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Alan24

Cleaning Silver Medals etc.

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Alan24

I'm reading on the internet about cleaning silver using aluminium foil, baking soda and hot water.

 

Obviously this is some kind of electrolysis type process. 

 

The question is, is this safe to use on Medals or does it actually remove parts of silver off the medal...in which case it is therefore slightly destructive.

 

Regards

 

Alan.

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RobertL

That process removes silver sulphide. (Tarnish).  The aluminum must be in contact with the silver for the process to work. I have never used it to clean medals.  Mostly silver mineral specimens.  It is not corrosive to silver.  

My medal collection has never been touched to clean it.  The tarnish has occurred over the last hundred years and is the natural condition. Coming from a numismatic background, cleaning to me is not the natural way they should look.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder though.

If you want to clean them up, a product called "Tarnex" silver cleaner available at hardware stores, or " Coin dip" available at coin shops will do the job in seconds, and are dips. This handles light, medium tarnish.  No abrasion.  If the tarnish is very, very heavy and black, you may find they look worse than before you touched them.  Etched from the formation of heavy silver sulphide.  Tread carefully then.

Rob.

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Alan24
22 hours ago, RobertL said:

That process removes silver sulphide. (Tarnish).  The aluminum must be in contact with the silver for the process to work. I have never used it to clean medals.  Mostly silver mineral specimens.  It is not corrosive to silver.  

My medal collection has never been touched to clean it.  The tarnish has occurred over the last hundred years and is the natural condition. Coming from a numismatic background, cleaning to me is not the natural way they should look.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder though.

If you want to clean them up, a product called "Tarnex" silver cleaner available at hardware stores, or " Coin dip" available at coin shops will do the job in seconds, and are dips. This handles light, medium tarnish.  No abrasion.  If the tarnish is very, very heavy and black, you may find they look worse than before you touched them.  Etched from the formation of heavy silver sulphide.  Tread carefully then.

Rob.

 

Thanks Rob,

 

I agree, I wouldn't want to clean a coin like that. Washing up liquid and warm water is all I use. 

 

Rather than a medal (which I used just as general discussion) what I'm really considering is a 'Royal Army Reserve' badge which I picked up at the weekend. It's .925 silver and hallmarked Birmingham 1938. It needs a good clean and would be more happy to clean it than a coin or medal but still want to check I'm not doing any damage. 

 

Thanks for your advice.

 

Regards

 

Alan.

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Jim Strawbridge

Agreed that cleaning a coin or medal should be resisted. The bloom or discolouration is natural and is the metal reacting to the air. Cleaning will always remove a layer of surface. For the silver badge I would recommend Silver Dip.

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battle of loos

good Morning,

 

I use one white eraser rubber for to clean the silver :

 

DSC_0001.thumb.JPG.5dc38bb5d9c8c6cb177ec978212c026b.JPGDSC_0002.JPG.fccd7c2d0628988540274ab5f47b6e77.JPGDSC_0003.JPG.e5f52cc39846ff57b6cffbcd02a83572.JPG

 

regards

 

michel

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RobertL

Michel,

The method you show would make a coin collector or medal collector cry!

 

You have used abrasives to burnish that to a white silver colour.  Look at the surface under magnification.  It's covered in thousands of fine scratches.  If your method had been used on a rare  or highgrade  one Franc coin worth hundreds of dollars, Pounds or Euros, instead of that poor old one franc.  You would have turned it into  10 grams of scrap silver.  My business for many years was a professional numismatist.  PLEASE don't clean coins (Medals) with abrasives.  After that they're just scrap.

 

Good luck with your badge Alan, it sounds like a sweet little piece.

 

Rob.

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rflory

It is always interesting to see a discussion on cleaning medals.  There appears to be a major divide between those who would not clean their medals for any reason (especially those with a coin collecting background) and those who like their medals clean (especially those who have had a sergeant major 'discuss' the condition of their medals).  It is a controversy that has no correct answer and which side one is on depends largely on what is collected.  My experience is that those who collect early Victorian medals generally are seldom in favor of cleaning while those who collect 20th Century medals often favor the cleaning of medals.

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battle of loos
2 hours ago, RobertL said:

Michel,

The method you show would make a coin collector or medal collector cry!

 

You have used abrasives to burnish that to a white silver colour.  Look at the surface under magnification.  It's covered in thousands of fine scratches.  If your method had been used on a rare  or highgrade  one Franc coin worth hundreds of dollars, Pounds or Euros, instead of that poor old one franc.  You would have turned it into  10 grams of scrap silver.  My business for many years was a professional numismatist.  PLEASE don't clean coins (Medals) with abrasives.  After that they're just scrap.

 

Good luck with your badge Alan, it sounds like a sweet little piece. 

 

Rob.

 

Good evening,

 

This coin (along with others) was found in a British cantonment bin.
mixed with iron, glass and charcoal, all well on burnt.
Certainly a purse or a vest of thrown in the fire.

DSC_0002.JPG.0f51637fda0b4450a0a7860a7ce69a25.JPGDSC_0003.JPG.4fdd5ad4d7b7dbdbf571e41fc1844b04.JPG

 

:thumbsup:

 

michel

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