Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Please post all your topics related to cleaning your metal detector finds here.
Post Reply
User avatar
littleboot
Posts: 2693
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:22 pm
Location: Normandy (the cider and cheese area)
Has thanked: 751 times
Been thanked: 1464 times

Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by littleboot » Wed May 15, 2019 11:57 am

No photo at this stage, just want a few opinions on how to separate the blighters. :))

Out t'other day doing some maintenance and gardening for a second home owner. All part of the service for Home and Dry Property Services (my biz). :D
Anyway, in the same spirit of enterprise and opportunity exhibited by Phil (Alloverover) I have been having the occasional waft around the half acre garden for the last six months. In other words, whenever I get bored and tired of digging the veg plot and borders, I get my detector and...dig holes. ;) The owner is aware of this, needless to say, and is keen to know some history to the place. The existing structure looks mainly early 18th century but has a very old stone chimney which indicates the present house is the latest incarnation of something older.
With the GMP, I found this 'older' elusive and only got back to later Louis 14th stuff. However, this latest outing was the first time I'd used the Nox there and it has proved a game changer.

About a foot down, under a thick root too, I found a small stack of low-grade silver hammereds all fused together. There are five of them (there were six but the top just rubbed off like silver foil when they came up...in fact my first take was that it was a piece of foil wrapper or stopper.
They are not clearly Id-able at the moment though the general style is indicative of 17th century Douzains. They are, therefore, extremely thin and brittle and the whole stack is no thicker than a Vicky shilling.
The stack is not completely centred, some overhang the one below it, and some are smaller too. They are fused with the leached out copper by the looks of the verdigris.
Naturally I want to prise them apart,but any undue force will result in 5 sets of bits.
Suggestions please for best way forward with this metal (if they are what I think they are they are likely to be around a quarter silver content and the rest base metal. They came out nice and shiny so maybe they are better than that...but I can't be sure) I want to get them apart...to zap or not to zap...that is the question.


Equinox 600, GMP, wellies.

lonecoiler
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:11 pm
Location: Middlesbrough
Has thanked: 97 times
Been thanked: 109 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by lonecoiler » Wed May 15, 2019 12:20 pm

Sounds like a good spot to look for more and possibly a purse bar. Good luck separating the coins, my only offering would be don't use a mash hammer. :;@
Garrett Ace 250 with NEL Tornado coil.
C.Scope CS4PI

So many fields, so few permissions

Fusion
Posts: 4601
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:47 am
Location: Herts
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 330 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Fusion » Wed May 15, 2019 12:25 pm

Excellent find.

A weak acid soak, eg. diluted lemon juice would be my recommendation, if you really must seperate them. It will dissolve the green copper salts given enough time, and even clean up the coins themselves.
Or better still use proper 'laboratory' acid , similarly weakened. This appears to be suitable:
https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/wilko-origi ... /p/0332009

There is an archaeological research paper available online, showing that for debased silver, it was a very effective cleaning method, with minimal side-effect risks.
Edit:
https://www.jcms-journal.com/articles/1 ... /download/
After you've finished with the acid soak, I would soak in distilled water ( or boiled kettle water that's gone cold) to remove any acid residues.

Take good photos of the stack beforehand, for the record, and in case things go terribly wrong.
And because we all want to see the before and after shots, of course ...
Last edited by Fusion on Wed May 15, 2019 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
:(

User avatar
Lowland
Posts: 5079
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:18 am
Location: scottish middle march
Has thanked: 5549 times
Been thanked: 2675 times
Contact:

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Lowland » Wed May 15, 2019 1:56 pm

Exciting find,good luck separating them LB ::g
Shiny equinox600- taped up spade-dodgy elbow
.....................deeper bliss......................

User avatar
Easylife
Posts: 4301
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:23 pm
Has thanked: 990 times
Been thanked: 2197 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Easylife » Wed May 15, 2019 9:42 pm

A great find LB. I'm thinking a good soak could be good. Though another option to heat and cold quench may separate some? x;
Nox 800, 15" coil & Garrett carrot.
White's TDI SL

User avatar
Oxgirl36
Moderator
Posts: 8726
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:54 pm
Location: Oxfordshire
Has thanked: 3479 times
Been thanked: 3663 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Oxgirl36 » Wed May 15, 2019 10:29 pm

Ohhhh pictures please - exciting ::g :D
XP Deus !!£$

Hammered silver 2019 - 6

User avatar
fred
Posts: 9011
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:15 pm
Location: Kent
Has thanked: 1769 times
Been thanked: 4871 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by fred » Wed May 15, 2019 10:48 pm

