Taking a blowtorch to a silver Eagle

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#1 Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - 5:22pm
Mudsharkbytes
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Taking a blowtorch to a silver Eagle

Yesterday I stopped by my LCS to pick up some silver rounds. He was sold out, so he offered me some ASEs for the same premium as he usually charges for rounds - the catch is, they were covered in some sort of gluey-hardened goop.

I figured silver is silver so bought 'em, thinking that if I cleaned 'em up I'd have gotten an especially good deal.

It appears that at some time in the past somebody used some sort of unknown (to me) substance to attach these to a makeshift display, and whatever it was they used, it doesn't want to budge. It's not hot glue and it's not contact cement. It doesn't respond to acetone, isopropyl alcohol, or goof-off. I've tried a hot-air gun and I've tried freezing them. I even tried old-fashioned soap & water.

I have managed to peel small amounts of this stuff off, but for the most part, they're still covered with areas of thick, hardened material. Where I have peeled some off the coins are nice and shiny & normal looking underneath.

I'm down to either leaving them as-is, or trying to burn the stuff off with a blow torch.

I figure that there is no way I'm going to get the silver hot enough to melt, and I have a hard time thinking this stuff would stand up to a blow torch, but before I take a torch to an ASE, I thought I'd see if anybody else had an opinion about this. The thing I want to avoid is putting a tone on the coins from the heat, which definitely happens when you heat some metals to temper them.

Any input on how to remove unknown hardened stuff from silver coins is appreciated!

Edited by: Mudsharkbytes on Nov 8, 2014 - 5:27am
Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - 5:31pm
Sterling
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Is it solid or rubbery(ish)?

Is it solid or rubbery(ish)?

Can I offer you a drink? How about this expensive prostitute?
Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - 6:24pm (Reply to #2)
Mudsharkbytes
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Rubberish

Sterling wrote:

Is it solid or rubbery(ish)?

It's rubberish, which is why at first I thought it was hot glue, but a little research told me that hot glue gives up the ghost around isopropyl alcohol, and when that didn't work, I decided it must be something else.

There is some blackish, dark-reddish stuff imbedded in the reeded edges, which will flick out if I use my fingernails with enough diligence, and a few of the coins have areas of reddish, almost a shellack-like stain on them, so I thought maybe it was contact cement, but that dissolves in acetone and when acetone did nothing, I began to think of heat & a blow torch, but I'm not comfortable with taking that kind of heat to an ASE without having some sort of idea if it'll be okay or not. Sure, it'll still be silver, but I'd hate to screw up the appearance of these coins if there's a better way to remove this vile substance.

Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - 10:06pm (Reply to #3)
Sterling
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The only thing other than

The only thing other than acetone that I can think of is maybe some bug and tar remover that you use to get bugs and tar off your car. I keep thinking about it though.

Can I offer you a drink? How about this expensive prostitute?
Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - 11:35pm
mdcromer
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You could try the oven at 500

You could try the oven at 500 degrees.

Thu, Jul 14, 2011 - 12:58am
Mudsharkbytes
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Torched 'em

Well, the more I thought about it the more I decided the worst that could happen if I try it is I deface one of 'em, so I decided to give it a try.

I fired up the torch & held one with a pair of pliers and put the heat to it. The whole coin started smoking and the glue & other goo turned black, then as I continued to apply the heat, it all disappeared and I was left with a clean coin.

Lucky thing the pliers were big with a rubber grip because they got really hot.

I set the coin down on a metal vice and proceeded to burn the crap off of the rest of the coins. Didn't take long, was kind-of fun, actually, and all the coins came out spotless. Garage stunk to high heaven afterwards, though.

My LCS had some of them left, so I might go back there tomorrow and get the rest of them as long as I can get the same reduced premium. Dirty eagles for the price of generic rounds is okay with me if I can burn the goo off!

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 - 8:07am
mdcromer
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Pretty cool!  Guess you

Pretty cool! Guess you really "cleaned up" on this deal!

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 - 8:52am
Indentured_Servant
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Sounds like Urathane (sp) adhesive.

Also known as Shoo Goo. Very tough and flexible. In some ways it's stronger than steel. Not sure if they make a remover for it but sounds like hell fire did the trick.

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