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Thread: How to artificially tone a silver coin

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    Moderator madfranks's Avatar
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    How to artificially tone a silver coin

    This was one of my favorite threads on the old numismatic forum, so I thought I'd reproduce it here. I have more than one method of toning a coin, so I'll post separate methods along with results.

    Take some liver of sulphur (you can get it from a jewelery shop or online), approximately one teaspoon or so. Add one part rubbing alcohol or some other alcohol that will burn when lit to every two parts liver of sulphur. Use a q-tip to apply a generous amount to the surface of a silver coin, let it sit for 10 seconds or so, and light it on fire to let it burn out. You get a beautiful blue tone out of this.
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    Great Value Chinese Military Shovel TheNocturnalEgyptian's Avatar
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    Re: How to artificially tone a silver coin

    I was wearing a sterling silver ring on my hands when I took a dip in an all natural mineral pool up in kern county.

    The pools smelled very sulfury and the ring came out rainbow hued...but would also appear black from different angles. It was a very neat effect, and the inside of the ring (touching my hand) was still white silver.

    The effect wore off after a while, but it was a nice way to remember the trip. It also speaks to the power of sulphur to tarnish silver coins!
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    Tired Administrator Gaillo's Avatar
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    Re: How to artificially tone a silver coin

    I recently attempted an artificial toning of one of my bullion rounds. I placed the round in a 1 gallon sized ziplock bag, along with a hard-boiled egg. I put the round in one corner of the bag, the egg in the other, sealed the ziplock, then smashed the egg (still hot from the hard-boiling) with my hand through the plastic.

    I left the coin in for about 30 minutes (keeping it vertical in the bag so the gas could flow around it) and it was BEAUTIFULLY brown/green toned at the end of that time.

    Not sure I'll do it again... something felt "unethical" about the whole process, I've often paid several dollars more for nicely toned coins in the past, and now that I see how easily and cheaply they can be reproduced, it kind of takes all the joy out of finding a nicely toned specimen at my coin dealer's store.
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    Re: How to artificially tone a silver coin

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaillo
    I've often paid several dollars more for nicely toned coins in the past
    Why did you do that?

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    Re: How to artificially tone a silver coin

    Some collectors pay a premium for beautifully toned coins. Usually, it's the people who collect old silver dollars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as some like certain colors or perhaps a rainbow effect, whereas others prefer the toning to be only around the edges. Not my thing, but a lot of old coin collectors enjoy toning.
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    Moderator madfranks's Avatar
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    Re: How to artificially tone a silver coin

    Got some interesting rust colored toning while practicing on a silver merc the other day, very strange and I was not expecting it to look like this!
    "Liberty is so creative, and the government is so stupid, that Iím very optimistic about the future"
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    Re: How to artificially tone a silver coin

    nice thread!
    there is a cabin next to a sulfur spring I stay at on an annual family fishing trip - I'm going to try dipping some non-numismatic silver in there and see what I get

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    Moderator madfranks's Avatar
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    Re: How to artificially tone a silver coin

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSilverAG
    nice thread!
    there is a cabin next to a sulfur spring I stay at on an annual family fishing trip - I'm going to try dipping some non-numismatic silver in there and see what I get
    My guess is it'll all go pretty dark grey/black pretty quick. The trick is to get just enough sulfur to begin the process, and if you do too much the coin tarnishes badly.

    If you want to play with it, save some of the sulfur springs water in a vial and dilute it with some water or alcohol. I found that diluting the sulfur liquid with alcohol and burning it off causes some nice color.
    "Liberty is so creative, and the government is so stupid, that Iím very optimistic about the future"
    - Lew Rockwell

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