Standing Liberty Quarter in Acetone Experiment

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by MIGuy, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    After reading and discussing this issue a fair bit here and getting feedback from a conservation person at ICG who was kind enough to respond to my email, I decided to soak this 1926-D with gunk or residue or something on it to see if it improves or changes it in anyway. I've never done anything to any of my coins previously. Note that the ICG conservator said that while it would not render the coin cleaned, it might change the "skin" and original surfaces and make them less attractive. The conservator did not recommend it. I am doing this anyway as an experiment. I will soak it all day and then overnight and may rinse it again briefly after that. If anyone has input or advice, please share it. There is a little residual paint on the outside of the glass but I carefully cleaned and dried both glass objects and then rinsed them inside with acetone prior to starting the soak. I will remove and rinse in acetone tomorrow.

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  3. Oldhoopster

    Oldhoopster Member of the ANA since 1982

    24 hrs should be plenty of time to see of the residue is removed or at least starts to soften. If nothing happens by then, it's unlikely longer soaks have any effect. Make sure you keep the jar covered and away from hot areas or flames. If acetone doesn't work, xylene might.

    I believe the conservator was worried about the possibility that the surface under the residue may have been damaged by the gunk and he didn't want to be responsible if the coin ends up looking worse.
    MIGuy likes this.
  4. jb10000lakes

    jb10000lakes Active Member

    How are you sealing the container? Acetone is highly flammable and evaporative. You want a sealed lid to whatever you are putting it in.
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  5. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    Right, I have it covered tightly with a little curved glass bowl, I am monitoring to see if there's any noticeable evaporation, and it is by a window with a tiny crack in it, not near any electronics, lights or source of flames. Thanks Oldhoopster and Jb10000lakes!
    RonSanderson likes this.
  6. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    When I use Xylene, I wear a painter's mask, and I make sure the environment is well-ventilated. You want to store it in your garage, and that's where you want to use it, too, or outdoors. Understand, this is no nail polish remover, it's paint stripper. You breathe this stuff in it's going to make you punchy.

    Having said that, this coin is DOA, I'm sorry to say it. Xylene may change a little how it looks, as may acetone, but those aren't going to strip away that surface etching. I'm not trying to dash hopes. More like, been there, done that, and follow the directions on the can if you do use it...
    MIGuy likes this.
  7. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    I appreciate your input, yeah, the coin isn't ever going to be nice, I'm not harboring any illusions, that's why I'm conducting the experiment with it, just to see what happens for myself. ;) Now isn't xylene considered a "cleaner" by the TPGs?
  8. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Yes. But follow the instructions and warnings on the can. In the old days when we weren't as careful perhaps house painters would get brain damage from this. This stores in the garage, not under the bathroom sink. You don't inhale these vapors. You'll know what to do when you read the can. Good luck and just be extra careful.
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  9. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    Experiment was a.... nothingburger! I am amused to see the coin still looks pretty much exactly the same to my eye, after a 24 hour soak and nice rinse this morning - I even rubbed part of it (by the I B) gently with my finger between removing it wet from the acetone and the final rinse in acetone. End Result Picture: IMG_3994 (2).JPG
    juris klavins and capthank like this.
  10. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Comet & a brillo pad will shine it right up :cool::D
  11. RonSanderson

    RonSanderson Supporter! Supporter

    Different solvents remove different things. Don’t give up without trying all three of the commonly recommended soaks: Distilled water, acetone, and xylene. There are a number of threads on CoinTalk about this. You may want to search for some of them using “xylene”. Again, this is available in the paint department of hardware stores and big-box home improvement stores.

    Edit: @MIGuy
    I haven’t heard anyone try heating the distilled water, but chemical reactions occur more quickly at higher temperatures, so I can’t see that it would hurt anything.

    Most folks have just put the distilled water into a clean container and dropped the coin in for a while. Distilled water is regarded as fairly active - in the distilled state there aren’t any extraneous minerals buffering the active nature of the H and OH radicals, so when they have something they can react with, like some contaminants, the water can actively strip the crud off the metal surface.

    Some of the working chemists on the forum can tidy up this statement for you - my chemistry was over 50 years ago, now.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
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  12. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks Ron, I think those will be my next two experiments, now with distilled water do you boil it or just a room temperature soak?
  13. Mr. Flute

    Mr. Flute Well-Known Member

    MIGuy - Acetone will not affect the toning on a coin, which is your coin's surface condition. It will only remove debris from the coin.