Possibly not a job for an amateur, however enthusiastic. It may not even be possible to separate them at all. :D
Equinox 800 x2

looksold
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:14 pm
Location: wiltshire
Has thanked: 155 times
Been thanked: 90 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by looksold » Thu May 16, 2019 9:38 am

Oxgirl36 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:29 pm
Ohhhh pictures please - exciting ::g :D
well done littleboot......... but like oxgirl really looking forward to the pictures. Unfortunately cannot advise on seperation partly because i have not found any fused coins

User avatar
sweepstick47
Moderator
Posts: 9171
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:21 pm
Location: North Lincolnshire
Has thanked: 1400 times
Been thanked: 2120 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by sweepstick47 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:51 am

I too am looking forward to the results and hope all goes well. ::g
Good advice there from Fusion ::g Regards ss47
A disservice is no service at all.

User avatar
Bors
Posts: 772
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:24 pm
Has thanked: 93 times
Been thanked: 443 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Bors » Thu May 16, 2019 9:59 am

Quote Littleboot,...." the whole stack is no thicker than a Vicky shilling.".
That is seriously thin coinage. x; They probably might even fragment if an attempt to defuse them was attempted due to the fragility of them.
Might be even worth considering leaving them fused in a piece, to save damaging them otherwise you could end up with just a handful of bits for your trouble.

User avatar
liamnolan
Moderator
Posts: 11142
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:06 am
Location: Hemswell, Lincolnshire. originally from Dublin, southern Ireland
Has thanked: 1002 times
Been thanked: 699 times
Contact:

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by liamnolan » Thu May 16, 2019 10:02 am

As they are, they are an interesting single item that can be the topic of many conversations over wine. ::g
At worst they will disintegrate into non-interesting fragments.
I would probably leave them as they are if there is any serious risk of them being destroyed.
Good luck with whatever you decide, Liam :;@
Deus, WSi's - In the end we will regret the chances we didn't take, the relationships we were afraid to have and decisions we waited too long to make .. Spokesperson Irish Metal Detecting Society IMDS Vice President European Council for Metal Detecting

User avatar
littleboot
Posts: 2693
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:22 pm
Location: Normandy (the cider and cheese area)
Has thanked: 751 times
Been thanked: 1464 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by littleboot » Thu May 16, 2019 11:30 am

Well I have soaked in dilute citric acid and it has certainly removed some crud and now the two smaller ones have separated from the three bigger ones. I can make out some detail now so will investigate further. The bigger one sandwiched in the middle of the outer two seems in better condition as it has been protected. But at the mo it is stubbornly refusing to detach so I will soak again.
These are extremely thin coins. and the outer ones are damaged round the edges. They are not particularly valuable or early but they are interesting me in the context of the house itself. Also, I naturally want to have another beetle around that spot and dig whatever whispers I find. I am intrigued why they were found in a rouleau like this. As someone said, maybe a purse loss but I have found those before and the coins tend to be a little more scattered.
I'll take a photo later ...but I have a banana and honey tea-loaf baking at the mo. :))

I find it gloriously apt that 'Fusion' is able to give such chapter and verse advice on this topic. ::g :))
Equinox 600, GMP, wellies.

User avatar
Easylife
Posts: 4301
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:23 pm
Has thanked: 990 times
Been thanked: 2197 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Easylife » Thu May 16, 2019 11:36 am

It's great news that you are having some success with the coins Jan but my mind is now more on the banana & honey loaf which sounds rather yummy, think we need a pic of that also. :D ::g
Nox 800, 15" coil & Garrett carrot.
White's TDI SL

User avatar
Lowland
Posts: 5079
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:18 am
Location: scottish middle march
Has thanked: 5549 times
Been thanked: 2675 times
Contact:

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Lowland » Thu May 16, 2019 11:52 am

littleboot wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:30 am
Well I have soaked in dilute citric acid and it has certainly removed some crud and now the two smaller ones have separated from the three bigger ones. I can make out some detail now so will investigate further. The bigger one sandwiched in the middle of the outer two seems in better condition as it has been protected. But at the mo it is stubbornly refusing to detach so I will soak again.
These are extremely thin coins. and the outer ones are damaged round the edges. They are not particularly valuable or early but they are interesting me in the context of the house itself. Also, I naturally want to have another beetle around that spot and dig whatever whispers I find. I am intrigued why they were found in a rouleau like this. As someone said, maybe a purse loss but I have found those before and the coins tend to be a little more scattered.
I'll take a photo later ...but I have a banana and honey tea-loaf baking at the mo. :))

I find it gloriously apt that 'Fusion' is able to give such chapter and verse advice on this topic. ::g :))
Will be round in ten hours LB,
I can smell The banana and honey loaf from here ::g
Shiny equinox600- taped up spade-dodgy elbow
.....................deeper bliss......................

