A few months ago, I purchased a Spanish Provisional Government 1868 5-peseta copper pattern from an E-Bay seller in Argentina. The listing picture wasn't too good and it seemed like the pattern was a little suspect. Still, this piece is scarce and I have wanted one for quite some time. If I could get it on the cheap, all the better. With what I thought was a fair bid, I won the piece for about half what I could expect to pay for a certified piece.
When the pattern arrived, I was very happy with it except that there were areas of the piece with a tarlike sticky residue. The residue was trapped in some of the crevices, lettering, and knife edges of the piece. I knew that I wanted it certified and I decided to submit it to NCS for review, conservation, and grading.
I got my 5-peseta pattern back last week, conserved and graded MS-63. According to the population report, there was one MS-62, one MS-63, and two MS-64's. Add mine to it and its two MS-63's! Looking at my pattern in the hand, the overall look didn't show significant change except that it looked a lot sharper. The tar was successfully removed from the legend making the letters look much sharper. The knife-edges of the rim were clean and sharp only leaving a lightly stained surface with no pitting or metal corrosion. The real change was in the mountain area of Hispania's left elbow. Some of the other offensive toning was subdued but not removed. NCS states that they cannot reverse or remove copper toning.
I offer this pictorial evidence of before and after conservation. The before photo of the mountains is slightly out of focus but it shows the most significant changes. The mountains and in particular Hispania's fingers are clean and much more detailed. The crevices are all clean and sharp. In the hand it makes a tremendous difference. What detail, like it just came off the dies!
There is one more thing that I found quite interesting. Sometimes when digital cameras have either lighting or surface anomalies issues they can't focus correctly on the subject. In this case, if you look closely in the center of the before mountain picture, there is horizontal detail where there should be vertical detail like the mountains of the after picture.
I have used NCS on several occasions and in some instances, I have not liked the results. Over time I have become better in selecting candidates for conservation. This piece was a no-brainer for me and I am delighted with the results. Gary