How To Clean Coins & Jewelry with Electrolysis - A Detailed Tutorial, page 25

Checking Clad Coin's Well-Preserved Surface for Any Effects of Electrolysis

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Despite the high voltage/amperage settings, the coin does not seem to incur any damage, even if I look at the coin's surface using a magnifying glass.

Two Areas in Focus on Coin Surface

Two Areas in Focus on Clad Quarter Surface

If it was not for many microscopic scratches, the surface looks flawless.

Coin's Surface of Area 1 Up Close

Clad Quarter's Surface of Area 1 Up Close

The coin's surface in the second area appears the same: no ugly pitting.

Coin's Surface of Area 2 Up Close

Coin's Surface of Area 2 Up Close

8. Conclusion

Electrolysis is capable to remove anything including coin's patina off the coin's metal surface. That is why not any coin should be subjected to this "aggressive" method of cleaning. While gold coins do not need electrolytic cleaning, and silver coins respond well to "zapping", the dug, badly corroded coins that are made of copper-base alloys do not regain their decent appearance after electrolysis. If a copper coin had suffered irreversible damage by corrosion, removing the resulting layer of verdigris or "bronze disease" encrustation off will only reveal what is left of the coin, and in most cases, that has a very dreadful appearance.

If the copper, bronze or brass coin has reasonably good true patina and is aesthetically pleasing, leave it "as is." The ancient coins should not even be considered for the electrolytic treatment, no matter how hard they are to clean. Theoretically such coins can be cleaned at reasonably low voltage/amperage levels, but the process may take a long while to achieve satisfactory results. This approach requires lots of patience, close attention and competence.

The electrolysis should not be used as a "short cut" that can potentially destroy a valuable coin. Even the 18th-19th century coins will eventually become rare. Any old coin is a piece of history. Electrolysis, if not done right, can ruin the pieces of history that can never be replaced. If one does not have a substantial experience and skills in electrolytic cleaning of the copper-alloyed coins, one should use this method only for cleaning dug modern coins that have well-preserved surfaces.

American Eagle in Coin Design

Happy Electrolytic Coin Cleaning!

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