Electrolysis on old copper penny

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sgoody1
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Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by sgoody1 » Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm

I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?



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Allectus
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Allectus » Fri May 31, 2019 10:43 pm

sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?
You're wasting your time. Use electrolysis on encrusted silver coins only. ::g


A ;)

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by detectorman5050 » Fri May 31, 2019 10:51 pm

sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?
I am wondering if the 'brown stuff' is actually from your electrode disintegrating. I use a tea spoon as an electrode, and now half of it has disappeared!
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by sgoody1 » Fri May 31, 2019 11:16 pm

Allectus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:43 pm
sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?
You're wasting your time. Use electrolysis on encrusted silver coins only. ::g


A ;)
OK - I have given up. It looks like the oldest penny I have found to date, but can only just make out the head on it. Will have to find a better one. :(

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by sgoody1 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:37 pm

sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:16 pm
Allectus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:43 pm
sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?
You're wasting your time. Use electrolysis on encrusted silver coins only. ::g


A ;)
OK - I have given up. It looks like the oldest penny I have found to date, but can only just make out the head on it. Will have to find a better one. :(
Here is the coin pre and post a clean up via electrolysis .
Not much difference, but I can make out the head a bit better.

Any thoughts on how to improve it from here? More electrolysis? Ketchup, olive oil, lemon juice, diet coke, Hydrogen peroxide...??

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littleboot
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Re: Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by littleboot » Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:37 pm

George III. They usually come up pretty much like yours. If yo get anything significantly better its a good find.
Not worth wasting effort on coppers. They generally tease you a bit as if they'll get better and then they get a lot worse. :D Best to keep coppers dry and clean by mechanical means (cotton but and toothpick and dry brush etc) only.
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Re: Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by TheAndyA » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:48 pm

sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?
This happened to one of my coins the first time I dabbled with electrolysis on a copper, I think I was expecting the coin to magically improve the longer I left it cooking. I find they just become more pitted if left for too long.

Personally I think it's better to zap the coin for 1 or 2 mins, take it out and put it in some soapy water and rub it with one of those kitchen sink sponges (or a less abrasive microfibre cloth). Some of the crust/patina should rub off, leaving you with a better idea of the coins condition. If you think it needs more zapping, just rinse & repeat until you're happy with the results.

My next step would be to go over the coin with some polishing compound, using one of those Dremel like tools fitted with a wool/fibre polishing head. I think it's best to avoid the outside edges, at least until you're happy with how the main body of the coin looks.

I'd only do the above on coins of no monetary value. ::g
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Re: Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by Lowland » Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:04 am

Hi
I would put that one in my pocket for a week with some small change.
It could surprise you how nice they can come up-yours still has detail under the crud.
Just get ready for some strange looks when you pull it out to pay for summat ::g
Looking at it again ,maybe it’s gone a bit too biscuit for that.
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Re: Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by sgoody1 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:10 pm

Lowland wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:04 am
Hi
I would put that one in my pocket for a week with some small change.
It could surprise you how nice they can come up-yours still has detail under the crud.
Just get ready for some strange looks when you pull it out to pay for summat ::g
Looking at it again ,maybe it’s gone a bit too biscuit for that.
I have been trying everything on that coin.
Did HP sauce last night, and now zapping again. But as Littleboot just said, it seems to get a tiny bit better, and is now getting worse!! :(

I have also zapped a Victorian penny, and the results on that were pretty good.

Have a gradually mounting tin of poor condition pennies, so will work through a few of them with different tecniques and see what happens.

Havent yet tried the pocket experiment - but will give thane a go too!

Thanks

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Re: Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by detecting rod » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:41 pm

be good to see if you manage to find a good system on copper ,pretty sure my 2 oldest finds so far are copper and i cannot make out what they are

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Re: Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by Incognito » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:17 pm

Like allectus, lowland and littleboot are saying. Copper based coins are often very pitted and don't like being stripped of patina. So mechanical is usually best if you feel to clean them, you can add very fine sanding, dremmel, tumbler etc. to that. It generally is not worthwhile except to smooth off the surface down to clean patina, and only on coins which have little value. The exception to that are (often older) purer copper coins which seem not to pit so much and where the patina is even, but because they are basically intact in detail already there is little point removing the patina, it only damages the existing detail. Occasionally there are some which have a nice hard patina underneath a looser patina, there light mechanical cleaning is best also. As these more recent coins are ok to learn with just try different methods till you find one which suits, or you decide not worthwhile. There is only one copper coin I used electrolysis on (which I rarely do and as last resort) which came out ok - a small hammered coin from around 1400 that had a thick very hard patina that covered detail of sound metal underneath. There was no way to know the metal underneath was sound though so equally I might have made it worse. Have fun though ::g

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by jones123 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:31 pm

Allectus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:43 pm
sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?
You're wasting your time. Use electrolysis on encrusted silver coins only. ::g


A ;)

I have to disagree here, I used electrolysis on a heavily green hard crusted copper, totally unidentifiable, turned out to be a fair condition 1880s farthing underneath. ::g

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Machinist » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:00 pm

jones123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:31 pm
Allectus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:43 pm
sgoody1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
I am having a go now on an old copper penny.
The water is going brown (after about 1/2 an hour), but no discernible difference to the coin.
I am using an old phone charger which I think said is 5.7v
How long do you reckon I should wait?
Does it work on pennies?
You're wasting your time. Use electrolysis on encrusted silver coins only. ::g


A ;)

I have to disagree here, I used electrolysis on a heavily green hard crusted copper, totally unidentifiable, turned out to be a fair condition 1880s farthing underneath. ::g

But 1880's farthings are bronze not copper and usually fair better in the ground than pure copper.

Ray
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Re: Electrolysis on old copper penny

Post by jones123 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:57 pm

That'll be why then Machinist. lol. ::g

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Incognito » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:28 pm

Machinist wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:00 pm
jones123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:31 pm
Allectus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:43 pm


You're wasting your time. Use electrolysis on encrusted silver coins only. ::g


A ;)

I have to disagree here, I used electrolysis on a heavily green hard crusted copper, totally unidentifiable, turned out to be a fair condition 1880s farthing underneath. ::g

But 1880's farthings are bronze not copper and usually fair better in the ground than pure copper.

Ray
This is a very interesting topic for me and one that I am trying to figure out as well. I mentioned pure copper tends to stay in condition, because the finds of medieval (pure) copper I have made have all kept clean detail, corroded yes but not pitted. Some have had hard patina, others soft. However maybe part of this is down to conditions, say fertilizer use ? The other coins which do well are bronze and those with silver, I think they get surface enriched. Then there are more modern coins that are "bronzes" but with mixed additions of other metals, say aluminium, or maybe not good copper (?) and these I find are often pitted. So for me it is still a confused picture, with just a simple rule of thumb that older copper based coins tend to be better made. Would be interesting to hear other comparisons though. ::g

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