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Old cleaning and re-tone

6 posts in this topic

I recently purchased this coin and really liked the natural toning. For and AU50, I liked its eye appeal.


I want to learn how to identify and old cleaning and re-tone silver dollar. I've seen members comment in that fashion when appraising posted coins.


Do you think this coin had an old cleaning and then over time, toned over it? I have the coin in hand, and it doesn't have much luster left and that's probably one reason it was graded AU50. This coin came from the Stack's 57th St. collection, so it was recently graded by our hosts.


What are the telltale signs of a silver coin that had an old cleaning and has re-toned?


BTW, the line on the obverse from chin to eye is a scratch on the holder. Thank you for all your help.




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The luster doesn't look that poor in your photos.

As for a cleaning, that's hard to tell too....It isn't that unusual for a dollar to tone in such a way.



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There is no simple answer to this. Sometimes it's impossible to tell with certainty. Cleaning can mean "improper cleaning" or something else like an old dip. The coin you posted looks pretty natural to me. The toning around the date and the adjacent stars looks "old".


Many currently acceptable coins were dipped at some point. Collectors often preferred white coins and obliging dealers would often dip enormous quantities of their product. Some of these retone with a monotone appearance that isn't terribly interesting. "Original-looking" coins will often have layers upon layers of toning. Specific patterns (end-roll, textile, crescent, album, original packaging of commems' distinct toning pattern) are desirable. You'll also hear about pull-away toning, elevation chromatics, and other clues.


Of course, very old coins can also exist with very little toning at all, if they've been very carefully protected. It's as much art as science. Certain series tone in predictable patterns. Rainbow peace dollars should be viewed with skepticism.


As far as improper cleaning goes, parallel hairlines, loss of surface frost & luster, metal movement, etc can provide clues.

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It's not easy to tell on this one. There are "spotty" areas that didn't take the toning. That's no real big deal. This is a nice coin, as it still has a nice surface. When I think of "cleaned and retoned," I think of dead as a doornail. This surface is still hanging in there. It's a matter of degree, really. The toning, itself, isn't going to look appreciably different. It's what it lays on, that's where you want to look, at that technical condition of the surface. In my book, anyway.

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