Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by edteach, Sep 24, 2023.
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How is that? I know some say that it might not help with preventing/slowing BD but how does it actively make it 'much worse'?
@expat says it can help bring out subtle details.)
It smells pretty strongly when first applied, but the smell fades overnight. I will often blow on the coin with a hair dryer before application to both warm the coin and dry off any lingering moisture.
Here's what puzzles me about this. As I understand it the BD reaction needs three things to keep going - the chlorides, moisture, and oxygen. Deny one of those three prerequisites and it halts the process.
Rennaissance Wax claims to seal the surface and prevent contact with moisture. Which is what wax coatings typically do. Wouldn't this now deprive the BD access to moisture, and possibly O2 as well? Why wouldn't this halt the reaction?
Lately I've only used it for fragile/crumbly surfaces to shore them up & give more "structure."
As far as I can tell, once applied, it's still there >10-20 years later (the period when I used it). It looks "matte" after a few years but turns glossy again when rubbed with a cotton swab. Comes off very easily with acetone.
NOTE: If poorly applied it can end up as waxy buildup and/or get gross and crackly over time.
TOP IMAGE: Old cracked excessive wax on a silver Corinth Stater. BOTTOM: After removal, maybe a thin layer remaining, much more attractive (especially Athena).
Here's a thread here where you can see some before and after pictures. As shown, here, it can be useful for removing fake patina:
I haven't seen an example where it improves the coin better than using a dry soft toothbrush.
I'll go stand in the corner. Been an most difficult day.
Sorry to hear @green18 - best wishes.
Most kind, my friend.
In my previous employment I was called upon to do conservation on metals. I do not advise Renaissance Wax. Apart from sealing moisture against metal, it does very little to preserve coins. Museums did used to use it - but on furniture, not coins. The best way to conserve coins is very simple - keep them in a dry environment and take professional advice from a metals conservator if you spot issues!
The reason a lot of ancients collectors use it is precisiely because the British Museum use it for their copper/bronze coins with no adverse effects. They do not use liquid version from bottles though.
The baking soda part is not a good idea at all.
(Except as part of cleaning a coin that has stubborn encrustations, and even then you have to be careful. Too much or too long and the patina will be damaged.)
Aside from papers on the topic, the British Museum's online catalog lists many metal objects as having been treated by Renaissance Wax, including coins. I'll link a couple (the conservation report link mentioning Ren Wax, then the coin link for the "Related Object"):
Caligula Provincial Billon/Base Silver Tetradrachm: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_1842-0726-4
Bronze Renaissance Medal (1486): https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_G3-IP-3
Hunnic / Sassanid type Silver Drachm: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_1894-0506-201
There are countless more coins listed with similar treatments. (And figurines, swords, as well as stuff like furniture & marble busts, etc.)
That's not to say the general point doesn't stand. There are certainly those who argue against its use on bronze objects.
This paper argues against it:
Danal Moffett, 1996, "WAX COATINGS ON ETHNOGRAPHIC METAL OBJECTS: JUSTIFICATIONS FOR ALLOWING A TRADITION TO WANE" in Journal for the American Institute for Conservation.
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