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How do coins tone so fast??

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I just bought a 1959 - 1998 Lincoln set for cheap(Needed to fill the back of my Lincoln Album.... had some nice toners in it... but 2 coins seem to puzzle me... How do these coins tone so fast... one is a 1996 D and the other is a 1997 D... The 1996 D looks to have been buffed or cleaned...unless it has some sorta strike problem, which I doubt..... anyhow here are the pics....




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Copper is the most chemically reactive of the three "classic" coinage metals (copper, silver and gold). These coins could tone in a matter of days if they were left in the elements or exposed to trace amounts of sulfur. If they were treated with sulfur, it happens in a matter of seconds. This is why natural, uncleaned or "enhanced" red copper coins are so scarce, especially when the coins are more than 100 years old.


OK these coins are copper plated zinc, but the same ideas applies.


I'd say these coins toned because they were stored in a Whitman "penny board" type cardboard holder which has sulfur in the paper. The process may have been accelerated by storing the holder in a hot or hot and moist environment.

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How do coins tone so fast??


Gas grin.gif


so I would assume that they are not AT?


Depends on how you define "AT". AT'd coins are done for two reasons from what I can tell:


1) Cover up cleaning

2) Enhance the price/grade by making whoop-te-do colors which are popular these days.


In the world of coin collecting I've come to find out we all seem to have a different definition of what AT means.


Is it some external process by which one can accelerate the toning of a coin? If so, then what acceleration is considered AT? Two hours? Two weeks? Two years? I don't know.


Is it "Intent"? If so, is me putting my Kennedys in a Dansco with a CLEAR intent to tone them AT? I don't know.


Turns out I've gotten to the point where it boils down to whether I like the coin. If the coin is "original" and it's ugly I ain't gonna buy it. Now if a coin is "AT", according to someones defiinition, and I DO like I might still buy it. Of course, the term "like" includes the PRICE. Meaning if the coin is 12X bid then I don't think it will be a coin I "like". Know what I mean?


Each collector comes to their own conclusions (with a lot of experience) on how to appraise and value coins....deciding on what you like and how you evaluate that takes a lot of time, effort and MISTAKES. laugh.gif But the AT issue is something I care LESS and LESS about as time goes on. As long as I know what I like and am willing to pay it just doesn't matter too much to me anymore.



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