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Dannemois

Cleaning Medals

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Khaki

I have to agree with WilliamRev, about court mounting, although they look ok in a frame as part of a display, I prefer them to be swing mounted (did I just invent a new medal term??, but essentially I am happier to believe that they exist as they were worn by the recipient, especially if the trio/pair is on the old style silver bar mounting. As to conserving them, (I don't like the word polish with medals) the foregoing advice about minimal cleaning seems the best, I never replace ribbons even if they are frayed, I just display them differently.

khaki

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Sepoy

The problem with cleaning medals is that it can damage them.

Old Soldiers, like my Gt Gt Grandfather, bulled their medals to death using horribly abrasive materials like brick dust! As a result, one of my prized possessions is his Army LSGC (Victorian) which is now basically a named silver disk with very little design remaining.

I personally, do not clean medals that pass through my hands and if anyone asks my opinion I say "Don't clean them". I have seen medals after they have been cleaned (badly scratched) by wadding cleaners (ie duraglit) and I have seen 1914-15 Stars and Victory Medals silver plated by someone using old silver dip!

The next problem, if cleaned, is how to keep them clean, because they will simply tarnish again. In reallity, they need to go into an air tight frame or similar, but then you have the problem of displaying them out of bright light in a safe location. Previously used techniques such as lacquering medals can also result in discolouring.

The other problem about cleaning mounted groups is keeping the polish off the medal ribbons. Just have a look about at a Remembrance Parade with the Veterans who have lost their button sticks!

Sepoy

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robins2

May I tag on to / hijack this thread looking for advice in a specific case. I only have a few medals - family ones then odd Gordon Highlander singles,pairs,trios when I see a 4th Bn man or just stumble across an unloved set somewhere.

I recently bought a rather battered pair including this BWM which shows a different sort of oxidation to others I have. Whilst they are mostly a smooth blackish tarnish this one appears more coppery more like a tarnished old 2p piece than a silver medal.

It is named to a Gordon so I suspect it is silver under there somewhere.

attachicon.gifbwm1.jpg attachicon.gifbwm2.jpg

I have read through this thread and several others in the forum but In this particular case would the experts recommend cleaning? I am primarily concerned with preserving the medal and preventing further damage. If none is likely I am happy to leave alone. It will eventually be displayed but for the near future it will be stored while I am assembling the components for the display (may take a while!)

Thanks in advance,

Chris

looks like some one has applied a finish (varnish or something similar?) and the finish has discolored

regards

Bob R.

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robins2

I have to agree with WilliamRev, about court mounting, although they look ok in a frame as part of a display, I prefer them to be swing mounted (did I just invent a new medal term??, but essentially I am happier to believe that they exist as they were worn by the recipient, especially if the trio/pair is on the old style silver bar mounting. As to conserving them, (I don't like the word polish with medals) the foregoing advice about minimal cleaning seems the best, I never replace ribbons even if they are frayed, I just display them differently.

khaki

some time ago a friend ask me to court mount his dad;s WW11 medals, I did so and when presented to the dad (I will not repeat the expletive words used) he said Quote" I like them swing mounted, they add to the sounds when marching

Bob R.

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mcassell

Silver dips usually consist of a solution of thiourea - hence the sulphurous odour - acidified with phosphoric acid. Some years back I tested the effects of silver dip on medals (re-named) using scanning electron microscopy. I was surprised at how much pitting resulted probably because the dip dissolved silver sulphide on the surface. So I ceased using silver dips for cleaning medals. Another problem is that the pure silver surface of the cleaned medal is readily tarnished, usually leading to an unpleasant yellowish patina that eventually would require re-cleaning. Many woods, cardboards, glues and fabrics used in mounting medals emit hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide, contributing to further tarnishing, again requiring re-cleaning. My opinion is that the original tarnishing (largely silver sulphide) protects the medal and should be retained. If you are going to dip the medals, make sure you mount them with woods like basswood (lime), archival board and glues that do not contain sulphides.

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green_acorn

This is the methodology recommended by the Australian War Memorial at https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/conservation/medals/:

Conservation: medals
  • Storing your medals

    Storing your medals correctly is the easiest and most effective way of preserving them.

