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Removing black spots from a silver coin

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frncsbrennan
Joined: 4-Apr-2015
Posts: 436
Is there a way to remove black spots from a sterling silver coin? The coin is from Panama, a 1970 5 Balboa. It is in BU condition except for 3 small black spots on the obverse. If I had looked closely I would have noticed te spots and not bought it, because I feel the best way to deal with a problem coin is to not buy one. But now I am stuck with the coin so I would like to fix it if possible.  If I can't do anything with it, how much would the spots drop the grade?   
Miss Moneypenny
Joined: 13-Mar-2015
Posts: 121
I have done the unthinkable and used liquid silver polish to spot treat a couple of my coins with the same problem, in particular a UK half crown with black (rubber band?) marks across Edward VII's head/face. Unfortunately, it only served to lessen the marks but not fully remove them, whilst making his profile extra shiny. :~

Some black blemishes seem to be physical, in that they feel rough when poked at with a toothpick. Guess there's not much that can be done in those cases, but if there is, I'd like to know as well. And how to remove black rubber band marks!
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pnightingale
Joined: 27-Jul-2011
Posts: 5058
There isn't much you can do with a few carbon spots on an uncirculated coin, it's simply a thing you have to live with. Some say acetone might help and while it's pretty good on silver and cupro nickel it can be unpredictable on copper alloys, even turning once beautiful coins a nasty pink colour.  It safer than playing Russian roulette is about all you can truly say.

Every schoolboy, back in the days when every schoolboy collected coins,  used to know that black marks on circulated silver coins could be easily removed with a pencil eraser. They call them rubbers in England but for some reason Americans find that funny. Strange folks.

Use the soft pink ones found at the non business end of regular pencils not the dark colored abrasive types. I've used it successfully one two coins which had ugly black residue on the obverse making them "junk silver" only and it removed almost all of the build up without polishing the surface.

It's certainly preferable to "dipping".

As always the best advice is to leave coins alone but there will always be coins that you really want to keep but just can't live with the dirt / stains. I see no harm in the judicious use of a non destructive cleaning method. It's your coin and your risk. If it's already ruined then there isn't much to lose.
Non illegitimis carborundum est (don't let the bastards wear you down). Excellent advice for all coins.
Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life of the 6th Avenue Coin, Stamp  & Rice Puller Club. President, Boss & Top Dawg for Hutt River.
frncsbrennan
Joined: 4-Apr-2015
Posts: 436
Thanks for the advice...
Miss Moneypenny
Joined: 13-Mar-2015
Posts: 121
Quote: pnightingaleEvery schoolboy, back in the days when every schoolboy collected coins,  used to know that black marks on circulated silver coins could be easily removed with a pencil eraser. They call them rubbers in England but for some reason Americans find that funny. Strange folks.

Oh, that never occurred to me at the time, even though I've read it before! x.  Should have tried that first... Heh, might have thought of it if I had collected coins back in school instead of Barbies! :~

Haha, rubber/eraser was a silly one we all used to snicker about in school, even though we were taught to use the word rubber. There are loads of other words that cause Brit/US confusion and giggles, in particular pants/trousers and a couple of others I won't mention here. ;)
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Stevie Canuck
Joined: 11-Jul-2018
Posts: 1
Thank you so much!
new to coins and decided to purchase random silver Maple Leaves. I did not have proper stacking tubes as the vendor simply put 10 loose maples in a plastic bag and off I went. Later, I decided to wrap the stack carefully in paper kitchen towel and bind the stack with a rubber band. MISTAKE! After a week, dreadful black marks were left on my brilliant coins. There was a large "X" through the queen's head. I used pink solution, an effective green cleaning ptoduct-no change. I boiled water and used full strength pink solution- no change. I used tooth paste and a mild brush- no change. I started to get frustrated and had the coins sit in vinegar for 30 min- no change. I added banking soda to the mix to make a chemical reaction and stronger acid- slight very slight positive reaction.

I followed your advice and used a soft white eraser..... the marks made by the elastic band via the kitchen towel were wiped clean with a little effort.

No elatic bands on silver ...or gold coins I guess
thanks a bunch
pnightingale
Joined: 27-Jul-2011
Posts: 5058
I'm glad you found it useful Stevie and may I both welcome you to the Numista community and wish you every success with your new pastime.
Non illegitimis carborundum est (don't let the bastards wear you down). Excellent advice for all coins.
Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life of the 6th Avenue Coin, Stamp  & Rice Puller Club. President, Boss & Top Dawg for Hutt River.

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