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Keeping MS70 'Coin Cleaner' in Perspective

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There has been some very good debate in two threads I have posted regarding the use of MS70. My final summary, which may not be agreed on by all, is that MS70 removes organic grunge and brown patina but does not cause blue-violet-red toning as others suggest. In such a case, this agent is removing surface material from the copper and nothing more. Some, have posted comments implicating that when MS70 is applied, it results in a copper coin of lesser appeal, and dare I say it, that such coins are doctored. Those folks have a right to their opinions for sure. After all, we all see numismatics from different directions.

 

So let's put MS70 conserved copper into perspective using the words of one of the most esteemed numismatists of our time. What inspired this was a letter in the March 14 Coin World with quotes from Dave Bowers, that were from a column Mr. Bowers wrote in the January 17 Coin World:

 

"If a silver coin dated before 1934 is bright all over, the chance are 99.9 percent that is has been dipped." "If a coin has vivid rainbow toning, chances are it was done by a coin doctor."

 

So I ask, if MS70 application to remove patina and grunge from a copper results in a coin with less appeal, and some would say is doctored, what is to be said about all of those silver coins in top TPG slabs that meet the definition of 'bright all over' that many of us collect? What about some of those with rainbow toning that may be doctored that are in the same slabs? Do we give up hope in collecting pre 1934 coins, or accept that fact that the majority of at least AU and MS coins probably have been changed in some way by these methods?

 

Should MS70 be a pariah and equated to acid dipping? Or worse? My take on it is, if acid dipping silver is acceptable, then it seems MS70 applied to copper is also.

 

Here is an example of what much clearly be an acid dipped silver coin, I gotta say, I'll take it but still prefer those that have eye appealing toning. Below this one, is a comparable example of a sliver coin with thick patina/tone. It is more eye appealing than the one that was dipped?

 

Best, HT

 

1877-CCDimeNGCMS64comp2.jpg

 

1857-ODimePCGSMS64comp2.jpg

 

 

 

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I don't know whether MS70 adds color to coins or merely brings it out. But either way, I consider its use, as well as dipping, to be forms of doctoring. That said, obviously, not all forms of coin doctoring are equal.

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I don't know whether MS70 adds color to coins or merely brings it out. But either way, I consider its use, as well as dipping, to be forms of doctoring. That said, obviously, not all forms of coin doctoring are equal.

 

Hear ! Hear ! Quoted for truth ! Nice to see that a well respected numismatist and former grader feels this way !

 

Dipping=Doctoring Save the Skin ! <--- I think this would make a nice bumper sticker ! lol

 

PETOC-- People for the Ethical Treatment of Coins....

 

Okay -- I need some coffee....

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I know there is alot of people in the coin community, and dealers that would completely disagree with me....but...my rule of thumb is never clean a coin, regardless of whether it is an acceptable form or not. Even if it is to remove things that shouldn't be there, such as Pvc green, and the like. I also think if all cleaning was deemed inappropriate, then the level of quality original coins would become scarcer and more valuable, helping our hobby. Imagine if this standard was put on Bust halves, and old gold. Most bust halves have been cleaned "properly" maybe, but imagine if the ones that hadn't been was the standard, there wouldn't be many. I couldn't count the number of "bright" bust halves in TPG holders that I come across on a daily basis, and in my opinion, it hurts the value of these coins immensely, and it takes away from the "as it was in the 19th century" feeling.

 

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that alot of these forms are considered proper. Heck we even have a grading service that not only recommends it, but does it for us. My question is how long will this be the appropriate, acceptable standard? Back in years past it was acceptable to dip, and polish, which is why there is so many out there, but not any longer, and look what it has done to those coins. How long will it take before what is allowed now is no longer allowed? And what will that do to all the ones that are "properly" cleaned? I just think it is more beneficial in the long run, for our hobby, that we just don't clean coins. But that is just my opinion, and I know i'm probably in the minority on that, but that's ok!

 

--

Jake Blackman

HollyDay Coins

704-719-6866

1-866-365-1748 (fax)

hollydaycoins@gmail.com

www.hollydaycoins.com

 

 

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there may be residual effects of treatment or exposure of anything years down the line depending on if/how removed

 

 

even a rain drop allowed to evaporate could show in a few years

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IMO, dipping in silver dip (acid/thiourea) is very similar to a dip in MS-70 (base) in that they remove material from the coin.

 

MS-70 is different in that the result is a change in coloration away from the natural state the coin was in. Said a bit differently, silver dip doesn't change coins blue (or expose/ehnance a blue already present under the layers).

 

To me they are both doctoring -- they are typically done to increase the value of a coin through chemical modification and/or intentional deception.

 

Lastly, it remains to be seen exactly what the ingredients of MS-70 are and what precisely is done to the surface of the coin (i.e. exposing that which is already there, modifying that which is already there, or adding something that was not there before) when so exposed -- so the jury is still out, to coin a cliche.