    Museums keep their artefacts in stable, carefully regulated conditions all year round. Temperature and humidity changes are minimized, but may fluctuate gradually between 18 - 24°C and between 45 - 55%RH. Light levels are kept low to prevent localised overheating and fading.

    At home the best we can do is to keep medals - indeed, all precious objecst - clean and dry, and away from extremes of temperature, humidity and light. Damp conditions can cause the metal of medals to corrode, and the fabric to rot. High temperatures and a very dry environment make fabric brittle and weak.

    Medals are best stored in boxes made of hoop pine plywood or acid-free cardboard. Ordinary cardboard, and other woods (including woods often used to make cabinets for coins and medals, such as oak, mahogany, chipboard and ordinary plywood) are acidic, and can harm metals and fabrics. Before use, wooden boxes can be completely coated with three coats of polyurethane resin (from a hardware store), then left to dry thoroughly so that no odour remains. Please take appropriate safety precautions when working with paints or solvents.

    Wrap the medal in acid-free tissue paper or well-washed fabric, preferably undyed. Soft cotton and linen fabric such as sheets, handkerchiefs or teatowels are suitable, but other fabrics such as velvet should not be used because some contain acidic dyes, which can cause the metal to corrode. Woollen felts should also be avoided, because the sulphur in the wool can cause metals to tarnish.

    Acid-free tissue paper and card as well as boxes made of acid-free cardboard are available from specialist suppliers of library or conservation materials.

    Handle the medal as little as possible, as acid from your fingers can harm it. We recommend wearing soft cotton gloves (readily available and inexpensive) when handling medals or any precious article.

    Cleaning medals

    You may need to clean or even polish your medal before storing it.

    However, we don't recommend polishing unless absolutely necessary because the repeated abrasion of polishing will damage the sharpness of the medal’s design. And polishing will quickly remove the gilded layer from gold-plated medals (for example, the Victory medal). Also, some polishes contain silicones which stay on the surface, making the application of a protective coating difficult and later cleaning more drastic than usual.

    Note that when cleaning medals you should wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. Some of the chemicals are harmful if they touch the skin or are inhaled. Do not smoke when working with paints or solvents. Work out what you need and assemble everything before you start work. Allow enough time to work slowly and carefully, and to finish the job. For each stage of cleaning, first try the cleaning method on a small and inconspicuous area of the medal, for example part of the edge. If you are worried the treatment is harming the medal - stop.

    If rainbows appear on the medal, the lacquer is too thin or the room temperature is too low. Sometimes the lacquer will become cloudy during drying. This usually indicates the ambient air is too humid. Remove the lacquer with acetone and re-lacquer in more favourable conditions. Do not heat the lacquer or place front of a heater.

    Cleaning medal ribbons

    If you can not, or do not wish to remove the ribbon bar from the medal, you can clean it gently with a soft brush and vacuum cleaner. Attach a narrow piece of soft plastic tubing to the smallest nozzle of your vacuum cleaner. Cover the nozzle with a piece of open-weave gauze fabric - net curtain or gauze bandage is ideal. Set the cleaner to its lowest suction level and gently vacuum the ribbon, using a soft brush to loosen ingrained dirt.

    If the ribbon needs further cleaning, it can be dry-cleaned, but only if it can be detached from the medal. Do not wash it. Many of the dyes, especially the older silk dyes, run or "bleed" in water.

    Dry-cleaning can be carried out at home but you must take safety precautions. Wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area as some of the chemicals are harmful if they touch the skin or are inhaled. Do not smoke.

    Petroleum spirits, white spirits or methylated spirits are the only solvents that should be used for home dry-cleaning.

    The ribbon must be tested for colourfastness before dry-cleaning can begin. Place some blotting paper underneath the ribbon and gently roll a cotton bud with solvent across a very small area of a single colour of the ribbon. Immediately blot the ribbon with another piece of blotting paper. Repeat on all the colours.

    If any dye is visible on either sheet of blotting paper, do not clean the ribbon with that solvent. You can now try other solvents in the same way. If the dyes are not colourfast in any of the solvents, then dry-cleaning should only be attempted by a textile conservator or professional dry-cleaner.

