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A few months ago, the DOCTOR found this little group of recipes on the Net. As usual, information is what you make of it. Although some people may think this is the numismatic equivalent of instructions for nuclear weapons, we think the original publisher has a point.

The following information is provided for educational purposes only. I encourage users of this information to experiment with the various recipes in order to better learn what artificial toning (both poorly and well done) looks like.

I must also caution users of this information that it is highly unethical to knowingly sell an artificially toned coin without making that fact known to the buyer.

1) Cigar or cigarette smoke, directed at a coin's surface will produce a light brown tone. Frequent repitition of this proceedure will produce darker browns. (tip-off....smell the coin!)
2) Place a coin in a paper coin envelope, bake for 30 minutes in a 300 degree oven. The coin will be a bit dull, but have taken on shades of purple, yellowish-green, or dark blue. "Over-cooked" coins can appear dull dark gray/blue/black. (tip-off...dull surfaces).
3) A weak sulphur solution, diluted with alcohol or water, will yield gold, golden-brown towns. A stronger solution will yield deep purplish-blue tones. Too strong a solution will yield gunmetal gray surfaces. This is a very deceptive method if "done right".
4) Coat a coin with corn oil, and bake inside a foil wrapped baked potato. A purplish-blue, or orange color will result.
5) Brush a coins with a blend of motor oil and corn oil. Bake at 275-300 degrees for an hour. Deep blue/purple colors appear.
6) Make a solution of sulphur powder and alcohol. The sulphur powder will not dissolve...but that is okay. Dip a coin into the solution, and set the coin on a table. Set the alcohol on fire, and let it burn out. Repeated "burnings" yield varying shades of gold-brown-blue-purple-black.
7) Sulphur ointment (home brew = vaseline+sulphur powder) can be used to retone or touch up copper coins.
8) Coins painted with gun bluing solution can yield various shades of the color spectrum.
9) A coin soaked in dandruff shampoo, for a couple of days, can produce green, yellow, and brown colors.
10) Place a coin into a hot toaster or on a hot frying pan. It will eventually take on a dull gray or black color.
11) Placing a coin in a paper envelope, or plastic holder...or a sealed proof set...in a sunny windowsill for a long period (1 to 3 months) will eventually result in a variety of colors. The coins may look "sick" or faded though.
12) Submerge a coin in a weak solution of sulphurated potash (liver of sulphur) for 5 seconds. Various colors can be had with each repeated dipping.
13) Place an inexpensive gold coin in a jar of "jeweluster " coin dip. Let sit for a couple of weeks. Dipping silver coins in this new "smart dip" will give the a golden tone.
So grab a few Washington Quarters....they are great to experiment with.....and try a few of these. But be careful not to burn, electrocute, or poison yourself with this stuff!!

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Commentary for Chemists, Metallurgists and Coin Dealers

Last modified on Sunday, October 6, 1996