 

But let me turn this around a little bit.... If, somehow, a silver dip process was invented that removed all but a small amount of sliver sulfide from the surface of a black-toned silver coin, and once dipped the remaining layer of silver sulfide caused the coin to have a rainbow coloration through thin-film interference, would you consider it doctoring?

 

I sure would -- because it was an intentional action that led to the modification of a coin from its natural state.

 

So to me, and by that same logic, even IF the "blue was there the whole time", it's still doctoring.

 

But of course, YMMV and different strokes for different folks...Mike

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Their are a lot of silver coins that have been dipped in MS70 and are graded by TPS.

 

Using MS70 on bronze coins sometimes will change the surface refraction of the coin with differing levels of blue or violet shading. I do not have a lot of experience with this but I believe that it is not a very controllable process and is hard to predict what color the coin will end up after treatment. That would be my issue with using it and ruining a bronze coin's surface.

 

 

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But would a ms70'd coin still grade?

 

Yes, and there is no way, to my knowledge or in my experience, to determine whether a coin has been MS70ed or not (with copper/bronze and like metals being the exceptions).

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I think copper would get labeled "Questionable Color" or "Environmental Damage".

 

Often, that is not the case with copper coins, despite having been treated with MS70.

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I know there is alot of people in the coin community, and dealers that would completely disagree with me....but...my rule of thumb is never clean a coin, regardless of whether it is an acceptable form or not. Even if it is to remove things that shouldn't be there, such as Pvc green, and the like. I also think if all cleaning was deemed inappropriate, then the level of quality original coins would become scarcer and more valuable, helping our hobby. Imagine if this standard was put on Bust halves, and old gold. Most bust halves have been cleaned "properly" maybe, but imagine if the ones that hadn't been was the standard, there wouldn't be many. I couldn't count the number of "bright" bust halves in TPG holders that I come across on a daily basis, and in my opinion, it hurts the value of these coins immensely, and it takes away from the "as it was in the 19th century" feeling.

 

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that alot of these forms are considered proper. Heck we even have a grading service that not only recommends it, but does it for us. My question is how long will this be the appropriate, acceptable standard? Back in years past it was acceptable to dip, and polish, which is why there is so many out there, but not any longer, and look what it has done to

those coins. How long will it take before what is allowed now is no longer allowed? And what will that do to all the ones that are "properly" cleaned? I just think it is more beneficial in the long run, for our hobby, that we just don't clean coins. But that is just my opinion, and I know i'm probably in the minority on that, but that's ok!

 

--

Jake Blackman

HollyDay Coins

704-719-6866

1-866-365-1748 (fax)

hollydaycoins@gmail.com

www.hollydaycoins.com

 

I agree

Wheat

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I use MS70 to get MINT installed off of PROOF coins and they can subsequently grade, PF70, in most cases if used properly and thoroughly rinsed and dried.

 

I have not heard it said but MS70 is an amonia based cleaner ... Amonia and copper do not get along nicely and would have mixed reactions on any copper it is in contact with.

Ammonia corrodes copper and zinc-containing alloys

You probably will have many 'mixed' results by users depending on the coin and its alloys and the various 'corrosions' that exist on the coin in which it is applied.

 

 

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It is not an ammonia cleaner. The pH is too high, while there may be some ammonia in MS70, it is primarily an alkaline detergent based on pH, strongly oxidizing. It does nothing to copper, but it can remove brown patina and organic films and grunge, which leaves whatever was under the patina exposed, including sulfide toning.

 

see post near the end of this thread:

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=4623811&fpart=1

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MS 70 is a Thiorea based blend, aka; bleaching agent.

 

it is not thiourea based, wrong pH (thiourea solutoins have pH 5-7, MS70 has pH = 13.7, see my previous post.

 

Best, HT

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MS 70 is a Thiorea based blend, aka; bleaching agent.

 

it is not thiourea based, wrong pH (thiourea solutoins have pH 5-7, MS70 has pH = 13.7, see my previous post.

 

Best, HT

 

HT is 100% correct here. Thiourea is often used in acidic dips along with a strong acid, often sulfuric acid. This is the composition of some of the most popular brands including EZ-est. MS70 is basic.

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It is not an ammonia cleaner. The pH is too high, while there may be some ammonia in MS70, it is primarily an alkaline detergent based on pH, strongly oxidizing. It does nothing to copper, but it can remove brown patina and organic films and grunge, which leaves whatever was under the patina exposed, including sulfide toning.

 

see post near the end of this thread:

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=4623811&fpart=1

 

I am not convinced of the first five quoted words with respect to MS70: " It does nothing to copper, but it can remove brown patina and organic films and grunge".

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HI Mark,

I would suggest you perhaps could look at my thread again and provide evidence from the experiments I performed that leads you to be unconvinced of this? It would be good to hear what you have to say about these results. I see in these experiments the removal of things on copper revealing things underneath what was removed, but no interaction with the copper. Where I am seeing it wrong? MS70 is a very basic (pH = 13.7), oxidizing detergent, it won't dissolve copper, it cannot produce sulfide by reacting with copper to produce the 'infamous' blue toning so accused as a product of MS70 reacting with copper. I could be wrong though, if so, if someone can write a chemical reaction out that can explain blue-violet-red toning (i.e. sulfide) as a product between reacting MS70 with copper, that would be interesting for sure.