    If the blotter shows no sign of dye, clean the ribbon using the technique described above, swabbing and blotting a small area at a time.

    Do not iron the ribbon. To flatten it, place it between two sheets of blotting paper that have been very slightly dampened with distilled or deionised water. Put some map weights - or two or three books - on top of the blotter for up to 30 minutes.

    If you wish to reattach the ribbon to the medal, stitch it carefully with cotton or silk thread. Do not use staples of sticky tape to hold ribbons together.

    Medal ribbons are vulnerable to light damage. Light can fade the dyes in a short time and make the fibres brittle, especially if they are silk. Ribbons are best stored in the dark. Interleave acid-free paper between the medal and ribbon to reduce the chance of the metal staining the ribbon.

    1. First, take the ribbon off the medal by cutting the stitching, not the ribbon.
    2. Degreasing the medal is the next step. This is done by dipping it in a small jar of acetone (available from your chemist or hardware store) and wiping it with a cotton bud. The acetone will remove most lacquers used to coat the medal. Using a soft child’s toothbrush moistened with water, work the brush gently in small circles to remove surface dirt. Work carefully, rinse frequently, and stop if the brush causes any scratching on the medal’ssurface.
    3. If you think it necessary to polish the medal, use Hagerty's or Goddard's silver foam for silver or plate. Ensure that the foam does not contain silicone. If foam is not available, use Silvo silver polish or even silver dip. As silver dip etches metals, use it only if foam or polish is not available. Follow the instructions on whichever product you use. Make sure you remove all traces of polish after you finish - old polish residues look unsightly and can cause corrosion. Then dip the medal in methylated spirits and wipe it dry with cotton buds. Do not use Brasso to polish copper and brass medals. Brasso is more abrasive than silver polishes, and will remove more metal and design details. The polish residues left from Brasso can be very difficult to remove.
    4. Laquer the medal to prevent future corrosion. Use Wattyl Incralac (available from Australian/NZ hardware stores). Hang the medal on a small loop of picture wire, and dip the medal gently into the Incralac for a few seconds. Pull the medal out of the Incralac and use the wire loop to hang the medal somewhere it cannot touch anything. Put some newspaper underneath the hanging medal to soak up any lacquer that drips off it. Use a tissue rolled into a point to wick off any drips at the bottom of the medal before the lacquer dries. Leave the medal untouched for 24 hours, after which the lacquer will be thoroughly dry.

Cheers,

Hendo

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green_acorn

swing mounting ... (did I just invent a new medal term??, ...

khaki

No,

"Swing Mount" is the term for medals as issued and/or mounted directly to a bar.

And must agree with you and WilliamRev, swing mounting looks better for small groups of two or three, but I understand why those with more court mount them.

Cheers,

Hendo

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robins2

as a matter of curiosity, does anyone know how the term Court Mounted come about?

regards

Bob R.

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Medaler

as a matter of curiosity, does anyone know how the term Court Mounted come about?

regards

Bob R.

Well, I don't know with 100% certainty, but I assume it relates to the origin of medals being mounted in this way when their wearers were in the presence of the Sovereign. The story goes that Queen Victoria is said not to have liked the sound of medals clanking together in her presence, resulting in the concept of Court Mounting being born. ie, to avoid upsetting the famously un-amused "widow of Windsor", medals were to be worn mounted in that style at court. Stitching them down restricts their movement and therefore reduces their "clankability"

Doubtless a real expert will be along shortly to tidy that explanation up, but I believe that to be the gist of it.

Cheers,

Mike

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mcassell

This is the methodology recommended by the Australian War Memorial at https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/conservation/medals/:

Conservation: medals
  • Storing your medals

    Storing your medals correctly is the easiest and most effective way of preserving them.

    Museums keep their artefacts in stable, carefully regulated conditions all year round. Temperature and humidity changes are minimized, but may fluctuate gradually between 18 - 24°C and between 45 - 55%RH. Light levels are kept low to prevent localised overheating and fading.

    At home the best we can do is to keep medals - indeed, all precious objecst - clean and dry, and away from extremes of temperature, humidity and light. Damp conditions can cause the metal of medals to corrode, and the fabric to rot. High temperatures and a very dry environment make fabric brittle and weak.

