Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Photographing Coins In An Effective Way

In this article we will talk about our coin's background or as an artist what I call negative space. There are a few simple color tips I will share with you and perhaps you will be somewhat enlightened and better able to create good negative space choices that will enhance your coin photos.

I am sure most know about warm and cool colors. Warm colors lie on the red and yellow side of the color spectrum. Conversely, we find cool colors on the blue and green side of the spectrum. I could expound on the statement I just made endlessly but that is not our objective. When photographing our coins we need know that our primary objective is to focus on the coin and our enabling objective is to present the coin in the most pleasing way we can. The coin is our central subject matter. The negative area should be highly secondary to presenting our coin in the best environment possible.

Warm colors advance and are very difficult to use effectively in a negative area. The warm colors distract from our coin, our central subject matter, so remember we are interested in the coin presentation and not a handsome negative area. Warm colors will almost always dominate our coin composition.

Cool colors recede and are the easiest to work with when presenting a coin. However, this depends on the value and intensity of the color I choose. Please observe the pics you see above and you will find that I purposefully included what I consider to be both good and bad color choices. Please understand that I am not saying a particular color is not "pretty." I am simply saying there is a consummate way in which we can best present our coin. We can use pretty colors in our landscape compositions, etc.

We will now move on to white and black. White is the presence of all colors and black is the absence of all colors. After spending a few years photographing coins I think I prefer white as opposed to black. The black and white thing is very personal and there is no right or wrong, simply a matter of preference.

I would like for you to perform the following exercise. Cut a square hole roughly the size of one of the coins you see posted above. Center the hole in a sheet of your copy paper. Now move the coin from pic to pic and concentrate on what you are seeing. Are you seeing the coin or are you looking at the negative area. Find the pic you like best. REMEMBER, we are interesting in diminishing the pictorial value of the negative area.

If the space in and around the coin is our negative area is negative space then what do I call the coin space? I call the coin the positive space. That is the object we want the viewer to see in and above all else. Once more, we are not speaking of pretty; we are speaking of effective coin presentation.

I hope this will help with your coin compositions and presentations. I am always ready and eager to help others when and if I can. Please feel free to ask whatever you like and I will try to help. One quick thing, never use texture in your negative space. Texture clutters and moves the eye away from the coin.. Merry Christmas and God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"TEST CUT" What And Why?

"Test Cut" What and Why? Apparently counterfeit coins have been around since ancient times and one of the most common methods of counterfeiting was to coat a bronze or copper coin with a silver wash. The answer to counterfeit or not was for the potential recipient of a questionable coin was very often a test cut.

The test cut was a readily easy method to expose the "innards" of the coin and reveal what was beneath the coin's surface. Some would scratch the coin's surface while some would cut a large gash as we often see in ancient silver coins. I have wondered what transpired if the coin was proven to be counterfeit.

Was the owner of the coin hauled off to prison? Was there a penalty for owning said coin? Perhaps our ancient coin scholars will be able to enlighten us. I suspect the cut most often revealed a good coin but sadly for many, we have inherited the products of the mistrust of our ancestors.

As I search for coins to add to my collection, I have observed that the Athenian Owl appears to be the coin most often attacked. I am sure there is a reason why the Athenian Owl was so mistrusted. If my observation is correct, I think our coin scholars will step forward and explain.

I recently ordered quite a few test cut coins and must admit I find the coins very interesting or at least I find the psychology of the test cut interesting. I am awaiting arrival of my coins and will own for the first time a test cut coin. I really want to hear from all who are willing to share. Post to my blog and others will be able to read your opinions.. Thank you and Merry Christmas.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Coin Enthusiasts: Locate Stolen Laptop

A stolen laptop is just one thief away. We all know the price of laptops and even more the personal data we could potentially lose would be a nightmare. With all this in mind has created a freeware program that can help us track a stolen computer.

I have read very good reviews about Prey and I suspect many individuals will be adding the program to their computers. In essence, Prey sends out timed reports from a missing or stolen laptop, containing information on the laptop's status and location. Network and wi-fi information is also provided. If really fortunate, you may capture a pic of the thief!

Remember, this is all free and installation is a piece of cake. In addition, Prey is open source, which leaves open the possibility of better things to come. If you decide to give Prey a shot, please let me know what you think. I would love to see reviews from our ancient coin enthusiasts.

Prey had the following to say about their program. "Prey is a lightweight application that will help you track and find your laptop if it is ever stolen. It works with all operating systems and not only is it Open Source but it is also completely free." I Pray you had a great holiday and I Pray you have a Merry Christmas.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Friday, November 11, 2011

Which Coin Are You Buying

Have you ever bought a coin and were surprised when the coin arrived? The visual appearance was pretty much unlike what you thought you were buying? Perhaps the coin you bought had been post-edited or Photo Shopped. Photo Shopping is a method employed by a seller to enhance the coin and make it look better on the web than the coin actually looks in hand. I have found this to be a very common practice and less than ethical in my opinion.

Take a look at the photos above to see what I speak of. The photos on top are the way the coin really looks in hand. I think the bottom photos make the coin look much better. I simply took the coin into PS and dropped the values a couple of clicks. As a result, I have a much better looking coin than the coin in hand. There are many vendors out there who have much more expertise than I do when using Photo Shop and they can make a poor quality coin look very fine.

With a modicum of effort I have found that I can easily hide a coin's pitting, change the coin's color, or even repair a broken or chipped coin using PS or some other photo editor. Is this a common practice? I can only say I know the problem is there to some degree.

