No Verdicare? NO PROBLEM!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    There seems to be a Verdicare shortage, or so I've heard. Verdicare is a chemical used to treat verdigris, which tends to be a rock-hard, dark green substance that collects on the surface of the coin. Although verdigris is usually inert and won't cause too much further damage, it does look pretty ugly.

    From @tenbobbit I received two Postumus coins that were severely affected by verdigris. Knowing that lye seems to be a miracle solution, I tossed the coins into a haphazardly-mixed lye solution for about 6 hours and the results were magical.

    Billon/silver washed Pax reverse:

    Billon/silver washed Oriens reverse:

    As you can see, the lye treatment all but eliminated all traces of tche verdigris, for the most part. There is still a little left on the body of Oriens and the face of Postumus on the Pax coin, but overall, I think this is a 100% improvement.

    PROS: removes 95-99% of verdigris from surface
    can reveal previously-hidden silvering
    seems to brighten up silvering significantly

    CONS: softens out some details (see the NS in ORIENS, and the sharpness of the POSTVMVS legends)

    Overall, I think this is a great result.

    DISCLAIMER: only subject to coins that are either a) inexpensive or b) guinea pigs as you can, and will, ruin some coins with lye. Do not soak any of your 4-figure coins in lye, no matter what.
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  3. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..those cleaned up well..but acid will do that...:jawdrop:
  4. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I tried vinegar on a silver denarius and didn't really like the relatively porous surface it left; lye seems to leave coin surfaces relatively safe
  5. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    I think lye has sodium hydroxide, so it should be alkaline instead.
    Still, not a gentle treatment! But I can't argue with the results if they look good.
    ominus1 and hotwheelsearl like this.
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I've ruined a ton of coins with overzealous lye... but when it works, it works GREAT
    The Eidolon likes this.
  7. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    You and lye man... I'm a bit scared. I've seen a lot of stuff about people disolving bodies in lye. I'm affraid to ask what your other hobbies are :p
    Bayern, svessien, Justin Lee and 2 others like this.
  8. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    What is a "haphazardly-mixed lye solution"?
  9. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    One where I don’t measure anything and don’t use protection...
  10. KIWITI

    KIWITI Well-Known Member

    I think you lost a great deal of details, I wouldn´t call it 100% improvement. :sorry:
  11. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    The way I see it, there coins were entirely unpresentable, now they at least look reasonable. I do agree that some details were lost, but the verdigris was quite savage and unrelenting.
    It's one of things where you can't really win...
    Stevearino likes this.
  12. KIWITI

    KIWITI Well-Known Member

    My main interest is Postumus and the gallo-roman empire, so let me tell you: don´t collect them. This "unpresentable" way is a very usual way they come up, I have many and I like them as they are. Different points of view, I guess.
    DonnaML and furryfrog02 like this.
  13. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I have a couple Postumus coins that look rather attractive. Probably my favorite coin in the entire collection is this one (which was not cleaned my me)
    Postumus RIC 89.jpeg
  14. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

    Not a bad result at all. All things considered I do not think you let that much detail. One of the things I usually do with coin that I have used a chemical cleaning process on is to let it soak in distilled water for a while to neutralize any chemical residue. Is this a practice that you use also?
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  15. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    For these I let them neutralize a bit in vinegar for a short while, and then soak in distilled water for several hours to make sure that I don’t end up with nasty surprises in the future...
    Stevearino and TJC like this.
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