    Medals are best stored in boxes made of hoop pine plywood or acid-free cardboard. Ordinary cardboard, and other woods (including woods often used to make cabinets for coins and medals, such as oak, mahogany, chipboard and ordinary plywood) are acidic, and can harm metals and fabrics. Before use, wooden boxes can be completely coated with three coats of polyurethane resin (from a hardware store), then left to dry thoroughly so that no odour remains. Please take appropriate safety precautions when working with paints or solvents.

    Wrap the medal in acid-free tissue paper or well-washed fabric, preferably undyed. Soft cotton and linen fabric such as sheets, handkerchiefs or teatowels are suitable, but other fabrics such as velvet should not be used because some contain acidic dyes, which can cause the metal to corrode. Woollen felts should also be avoided, because the sulphur in the wool can cause metals to tarnish.

    Acid-free tissue paper and card as well as boxes made of acid-free cardboard are available from specialist suppliers of library or conservation materials.

    Handle the medal as little as possible, as acid from your fingers can harm it. We recommend wearing soft cotton gloves (readily available and inexpensive) when handling medals or any precious article.

    Cleaning medals

    You may need to clean or even polish your medal before storing it.

    However, we don't recommend polishing unless absolutely necessary because the repeated abrasion of polishing will damage the sharpness of the medal’s design. And polishing will quickly remove the gilded layer from gold-plated medals (for example, the Victory medal). Also, some polishes contain silicones which stay on the surface, making the application of a protective coating difficult and later cleaning more drastic than usual.

    Note that when cleaning medals you should wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. Some of the chemicals are harmful if they touch the skin or are inhaled. Do not smoke when working with paints or solvents. Work out what you need and assemble everything before you start work. Allow enough time to work slowly and carefully, and to finish the job. For each stage of cleaning, first try the cleaning method on a small and inconspicuous area of the medal, for example part of the edge. If you are worried the treatment is harming the medal - stop.

    If rainbows appear on the medal, the lacquer is too thin or the room temperature is too low. Sometimes the lacquer will become cloudy during drying. This usually indicates the ambient air is too humid. Remove the lacquer with acetone and re-lacquer in more favourable conditions. Do not heat the lacquer or place front of a heater.

    Cleaning medal ribbons

    If you can not, or do not wish to remove the ribbon bar from the medal, you can clean it gently with a soft brush and vacuum cleaner. Attach a narrow piece of soft plastic tubing to the smallest nozzle of your vacuum cleaner. Cover the nozzle with a piece of open-weave gauze fabric - net curtain or gauze bandage is ideal. Set the cleaner to its lowest suction level and gently vacuum the ribbon, using a soft brush to loosen ingrained dirt.

    If the ribbon needs further cleaning, it can be dry-cleaned, but only if it can be detached from the medal. Do not wash it. Many of the dyes, especially the older silk dyes, run or "bleed" in water.

    Dry-cleaning can be carried out at home but you must take safety precautions. Wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area as some of the chemicals are harmful if they touch the skin or are inhaled. Do not smoke.

    Petroleum spirits, white spirits or methylated spirits are the only solvents that should be used for home dry-cleaning.

    The ribbon must be tested for colourfastness before dry-cleaning can begin. Place some blotting paper underneath the ribbon and gently roll a cotton bud with solvent across a very small area of a single colour of the ribbon. Immediately blot the ribbon with another piece of blotting paper. Repeat on all the colours.

    If any dye is visible on either sheet of blotting paper, do not clean the ribbon with that solvent. You can now try other solvents in the same way. If the dyes are not colourfast in any of the solvents, then dry-cleaning should only be attempted by a textile conservator or professional dry-cleaner.

    If the blotter shows no sign of dye, clean the ribbon using the technique described above, swabbing and blotting a small area at a time.

    Do not iron the ribbon. To flatten it, place it between two sheets of blotting paper that have been very slightly dampened with distilled or deionised water. Put some map weights - or two or three books - on top of the blotter for up to 30 minutes.

    If you wish to reattach the ribbon to the medal, stitch it carefully with cotton or silk thread. Do not use staples of sticky tape to hold ribbons together.

