Treasure Coast Archaeological Society
Sebastian, Florida  Indian River County

 Silver Coin Cleaning

The following is a method of cleaning silver coins that is probably the best way possible to preserve the value of your find.  Use at your own risk!! It is only being provided to you on this page for informational purposes.  (That's the disclaimer)  Neither the author of this page or the author of the following procedure makes any guarantees or will be held responsible for any damage done by using this procedure.

 There are many different methods of electrolysis. This is the one that works for me. I even use this method on Spanish reales that I find.  I think it is one of the safest IF USED CORRECTLY!  This method of electrolysis actually expels most of the salt & minerals absorbed by the silver. You'll need the following items:

Make a small hole in each side of the bucket, about a half inch down.  Place the wire through and bend each side so it won't come out.  Then you bend the knife blade, butter dish or whatever you have (it has to be stainless steel!!) so it will be down near the bottom of the bucket.  A bit of it has to stick up enough so you can hook a wire clamp to it.  I drilled a hole in each end of my clothes pin and fashioned a piece of wire into a hook at the top, and on the bottom (with the same piece of wire) bent it so when a coin is clipped in it's grasp it touches the wire.  Attach the alligator clips to the wire ends.  Now you can put some water in the bucket so that when the cloths pins are hung on the wire and the coins are clamped in the jaws the coin just gets covered by the water.

If I remember right, the negative terminal gets attached to the butter dish or what ever you have in the bottom, and the positive goes on the top wire.  You must look for the small bubbles coming off of the coin.  That will signal the right connection.  Don't let the wire touch the water, only the stainless steel.  If the dirt and residue start to cling onto the butter dish then you are ok, if not, switch wires.  I use two teaspoons of soda ash in the water to speed up the process.  The soda ash is the same kind as used for spas to increase the pH.  NOT BAKING SODA!  This is a fairly slow process. Don't try to rush it!  But don't leave it unattended for long!  You will need to turn the coin every few minutes.  You should take the coin out and rub it between your fingers with a paste of baking soda and water.  If you have a coin that you think could be worth a lot of money, HAVE IT CLEANED BY A PROFESSIONAL, don't take any chances!  Good luck!  I hope I explained it clearly enough.  If not, send me e-mail with your questions.

Larry Beatson, Past President
Treasure Coast Archeological Society  

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