear the varnish off, again making it look ugly. And so eventually they learned from their mistake and stopped using the process. But every now and then coins with varnish and or lacquer on them still show up, and questions just like yours are asked.
It could probably be removed with pure acetone if it's laquer and pure acetone should not damage the coin itself. Probably an hour soak, then a quick rinse in clean acetone to wash off any remaining dissolved laquer.
I do believe it's seen some wear and I'd just suggest maybe carrying it as a pocket piece just for a little bit get some hand oil into the coating and put some life back into it from some light handling.. maybe flake off a little more and see what the color is under those areas before going further, but don't rush it and if the flaking off of the coating is making things worse then just stop.
Theres a slight possibility It's just really old mineral oil or olive oil, layered on over and over, I don't think so but that possibility exists, and it's just built up into almost a plastic coating over the years. If this is the case the color underneath won't be too much different as it would of likely turned color before the treatments were applied.
Really nice piece. I'd just take my time on it. Laquer or varnish or just coated in old dried oil, take your time and see how it goes, and then determine what to do. Any of these options aren't reactive and doing nothing won't hurt it either, it's just not pretty.
Trying to correct it before you're sure what it is and what's underneath could make it even worse, not necessarily damaged, but just less eye appealing.
It gets worst with age though.
some advice. Many knowledgeable collectors there.
@1865King Very good point.
I never said that. Personally, I'd remove it because things will only get worse. But you needed to know what you'd end up with if you did which is why I explained what I did.
One other thing that may help is to use a toothpick. Again no rubbing. Just press on a thick spot in the coating to see if the bath made it soft. If you see color change to the solution or the coating is turning soft, stay with that solution for another bath or two.
I know that some folks use olive oil but I never went that direction. Never had a lesson on using it.
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