    Medal ribbons are vulnerable to light damage. Light can fade the dyes in a short time and make the fibres brittle, especially if they are silk. Ribbons are best stored in the dark. Interleave acid-free paper between the medal and ribbon to reduce the chance of the metal staining the ribbon.

    1. First, take the ribbon off the medal by cutting the stitching, not the ribbon.
    2. Degreasing the medal is the next step. This is done by dipping it in a small jar of acetone (available from your chemist or hardware store) and wiping it with a cotton bud. The acetone will remove most lacquers used to coat the medal. Using a soft child’s toothbrush moistened with water, work the brush gently in small circles to remove surface dirt. Work carefully, rinse frequently, and stop if the brush causes any scratching on the medal’ssurface.
    3. If you think it necessary to polish the medal, use Hagerty's or Goddard's silver foam for silver or plate. Ensure that the foam does not contain silicone. If foam is not available, use Silvo silver polish or even silver dip. As silver dip etches metals, use it only if foam or polish is not available. Follow the instructions on whichever product you use. Make sure you remove all traces of polish after you finish - old polish residues look unsightly and can cause corrosion. Then dip the medal in methylated spirits and wipe it dry with cotton buds. Do not use Brasso to polish copper and brass medals. Brasso is more abrasive than silver polishes, and will remove more metal and design details. The polish residues left from Brasso can be very difficult to remove.
    4. Laquer the medal to prevent future corrosion. Use Wattyl Incralac (available from Australian/NZ hardware stores). Hang the medal on a small loop of picture wire, and dip the medal gently into the Incralac for a few seconds. Pull the medal out of the Incralac and use the wire loop to hang the medal somewhere it cannot touch anything. Put some newspaper underneath the hanging medal to soak up any lacquer that drips off it. Use a tissue rolled into a point to wick off any drips at the bottom of the medal before the lacquer dries. Leave the medal untouched for 24 hours, after which the lacquer will be thoroughly dry.

Cheers,

Hendo

  • That says it all! Thanks very much for this.

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robins2

Well, I don't know with 100% certainty, but I assume it relates to the origin of medals being mounted in this way when their wearers were in the presence of the Sovereign. The story goes that Queen Victoria is said not to have liked the sound of medals clanking together in her presence, resulting in the concept of Court Mounting being born. ie, to avoid upsetting the famously un-amused "widow of Windsor", medals were to be worn mounted in that style at court. Stitching them down restricts their movement and therefore reduces their "clankability"

Doubtless a real expert will be along shortly to tidy that explanation up, but I believe that to be the gist of it.

Cheers,

Mike

thanks for the info

Bob R.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Medaler and other friends of GWF,

I possess original groups: both swing- and court-mounted. Of the latter, two recipients were actually at Court, albeit indirectly.

These were Capt. J. L. Muir, attd 1 Horse and ADC to the Governor of Burma (Sir Harcourt Butler), 1919-27, and Lt.-Col. V. M. H. Cox, Indian Political Service, and the last Resident in Waziristan (1947).

There seems to have been a connection with representing the Crown, whether in Rangoon or Razmak, and the wearing of court-mounted medals. However, I have a group to Major D. S. Cook, a District Officer and Acting Resident, Nigeria Civil Service, which was swing-mounted!

On the other hand, the medals of the Rev. E. A. Evans, MA (a former Capt., 40th Pathans), Principal of Lawrence Royal Military School, Sanawar, 1933-41, were court-mounted: perhaps on the strength of the school title?

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Kimberley John Lindsay.

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yellow

Silver dips usually consist of a solution of thiourea - hence the sulphurous odour - acidified with phosphoric acid. Some years back I tested the effects of silver dip on medals (re-named) using scanning electron microscopy. I was surprised at how much pitting resulted probably because the dip dissolved silver sulphide on the surface. So I ceased using silver dips for cleaning medals. Another problem is that the pure silver surface of the cleaned medal is readily tarnished, usually leading to an unpleasant yellowish patina that eventually would require re-cleaning. Many woods, cardboards, glues and fabrics used in mounting medals emit hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide, contributing to further tarnishing, again requiring re-cleaning. My opinion is that the original tarnishing (largely silver sulphide) protects the medal and should be retained. If you are going to dip the medals, make sure you mount them with woods like basswood (lime), archival board and glues that do not contain sulphides.

