Indian River County
Silver Coin Cleaning
The following is a method of cleaning silver
coins that is probably the best way possible to preserve the value of your
find. Use at your own risk!! It is only being provided to you on
this page for informational purposes. (That's the disclaimer)
Neither the author of this page or the author of the following procedure
makes any guarantees or will be held responsible for any damage done by
using this procedure.
There are many different methods
of electrolysis. This is the one that works for me. I even use this method
on Spanish reales that I find. I think it is one of the safest IF
USED CORRECTLY! This method of electrolysis actually expels most
of the salt & minerals absorbed by the silver. You'll need the following
Make a small hole in each side of the bucket,
about a half inch down. Place the wire through and bend each side
so it won't come out. Then you bend the knife blade, butter dish
or whatever you have (it has to be stainless steel!!) so it will be down
near the bottom of the bucket. A bit of it has to stick up enough
so you can hook a wire clamp to it. I drilled a hole in each end
of my clothes pin and fashioned a piece of wire into a hook at the top,
and on the bottom (with the same piece of wire) bent it so when a coin
is clipped in it's grasp it touches the wire. Attach the alligator clips to the wire ends. Now you can put some water in the bucket
so that when the cloths pins are hung on the wire and the coins are clamped
in the jaws the coin just gets covered by the water.
A plastic bucket--I use a one gallon bucket
Some very heavy stainless steel wire (about
the same thickness as a coat hanger)
Some sort of plate or even a knife blade
(I used a butter dish at first)
A few (maybe three) plastic clothes pins.
A power supply--I use an AC adaptor with
120 volt AC 60 Hz 2watt input and 9volt 100milliamp output. (Too much output
power will cook your coins quickly, and only in one spot.)
Two alligator clips
If I remember right, the negative terminal
gets attached to the butter dish or what ever you have in the bottom, and
the positive goes on the top wire. You must look for the small bubbles
coming off of the coin. That will signal the right connection.
Don't let the wire touch the water, only the stainless steel. If
the dirt and residue start to cling onto the butter dish then you are ok,
if not, switch wires. I use two teaspoons of soda ash in the water
to speed up the process. The soda ash is the same kind as used for
spas to increase the pH. NOT BAKING SODA! This is a fairly slow process. Don't try to rush it! But don't leave it
unattended for long!
You will need to turn the coin every few minutes. You should take
the coin out and rub it between your fingers with a paste of baking soda
and water. If you have a coin that you think could be worth a lot
of money, HAVE IT CLEANED BY A PROFESSIONAL, don't take any chances!
Good luck! I hope I explained it clearly enough. If not, send
me e-mail with your questions.
Larry Beatson, Past President
Treasure Coast Archeological Society
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