Dipping Questions

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by YoloBagels, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. YoloBagels

    YoloBagels Well-Known Member

    Hello everyone,

    I have some basic questions about coin dipping. Just stuff I never learned.

    1. I have heard in certain places, mostly coin forums, that dipping copper coins is unacceptable and will ruin the coin. Is this true to any extent? Or maybe only for RB copper?

    2. Several times I have overheard my LCS dealer state that "cross-dipping" coins of different metals will mess them up. i.e. Dipping platinum coins in silver dip and vice versa. Is this true?

    Any answers/responses are appreciated, thanks.
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  3. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Dipping copper will turn the coin pink. It will re tone after time. But may never turn back to an acceptable color.
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  4. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

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  5. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Read the labels on what the dips are for. Silver is the most dipped and it's a cinch. Just follow the directions and don't over-dip it. So your answers to both are a yes.
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  6. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    If it's an itch you gotta scratch, I would use an inexpensive coin first.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    To a very large degree, yes it is true. But there is a caveat - it is only true for most people ! And no it doesn't make any difference whether it's RB or BN. Or RD for that matter.

    This is what I mean by the caveat - copper can be, and often is, dipped successfully. BUT - you absolutely have to KNOW what you are doing and exactly how to do it ! And the proof of this being true are the coins themselves - the sheer numbers of Red copper coins in existence - proves it beyond any and all doubt !

    Yes it is true that different coins require different types/kinds/brands - and the dilution, or lack of dilution - of dip if you wish to dip them and get the best results possible. And it's not just the metals that matter, (and yes metals do matter), the specific toning the coin has matters as well.

    In other words, there is a ton you need to know ! Extensive knowledge and experience are required for successful dipping. And even then, sometimes that is still not enough - because the coin may very well already been ruined by the toning, and or something that happened to the coin prior to the toning.

    To put that another way - dipping coins is ALWAYS a crap shoot !
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  8. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Buster, you can't leave us hanging. What's this method? I never for once even so much as imagined that's why I'm seeing this RD 1931-S. But now I have a theory that calls me to question whether the coin was simply that well-kept. So how about it? What is this method? An inquiring mind is going loony tunes right now not knowing.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Ask yourself a very simple question eddie - but first a few facts. 1 - copper is the most reactive metal there is that we made coins from - meaning it tones faster and easier than all other metals we used. 2 - more collectors than you can count tried for over a century to find any storage method they could that would keep copper from toning - they never had any success, and still haven't. 3 - even the TPGs will not guarantee color designations for copper because, just like everybody else, they're all too aware of what I have said above.

    So, given those facts how is it, what possible explanation is there, that could explain how so very many older copper coins there are that exist in original mint Red color - untoned in other words ?

    There's only 1 possible explanation - the coins are being successfully dipped.

    As for this -

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  10. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    Is it possible to tell the difference between a perfectly preserved cent vs. the best dipped example?
  11. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

  12. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    I would like to know also, if a member does state it is possible.
  13. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    I'm wondering if TPGs can tell the difference.
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  14. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    I have not witnessed that ability. I know a collector of red pieces...most know him. He would be the nearest person that would have the best opinion batting average, I think.

    Now that I think for a moment, I may not be fair, because Dixon and Pallatos are not to shabby, either.
  15. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    I thought that was the answer, i.e., no answer, lol. How could it be otherwise? But I'll say it, Doug, I'm still in awe of your understanding of the "big picture," I'll call it, and I'm talking specifically about these things you just rattled off, like they're second nature to you, about copper, to bear on my question. I understand, now. Knowledge .... share it. You filled that one out here. :)
  16. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Now I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but I think what you really mean is - can you see the difference ? - with see being the operative or key word.

    To answer that question, I would simply ask you to ask yourself a different question. Take any coin, if a coin is dipped correctly can you see the difference between it and a well preserved exampled ? The answer to that question of course is no - nobody can.

    That said, the answer to the question you asked, and the way you worded it - is yes !

    Your next question is going to be - how ? And the answer is very simple - by using deductive reasoning.