Fascinating.

After purchasing a silver medal from someone who has contributed to this thread I inspected it thoroughly. It had obviously been cleaned with soap to remove surface grime, nicotine etc. This being correct. What I did however notice was that where the silver sulphide had been removed with gentle rubbing, there was in fact pitting. In the case of some metals, it is suggested by experts that oxide on the surface inhibits corrosion to them. In the case of silver, I have reached the opposite conclusion and that is it is probably wiser to remove the sulphide if you can clearly see it is doing damage to the surface of the medal.

The yellowish staining to which you refer is actually a residue of the silver dip. If your medals are in fact turning this yellowish colour then what you have done is not rinsed them in water to remove the chemical.

It is all down to personal preference, but in my opinion if you can clearly see a medal is being damaged or has previously been stored in difficult conditions then cleaning that medal will be its preservation. This is why the Royal Silver in Windsor is cleaned and not left to tarnish.

In the case of very rare medals, it is probably advisable not to clean them because a good patination, is hard to fake and thus justifies authenticity. In the case of this forum however, the most common medal will be the British War Medal and I doubt cleaning one of those will bring doubts into the mind of anyone who wishes to purchase it.

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Medaler

My own particular "pet hate" is the green verdigris that can sometimes be present on Stars, VM's and memorial plaques. I see this as nothing less than corrosion, and suspect that unless remedial action is taken, the process will accelerate over time and ultimately cause far more damage than cleaning.

The technique described earlier with WD40 seems to work a treat, but can require you to be quite brutal. The choice however seems to be one of either standing idly by whilst the pitting spreads and deepens, or is arrested. I see it as damage limitation.

On the plus side, if correctly cared for after cleaning, medals will stay good for years. I have owned some items for 40 years and, whilst many have never been cleaned, those that have were only done once. In many cases the patina that has developed since is almost certainly more even than if they had just been left - which is what gave me the incentive to clean them in the first place.

Each to their own I suppose, but always exercise caution. It perhaps pays to remember that we are merely the temporary custodians of these items, and that we should always "do our best" for their preservation to give future generations the opportunity to enjoy them as much as we do. All original British medals are precious, for being named makes them unique and therefore irreplacable.

In a sense, with so much information now widely available, we are the first generation to see the full picture of those who served, but how many of those wonderful stories would be uncovered if we collectors were not motivated by having a medal in our hands?

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QSAMIKE

I think that this topic has been brought up in every Military Collector's forum that I have ever seen and of course there are opinions that swing both ways.......

Personally I clean as a Sgt. Major would never let you go on parade with dirty medals or badges........ If possible reuse original ribbons if not save ribbons on medals information file .....

I do not dip as that can pit, no Brasso or Silvo to gritty and will scratch but have found a cleaner that does not use a grit but instead small pieces of fiberglass so it does not scratch and once cleaned can last a long time..... I have medals that were cleaned 10 years ago and they are still in great condition......

With regards to taking the green verdigris off badges I use ketchup and leave for 24 hours but would not use on medals.......

Again there are many many opinions.......

Mike

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Khaki

but have found a cleaner that does not use a grit but instead small pieces of fiberglass so it does not scratch and once cleaned can last a long time..... I have medals that were cleaned 10 years ago and they are still in great condition......

Mike

Any chance of a 'brand' name, I would love to have a cleaner that lasted 10 years or even one.

thanks

khaki

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QSAMIKE

Any chance of a 'brand' name, I would love to have a cleaner that lasted 10 years or even one.

thanks

khaki

Good Morning Khaki.......

The name of the polish in the UK is Peek....... The interesting thing is it has a Royal Warrant.......

Here is the website...... http://tripeek.com/main.html

On some of my mounted frames because of weight and possible breakage I use Plexiglas instead of glass..... If it gets scratched the Peek Polish can take out the scratch if polished carefully.....

For our US friends here is the same polish.....

https://www.flitz-polish.com

My suggestion is that you really read the usages and descriptions......

