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Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to: Set a Cache of Coins Free

What was once a display board full of coins glued (ack!!) to its surface eventually became the discarded project in the basement of a recent sale. For 5 dollars I thought it might be a fun challenge to set them free.

A British penny from 1927 was the oldest coin there, the rest were from a variety of places, Mexico, Germany, Canada. I didn't expect a fortune, but I knew it would be worth the effort. The challenge was how.
They were glued pretty securely, I'll never know why. I didn't want to damage them so I tried to scrape more wood than metal.

The next challenge was how I could remove the wood and glue without scatting the coin
This wasn't the best idea; there is no way to deftly scrape a coin with an x-acto knife and not scrape it repeatedly. Fortunately, Friends were visiting that day and my good friend Jeff Roos said simply, "Acetone."

Now this does go against the whole idea of what makes rare and antique items valuable. Fair warning: Acetone is highly flammable and the fumes are also not safe to breathe. Coins should never be casually washed in acetone as there is the danger that you could wash off some or all of the value; patina is the dirt and grime and aged look that make these coins desirable.

For my purposes, this was just the trick. In fact, I dunked 10 coins at a time and the glue and wood slipped right off.

The result was 47 coins of undetermined value that I will now research for what they are worth. This was a fun discovery and a good lesson in coin handling.

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