Quick Guide to Aging Coins

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by Chase, May 21, 2008.

  1. So i've had quite a few questions lately from younger guys who want to soften up some half dollars and morgans. I have some very old coins that I use for performance most of the time, but I have also had some very good success with aging newer coins.
    These are the steps that I use now.

    1. Instead of sandpaper, there is a really cool "scrubbing stone" you can get from wal-mart or target. It's some kind of cleaning tool for hippies and canadians who worry about the "environment". It is the best item I've found for aging a coin. Sand down your coins under some warm water with the wet scrubbing stone. Wear gloves or you'll end up a bloody sanded mess before you're done. Try to scrub in a figure 8 motion if the coin is big enough. Rinse the coins well when you are finished.

    2. The coins will be worn down, but "scratchy". Take some silver polish and give them a nice shine. I know you don't want them shiny, but some polish will make the next step easier. Rinse the coins well when finished.

    3. Take two coins, and rub them together in a circular motion for 3-5 minutes. Turn the coins over, and rub those two sides together for 3-5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining coins. This step knocks off some of the scratchy-ness the scrubbing caused.

    4. Stir together a half cup of soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Put the coins into an oven safe container and pour the soy/lemon over the coins. Make sure your dish is shaped so that the liquid covers the coin well. Bake in the oven (or toaster oven) at 450 until the liquid evaporates out and leaves you with a "crust" on the coins. This will smell delicious at first, but as it burns it will smell like you lit chop-suey on fire. It will make your mom/wife angry. Bear this in mind.

    5. Remove the coins from the oven and let them cool completely.

    6. Under warm water rinse the crust from the coins. They will be stained a dark copper color.

    7. Give the coins a quick half-@$$ cleaning with some diluted silver polish. Leave plenty of stain on the coin. Rinse well.

    8. Place the coins back into the oven on a clean cookie sheet and bake at 450 for another hour or so. Remove and let them cool.

    9. Your coins may still appear a dark copper color. Don't worry. As you handle them over the next day or so they will begin to darken. In no time they will look like worn soft coins.

    10. Learn to do a real retention pass. Yours sucks. (I don't know for sure here. I'm just guessing based on experience.)
     
  2. I heard a pencil eraser will "highlight" the parts that you want "silvery" on your coin.

    Is this true? (never tried it.)
     
  3. I do coin softening and aging myself,
    But I use several different power tools not available to normal people.
    It's a container filled with tiny abrasive materials (usually ceramic) which is connected to a mechanical shaker that vibrates the container and changes direction every 1/2 an hour or so. If you don't have one of these then...
    I recommend a file (not too rough) to quickly take down the edges of the coin and then use some sand paper to even it out.
    I use a dremel to do selective highlighting after that, to grind down certain bits I want flatter than others. You can just as easily use sand paper for this but it'll just take a little longer.
    Wash in warm water and soap then dry them out.

    To colour the coins, you should use a chemical called "liver of sulphur", you should be able to find this at most hardware or jewel craft stores. It's the common chemical used to darken silver.
    Just stick your coin into the solution and it'll darken pretty much within 10 seconds.
    Take it out and dry it off, then you start the polishing stage.
    just get some silver polish and some 3M silver polishing cloth and start working at your coin, polishing bits that you don't want black, and leaving highlights around the detail of the coin.

    They end product is a very good artificially softened and aged coin.
    I use this method a lot and I always start from new silver coins
    Usually uncirculated 1921 Morgans or some Walking Liberties.
    If anyone has inquiries, just pop me a PM and i'll be glad to shed a bit more light on this.
     
  4. Please tell me thats a poorly made joke and your not actually serious
     
  5. Amane -
    I totally forgot about the sulphur. That's a great tool, but can be hard to find.
    I've also conned a friend with a paint mixer/shaker to leave some coins in overnight with some abrasives. Those turned out really good.

    Mike-
    Please tell me thats a poorly made joke and your not actually serious
    Neither. Both.
    It's a WELL made joke, and I am kinda serious.
    Environmentalism is a con. I do hate hippies. Canadians are OK. The funny ones at least. That Landels kid is cool, and does good work.
    "Republicans rule!" That's what the bumper stickers say on both my SUV's.

    Back to aging coins..... I should have mentioned that the above techniques are really best for coins with silver content. Plated or clad coins are different. A shaker/paint mixer does pretty well on them, but sanding and grinding are much more difficult to get a good result with.
     
  6. Yes the shaker is indeed efficient but if you want to do selective softening e.g. to bring out the detail, you can't use that method, you'll have to use a file.
     
  7. That comment and this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vTOU6vSrPw

    ...has earned you the Delta Tau Kai name of "Double Stuffed". :D

    Cool video, by the way... :)

    (ThisOneGoesTo11, turns and slowly walks away.... Then stops, turns around "Columbo style" and says...)

    Just one more thing... Isn't the guy who created that cool cookie effect a hippy? Do you hate him?

    -ThisOneGoesTo11
     
  8. He's a capitalist hippy. He's ok.

    And yeah, the shaker method will take all the detail off pretty evenly, so don't use it if you just want dates or edges softened.


    Animal House. Hilarious.
     
  9. Glad you *got* my sense of humor. :)

    -ThisOneGoesTo11
     
  10. Use Bleach. Soak the coins for just a few seconds - the longer, the darker. Then just polish up how you want - use a silver cloth or wire wool.

    However this will only work for actual silver coins (liberties,morgans,barbers,64 kennedys etc)
     

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