And before anyone asks..... No I Do Not Own or Have any Shares in the Company...... LOL

Mike

One of the Testimonials:.......

Richard Lewis, Managing Director, BJS Royal Silversmiths, Greenford, England.

"We are probably the leading manufacturing silversmiths in the UK.
We hold both a Royal Appointment from HM Queen Elizabeth II and ISO9001 and have made silver and gold gifts for most royal households in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, as well as, for several Presidents and heads of states around the World.
We use PEEK polish and find it the best of all the available polishes."

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Khaki

Excellent Mike, many thanks, I have heard of the brand before, I will get some ASAP.

khaki

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Medaler

"On some of my mounted frames because of weight and possible breakage I use Plexiglas instead of glass..... If it gets scratched the Peek Polish can take out the scratch if polished carefully....."

You can do the same with Brasso and T-Cut (which I think are basically the same thing packaged for a different audience). Plexiglass by-the-way is just a trade name for Acrylic.

Strange fact about Acrylic, if you saw a piece to the size you want, you can polish the cut edge with a blow torch.

I knew that year I spent in the plastics industry wouldn't be wasted !!

Cheers,

Mike

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Medaler,

I completely agree with your sentiments, and have had similar medallic experience (once cleaned, remain preserved for decades in the collection).

Of course, it depends on the situation, which sometimes demands cleaning, remounting, new ribbons - or at other times leaving everything completely as it is! As stated elsewhere on GWF, I often polish lightly only, especially when the medal group is mounted as worn by the late recipient.

However, I have recently acquired a mounted as worn group to an Indian Army officer turned Indian Political, who committed suicide in the same year as his 1935 Jubilee was awarded.The group seems to have been mounted in India (a second clasp to the IGS has been sewn to the first), and includes the 1935 Jubilee. It is speculative as to what exactly happened, but under the circumstances I will leave the slightly-toned medals and clasps (Afghanistan NWF 1919, Waziristan 1921-24; Iraq: 106/PRS.) as they are. Incidentally, the group was previously unknown, having been with an overseas collector, now long-deceased, for well over twenty years, and kept in a trunk.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Kimberley John Lindsay.

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Medaler

Dear Medaler,

I completely agree with your sentiments, and have had similar medallic experience (once cleaned, remain preserved for decades in the collection).

Of course, it depends on the situation, which sometimes demands cleaning, remounting, new ribbons - or at other times leaving everything completely as it is! As stated elsewhere on GWF, I often polish lightly only, especially when the medal group is mounted as worn by the late recipient.

However, I have recently acquired a mounted as worn group to an Indian Army officer turned Indian Political, who committed suicide in the same year as his 1935 Jubilee was awarded.The group seems to have been mounted in India (a second clasp to the IGS has been sewn to the first), and includes the 1935 Jubilee. It is speculative as to what exactly happened, but under the circumstances I will leave the slightly-toned medals and clasps (Afghanistan NWF 1919, Waziristan 1921-24; Iraq: 106/PRS.) as they are. Incidentally, the group was previously unknown, having been with an overseas collector, now long-deceased, for well over twenty years, and kept in a trunk.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Kimberley John Lindsay.

Hi Kim,

20 years in a trunk! - Maybe there is hope for all the "missing" singles I need to complete split groups after all! I know that looking is part of the fun, but it would be nice to find them on a more regular basis.

"Of course, it depends on the situation" - absolutely.

Warmest regards,

Mike

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Mike,

Very nice to hear from you.

Yes, perhaps the medal group languished even longer than twenty years in that trunk, at least according to the Provinence - and for that reason greatly treasured (Vice-Consul, Kashgar, etc.).

The chase aspect involved in collecting medals is exciting, and of course one also has an appreciation of certain clasps, naming styles or even gallantry awards (which were in practise, few and far between: only 500 MCs to AIF officers 1939-45, just to name one example). But, once secured, I find that the research soon becomes far more important, inasmuch as a sometimes highly dramatic story can emerge; oftentimes coupled with lucky finds of Images, which adds yet a new dimension. I have even discovered an action photograph of a recipient Fencing! In two other instances, I have uncovered - after considerable effort - photos of the recipients with their Medals Up. Occasionally, the miniatures are with the large groups, or just ribbon bars - but I have an instance of all three (an Indian Cavalry officer who died young, post-war).