    To remove toning, you have to use an Sodium Hydroxide based 'cleaner'.
    MIGuy likes this.
  14. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    It's a good looking coin, why would you want to clean it, just my opinion.
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  15. ffrickey

    ffrickey Junior Member

    I generally soak coins with crap on the surface in "universal nitro paint thinner" for 2 weeks. This doesn't always work wonders, but frequently helps and I have never observed it to do any damage at all to the coin.
  16. Bob Evancho

    Bob Evancho Well-Known Member

    Hi. I don't know the chemical composition of your contaminant and if it is rust. Have you thought of trying CLR from JELMAR? If you do soak it in CLR, let us all know how it turned out. The R part says it zaps stains, RUST from stucco, brick, porcelain, chrome and certain metals. Not sure what the certain metals are. Good luck.
    MIGuy likes this.
  17. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    Acetone and xylene vapors are very flammable, and can have neurological effects, so keep ventilation active when working in closed space and ask others to sniff the room occasionally as exposure reduces the human ability to detect it. Jim
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  18. 1865King

    1865King Well-Known Member

    This is a good coin to experiment with. You can learn a lot of what not to do as well as what to do. I played with a lot of cheap coins many years ago to get an idea on what it takes to remove dirt or junk off the surface. There are a few other chemicals you may want to try. I would try epoxy reducer or MEK. What every was put on the surface of the coin should come off it's just finding the right chemical to work with and allowing enough time for the chemical to react. Epoxy reducer and MEK are both aggressive chemicals when it comes to plastics so don't use either of these anywhere except on either a concrete surface or metal surface. DO NOT use these in your kitchen or bathroom or on any surface that you wouldn't want damaged. A minor spill on any synthetic or finished surface will have immediate damage done. I would recommend doing this in a cellar or garage on a piece of plywood. Use only a glass jar with a cover for soaking. As with any of the different chemicals people have suggested DO NOT do this anywhere children or pets may go.
    MIGuy likes this.
  19. Kurisu

    Kurisu Supporter! Supporter

    After less than 24 hours the acetone won't be having any further overnight is typically plenty.
    Xylene the kind from a paint store (or even more pure Xylenes which is what I use and must be ordered from a chemical supply company) is like acetone on steroids and wont effect toning either...except where the toning is coming from trapped moisture or biological matter.
    Both acetone and xylenes will completely remove moisture from the coin which is good!
    Similar to an opal...some of the toning color comes from atomic sized trapped moisture in the the surface, so you can notice a slight toning change when using either product.

    As mentioned above Xylene is real a brain scrambler (much more so than old model glue base which is Amyl Nitrate) so use in a well ventilated area!!! Your home will smell like model glue if you have to much of it evaporating!
    Both acetone and especially Xylene evaporate unbelievably if your jar isn't sealed maybe make a little mark on the side where it's filled to, because if it's going down at all it's likely to be gone by morning!!! And would redeposit gunk on your coin.

    If you end up having some unattractive toning left over that you want to remove I would recommend a product like E-Z-est, but diluted with distilled water. As it very quickly begins to effect the actual metal surface of the coin.
    I dilute it at least 10 to 1 with distilled water...give the coin a swish in it for literally just a few seconds...then I rinse the coin for at least 30 seconds under running water COMPLETELY remove all of the e-z-est (rotating it to get the edges too, wearing rubber gloves too, keeping my other hand underneath it just in case!)...then I re-swish the coin in pure distilled water so that there are no spots from impure water. I prefer to air dry it with canister air (holding it tight by the edge so as not to blow it away lol!) and then set it on something soft like a fresh towel (100% cotton only) to completely air dry.

    "Dipping" a coin for too long in pure E-Z-est is a quick way to create those blast white looking coins that a lot of us instantly recognize as having been dipped!
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  20. juris klavins

    juris klavins Well-Known Member

    I like to use a square of aluminum foil, folded over to fit, on top of the glass jar and secured by a tight rubber band - plastic jar lids and the rubber lining on metal caps tend to dissolve when exposed to acetone, contaminating the liquid.
    Keep the jar outside (back porch or steps) while soaking and removing the coins - good luck!
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  21. Edward D Shapiro

    Edward D Shapiro New Member

    I believe in preserving a coin as it is. If you wish to get a better example save up and hunt down a better example and then pay the price. The Standing liberty quarter is difficult to find in the better conditions. It is a highly sought after coin because of its artistic beauty. Better one extra fine or one BU full head than 500 finagled chemical treated examples.For silver bullion you can keep the lower conditioned examples. Just to find a readable date that is circulated is a challenge.
    eddiespin likes this.
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