 

Best, HT

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HI Mark,

I would suggest you perhaps could look at my thread again and provide evidence from the experiments I performed that leads you to be unconvinced of this? It would be good to hear what you have to say about these results. I see in these experiments the removal of things on copper revealing things underneath what was removed, but no interaction with the copper. Where I am seeing it wrong? MS70 is a very basic (pH = 13.7), oxidizing detergent, it won't dissolve copper, it cannot produce sulfide by reacting with copper to produce the 'infamous' blue toning so accused as a product of MS70 reacting with copper. I could be wrong though, if so, if someone can write a chemical reaction out that can explain blue-violet-red toning (i.e. sulfide) as a product between reacting MS70 with copper, that would be interesting for sure.

 

Best, HT

 

I know virtually nothing about chemistry. But - and this is admittedly, merely an opinion - I don't think there are nearly as many naturally occurring blue colored copper coins as must be the case if MS70 does not impart color to some of them.

 

If MS70 is not at least partly responsible, it seems very odd that so few untreated copper coins display blue, while at the same time, so many which have been treated do display blue. My guess is that statistically, that is virtually impossible.

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I have no idea of the chemistry of MS70 but I know for a FACT it colors certain copper coins blue. I've seen it done at least once and have a good idea it was done numerous other times. Mostly, if not always, on proof Indian head cents.

 

I'll let the chemical experts figure it all out....I only know electronics. heh

 

jom

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Truly, I don't want to be involved in this never ending debate, but you don't need an acidic agent to turn copper blue. Copper can turn blue by using basic agents such as ammonia or sodium hydroxide. Might this be happening with the application of MS70? It could be. However, I do believe that MS70 can and often does turn the underlying metal a different color rather than revealing hidden color.

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Does anyone recall a product call "Coin Care" or "Care" designed to protect the surface of copper coins? I don't think it is made any more, but I have seen a dealer on eBay put up coins for sale with a purplish hue that he says in the description probably results from the use of this product.

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Hi Folks,

That is the point, it is all opinion and not based on the scientific method of obtaining observations, interpreting them, then following up with further tests, etc. I did some experiments, and MS70 did NOT REACT WITH COPPER METAL as shown in my thread presenting the results of the experiments. Look at the results again and tell me I am wrong, I am okay with that, but show me where I am wrong with this interpretation. It is possible that MS70 does react with something ON copper surfaces sometimes, but it simply does not REACT WITH COPPER METAL. Tom if what you say is correct, write me an equation, word on the street is you have a PhD so you can probably do that.

 

There are too many of these old wives tales going around numismatics, this is probably one of them. If not, then prove it is all I am saying, because opinions are just that, proof is better.

 

Best, HT

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I think many prefer acid dips to MS 70, however I was in an area shop recently to purchase some supplies and they were mass dipping (or processing as they called it) several ASE Rolls in MS 70 for an Ebay order as the coins had developed a blackish / greyish tone on the edges from being stored in the USM tubes for awhile. Even after dipping they had to scrub the stuff off while being careful not to have the coins strike each other.

 

I have no experience with MS70 but would be concerned about "post dip" residue with any chemical cleaner. I prefer to leave coins in their original state unless its something like PVC as this will get worse as time goes on damaging the coin further.

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I have no stake in this horse race but just for fun I treated this ordinary, sunset toned Lincoln in MS70. I'm sorry I didn't take "before" pix. I didn't think the results would be dramatic.

Lance.

 

60a1f0f8.jpg076f75b3.jpg

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I am not stating that the following is happening, but copper metal plus an ammonia solution in air can give the following-

 

4Cu + O(2) → 2Cu(2)O

 

Exposure to ammonia solutions: 2Cu(2)O + 4NH(3) → 2[Cu(NH(3))(2)]+ + O(2)

 

Further exposure to air (approximately 21% volume O(2) and 78% volume N(2)): [Cu(NH(3))(4)(H2O)(2)]2+

 

The above is a blue color.

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I am not stating that the following is happening, but copper metal plus an ammonia solution in air can give the following-

 

4Cu + O(2) → 2Cu(2)O

 

Exposure to ammonia solutions: 2Cu(2)O + 4NH(3) → 2[Cu(NH(3))(2)]+ + O(2)

 

Further exposure to air (approximately 21% volume O(2) and 78% volume N(2)): [Cu(NH(3))(4)(H2O)(2)]2+

 

The above is a blue color.

 

Awesome thanks for that TomB. I actually asked my professor to do it for me today but he is writing his dissertation and I have 6 exams to study for. After seeing the actual formula I am pretty confident I wouldn't have been able to write that. My Chemistry class went way too fast so it was more cramming than learning.

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