User avatar
shaggybfc
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:53 pm
Location: Warwick
Has thanked: 448 times
Been thanked: 356 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by shaggybfc » Thu May 16, 2019 1:43 pm

This is worse than a 'guess what's in the clod' thread..... sod the cake, get ye camera out before the things disintegrate into dust ::g
XP Deus, 11" X35 coil, WS4 back-phones, remote and an empty bank balance. XP MI 6 pin pointer. Garrett Ace 250 wireless MPow set up.
They told me I’d never be any good at poetry, because I’m dyslexic, but so far I’ve made 3 jugs and a vase.

User avatar
Lowland
Posts: 5079
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:18 am
Location: scottish middle march
Has thanked: 5549 times
Been thanked: 2675 times
Contact:

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Lowland » Thu May 16, 2019 1:53 pm

shaggybfc wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:43 pm
This is worse than a 'guess what's in the clod' thread..... sod the cake, get ye camera out before the things disintegrate into dust ::g
Sod the cake :))
Blasphemy!
But aye get the camera out..
Shiny equinox600- taped up spade-dodgy elbow
.....................deeper bliss......................

User avatar
Oxgirl36
Moderator
Posts: 8726
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:54 pm
Location: Oxfordshire
Has thanked: 3479 times
Been thanked: 3663 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Oxgirl36 » Thu May 16, 2019 3:43 pm

Lowland wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:53 pm
shaggybfc wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:43 pm
This is worse than a 'guess what's in the clod' thread..... sod the cake, get ye camera out before the things disintegrate into dust ::g
Sod the cake :))
Blasphemy!
But aye get the camera out..
Agreed if its cooking you'll be twiddling your thumbs anyway :D
XP Deus !!£$

Hammered silver 2019 - 6

Billy Doyle
Posts: 565
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:38 pm
Has thanked: 155 times
Been thanked: 72 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Billy Doyle » Thu May 16, 2019 5:35 pm

Enjoying the Nox then LB? ;)

User avatar
shaggybfc
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:53 pm
Location: Warwick
Has thanked: 448 times
Been thanked: 356 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by shaggybfc » Thu May 16, 2019 5:37 pm

Those cakes are either burnt or well on the way of being digested...... I hate being kept in suspenders.... 8-}
XP Deus, 11" X35 coil, WS4 back-phones, remote and an empty bank balance. XP MI 6 pin pointer. Garrett Ace 250 wireless MPow set up.
They told me I’d never be any good at poetry, because I’m dyslexic, but so far I’ve made 3 jugs and a vase.

User avatar
djm666
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:30 am
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 63 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by djm666 » Thu May 16, 2019 10:27 pm

Formic acid is good at removing copper from silver coins. I have used it to clean the corrosion from 50% silver pre decimals that had been together in the ground with coppers. It is however a nasty substance, especially when concentrated and will cause chemical burns if you get it on your skin, so would need to be handled with great care.

User avatar
Me and my boy
Posts: 1742
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:53 pm
Has thanked: 729 times
Been thanked: 863 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Me and my boy » Thu May 16, 2019 10:36 pm

shaggybfc wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:43 pm
This is worse than a 'guess what's in the clod' thread..... sod the cake, get ye camera out before the things disintegrate into dust ::g
I’m Still apologising for that delay🥴
2019 hammies. = 87 (including quarters, halves and broken)
Saxon = 1( broken sceatta)
Celtic. = 1
Silver denarius = 3
Gold Roman = 0
Gold ring. = 0
Gold hammered .= 1😀

User avatar
JBM
Posts: 2683
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:46 am
Location: Bristol
Has thanked: 29 times
Been thanked: 515 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by JBM » Thu May 16, 2019 10:45 pm

I have used my Ultra Sonic tank in the past. ::g

This once included a small stack of Roman coins.

Happy Hunting,

Jerry.

User avatar
Easylife
Posts: 4301
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:23 pm
Has thanked: 990 times
Been thanked: 2197 times

Re: Low-grade silver aka billon stack of fused hammies.

Post by Easylife » Thu May 16, 2019 11:14 pm

I reckon LB's got distracted scoffing down all that yummy banana and honey tea-loaf washed down with a flagon of wine. :))
Nox 800, 15" coil & Garrett carrot.
White's TDI SL

Post Reply

Return to “Cleaning Finds Forum”