Personally, I tend shy away from broken groups, the one exception being a 15 Star (LIEUT. E. P. YEATES, 1/12/PIONEERS.) and BWM (Capt.), which, however, came with a small convolute of documents. It transpired that Yeates had served under (the later notorious) Brig.-Gen. Dyer, in Sistan, Persia, 1915-16. He is briefly mentioned in the book written by Dyer, of the campaign. Yeates also wrote his own account, published in The History of the Bombay Pioneers. Yeates and Dyer were evacuated sick, together.

I have found two possible photos of Yeates, but unfortunately not confirmed...

Kindest regards.

Kim.

Kimberley John Lindsay.

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Medaler

Hi Kim,

I fear we are hijacking this cleaning thread somewhat, but where you say "I tend shy away from broken groups", I have a completely different philosophy. For my part, I shy away from officers and gallantry awards. That probably has much more to do with me starting life as a "one of type" campaign collector.

My first Great War collection is one of single BWM's awarded to a fatal casualty for every month of the war - all strictly British army, all western front, and all badged differently. If you want to see service and sacrifice, that just about sums it up for me, and that encapsulates the essence of the entire war for me. Since then, I have diversified somewhat into local casualties where I am only too pleased to pick up anything I can find!

I still add to the Victorian and post WW1 stuff as well. Like yourself however, the research is king. The pride of my WW1 collection? - I have to say that it is a broken trio to the first man to fall with the 1st Btn of the Sherwood Foresters. Then again, if you were to ask me on another day, you may well get a different answer! They are all special and unique, and they all have their own story to tell.

Warmest regards,

Mike

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mcassell

Fascinating.

After purchasing a silver medal from someone who has contributed to this thread I inspected it thoroughly. It had obviously been cleaned with soap to remove surface grime, nicotine etc. This being correct. What I did however notice was that where the silver sulphide had been removed with gentle rubbing, there was in fact pitting. In the case of some metals, it is suggested by experts that oxide on the surface inhibits corrosion to them. In the case of silver, I have reached the opposite conclusion and that is it is probably wiser to remove the sulphide if you can clearly see it is doing damage to the surface of the medal.

The yellowish staining to which you refer is actually a residue of the silver dip. If your medals are in fact turning this yellowish colour then what you have done is not rinsed them in water to remove the chemical.

It is all down to personal preference, but in my opinion if you can clearly see a medal is being damaged or has previously been stored in difficult conditions then cleaning that medal will be its preservation. This is why the Royal Silver in Windsor is cleaned and not left to tarnish.

In the case of very rare medals, it is probably advisable not to clean them because a good patination, is hard to fake and thus justifies authenticity. In the case of this forum however, the most common medal will be the British War Medal and I doubt cleaning one of those will bring doubts into the mind of anyone who wishes to purchase it.

I did experiment with the issue of cleaning. The part of the US I live in has very sulphurous coal - as well as a lot of pig manure so I suspected that may have been a factor. I took three BWMs, cleaned them in silver dip, and washed them. One I left in the open, one I stored in a plastic bag, and the other I kept in a wooden box (oak) lined with felt glued down with Elmer's paper glue. Within a month, the one in the box had a yellow patina while the other two were unaffected. So, what you store medals in can make a difference, as per this and other posts.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Mike,

Yes, I have well and truly hijacked this cleaning thread, but: no risk, no fun!

If you, or any other GWF aficionados, would like an in-depth briefing about my collection of circa thirty officers, my eMail address is

thelindsayhouse@web.de

The GWF insert photo is incidentally my grandfather, AIF Capt W. F. Lindsay, MC: 53rd Bn AIF Coy Cdr (later CMF Lt-Col MC, ED)...

Your collecting theme of monthly casualties is unusual, but at the same time admirable: the service and sacrifice message cannot fail to come across.

Personally, I dislike loose ends, which is why the medals sans Victory to Major E. P. Yeates are the exception - but it takes all kinds...

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Kimberley John Lindsay.

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