    Of course this requires that one understand a basic fact about coins. Namely that all coins, every single one, begins to tone the moment it is struck. This is entirely inevitable because it is the nature of metal. Once you know that, understand it, and accept it, the rest becomes easy for deductive reasoning tells you that if coin has no toning then 1 of 2 things must be true. The coin was dipped, or somehow, someway it was stored in a manner that prevented it from toning beyond the point capable of being noticeably seen.

    And of course you also have to realize that the odds of a coin, of a certain age, being stored in some way that prevented it from toning are astronomical ! Prior to modern day there simply was no storage method used by coin collectors that could prevent toning. Even today, we cannot stop toning completely. We can slow it down a lot with modern storage methods but we can't stop it. This is because the only thing necessary for any and every coin to tone is air - that's it, just air.

    That said, if by some accident of chance a coin was stored in a manner that prevented air from getting to the coin, or very, very, little air getting to the coin, then toning would be stopped or at least slowed down so much that toning was not noticeable to the eye.

    Today, we know that the only case where this happened in any numbers of consequence was with Morgan dollars. They are the only coins, older coins, that are known to have been found without noticeable toning because of their unique history. And they are the only coins with that history. Every coin expert there is will tell you that there are no other coin types found untoned, barring very, very few individual examples that somehow escaped toning by a freak of chance.

    Then you must also understand that coins have been being dipped to remove toning and or contaminants for over 200 years.

    All of this combined is why deductive reasoning provides us with answers. It is why it is said that 80% or more of all coins have been dipped. And the only reason the number is not a lot higher than 80% is because there are so many modern coins ! With modern being defined as 50 years or less old.

    So OK, with everything I have said, and I have admitted that there are a few exceptions to the rule when it comes to toning. Then why does that not apply to copper coins ? Why can't they be exceptions ? And the answer is simple, because copper is much, much more reactive than other coinage metals. AND - because the number of so called original mint red coins - numbers in the millions ! And there is absolutely no way that chance could account for millions of coins not toning ! It might account for a few here and there, but not millions of them !
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  17. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    What he said is correct.

    But he left something out - unless you know how to dip them correctly. And once one understands everything I said above it becomes all too obvious that quite a few people do know how to do it correctly.
  18. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Tie in blast white was what sold, you dip out all the tarnish, you don’t demand a premium for it. Back in the day, spotting dipped at the LCS was the challenge, as we knew the dealers were doing it, and we wanted the real deal for our money. There’s just another reason we know all these Morgans today are dipped jobs. At some point, they were, because that’s what sold. The supply just followed the demand.
  19. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    Thanks for a detail explanation. I have just few comments...

    In the early '60s, my Father stored a number of freshly minted rolls by wrapping the rolls (just the coins) in thin aluminum foil sheets and storing them in an aluminum-lined boxes. Aluminum acts as an "intercept shield". I cracked a few rolls and they looked like the day they were wrapped...50 years later. This wasn't Aluminum foil you find in a kitchen. These were 6"x 6" sheets that seem designed for something other than cooking. Granted, not many folks did this, but it works great!

    Personally, I've heard horror stories about dipping copper coins. Dipping too long is a commonly reported issue as I recall. I've never even had an itch to try. I've only used VerdiCare on copper coins...as a last resort to halt the spread of verdigris.

    Silver is a whole different discussion. I've had great success removing unattractive toning/tarnish from Silver coins without dipping...and undetectable by the TPGs.

    This brings me to the real reason for asking if dipping copper coins is detectable by the TPGs....

    If the TPGs can tell if a copper coin has been dipped and, as you say, many coins have been dipped, then buying raw (dipped) coins would present a significant risk. If, on the other hand, dipping in not detectable by the TPGs, then I would think folks should be encouraged to practice on cheap coins and develop this skill.

    How say you?
  20. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    For some reason Doug seems to have decided at some point that everything old and red was dipped, he's wrong. I just opened a bag of cents half a decade old last week and guess what they were all red. Same with old bags of Morgans that get opened that are blast white. Anyone that goes to either extreme that they're all natural or all been dipped is just wrong and trying to convince people they are right.

    On older coins you're generally talking about a minuscule percentage >1% and often times >.10% or even >.01 percent. It's like anything else some coins tone beautifully, some ugly, some not at all. The real truth is that many are natural and many have been dipped.

    In the end all that really matters is the end result, if you can't tell it was it really doesn't matter anyways.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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  21. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Good points.
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