There are preventative steps that can be taken to help you when dealing with an unscrupulous dealer. Over the years I have gotten to know my dealers and I only encounter the problem I allude to on rare occasions. Get to know your dealers and keep a list of the good and the bad. Don't be shy, ask the dealer if the coin is as represented. Ask the dealer if the coin has been touched up using any kind of post processing program.

I think the best vendor to deal with is one who will unconditionally accept returned coins if the buyer is unhappy with his or her purchase. There are many ethical dealers who will accept returned coins so one can be selective when making a coin purchase. Again, keep a list of honest dealers you buy from as I do.

I hope my article enlightens you and makes you more aware of a problem that exists within our ancient coin community. Allow me to reinforce what I said earlier. I find most dealers to be highly ethical and I have found the unethical dealers to be small part of ancient coins. Don't be afraid to ask the questions you need to ask and you will be a much happier ancient coin collector.. Have a wonderful Thanks giving and God Bless..

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ancient Coins: Save Money

Perhaps I should have said save money on accessories. I was about to run out of coin envelopes so I shopped for the best prices on the small manila envelopes and was surprised at the escalated prices. I did locate one vendor online who had the best price. I have an Office Depot right down the street so I decided to see what they had in the store.

The in store price were a few bucks more than my online source and I told the salesman I had found them cheaper online. He asked for the source, looked it up and matched the price. I assume this is true with other items also. This may not be a big deal to many but with the economy as it is, I am always happy to save about four bucks.

I think I will try this with other items also. I hope I save you a few bucks. Please let me know. By the way, I bought 500 2 1/4" X 3 1/2" Kraft 28 pound envelopes for $17.64 including 7% Mississippi sales tax. I also bought the sealable at this price.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cleo VII: Do You Prefer This Or This?

I recently bought a group of uncleaned coins from an Ancient Peddler member. As you can see from the photo above left, I felt I was taking a chance but I decided to take the dive anyway. I have been Zapping coins for close to ten years using techniques I have developed and I thought I saw something in the photo the vendor provided. I am very pleased with the results I get and I am very pleased with the results of this Zap.

In the middle pic you see the obverse after the Zap. The pic on the right depicts the reverse of the coins subsequent to the Zap. It took a bit of Zapping and prodding to reach the coins' surfaces. I keep plenty of Bamboo Skewers handy to aid me in removing the crud as I Zap. One quick thing. Click on pic to enlarge.

My question to my Anti-Zapping friends is as follows: Would you prefer to own the coins on the left or would you prefer to own the coins on the right. I have been under the weather but I am always happy to talk with anyone about my Zapping. If you have questions, observations or cruddy coins for sale I would love to hear from you. I am too old to engage in bickering and I have no interest either so I will not go that route.. May God Bless us and our Nation.. Jerry..

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spruce Up Your Ancient Coin Photos

I have an old copy of Adobe PhotoShop 7 and I know just enough about PS 7 to help with a few issues. For the past few days I have busied myself playing with PS tools with which I am not familiar. I have surprised myself and I suggest you do the same if you are a PS novice as I am.

The photograph you see above is the product of trial and effort. I created plenty of photo copies and began making an effort to learn something new about each tool. Those of you who know me know that I dislike linear programs very much. In spite of this I am quite pleased with what I have accomplished.

Most of all, I have learned some things about PS I would not have known otherwise. I played with tools I had never used and I tried new settings I had never used. Give it a shot and surprise yourself as I did.. God Bless.. Jerry

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do You Know Billon About Your Coins?

I am opening the floor for a discussion about ancient billon coins. I have never really gotten around to learning my billon so after a bit of reading I have the following information. I think we will get varying responses to what billon is and is not. That is fine. Let us know what you think, please.

I have read where some say billon coins contain a high content of either gold or silver. This is contrary to what I found. Allow me to back up and state that billon coins have been around a long time and we find billon coins created by the Greeks and we find billon coins still being produced in the Middle Ages.

OK, back to billon and metal content. The best I can tell billon is an alloy of either gold or silver with a very high percentage of a base metal such as copper. However, I saw where one source indicated a billon coin to have "about one-fifth silver to four-fifths copper." My thesis is that billon varied greatly from era to era and mint to mint.

A good gentleman, Tony Clayton, in "Metals Used in Coins and Medals" has stated that billon is a silver alloy with more that half copper content.
From the nominal amount I have shared we can already see we may be all over the place with our "billon theories" and what a billon coin really is.
I look forward to responses and I hope you will share your opinion.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fast Track To Good And Better Coin Photos

I am sharing my basic coin photography setup for good and quick coin photos. I realize you will not have the same photography items as I have but I think the photograph and article will steer you in the proper direction.

First of all, I will share a few things that are a given for obtaining highly decent coin photographs. Look at the photograph you see above and you will see more than the two lights I use in my basic setup. Focus on the two lights on either side of the inverted "tea container." You will see two flex-arm lights. These are the two lights I use in this exercise. I use fluorescent bulbs in the 5000 to 6500 Kelvin range.

I find that my cameras will easily adjust to these K numbers. Many of the fluorescent bulbs are around 2500 K and you want to avoid these bulbs when using for coin photography. Home Depot used to have a 5500 K bulb and that is one of the numbers I like. I assume they still carry the 5500. WalMart also has a good selection of fluorescent bulbs.

Don't depend on the "daylight" fluorescent to be a good bulb for coin photography. Daylights are often too far towards the yellow side of the spectrum and yellow is very difficult to work around when trying to balance your lighting. You should find the Kelvin designation on either the bulb or the container. If I don't find a K designation I then assume the bulb is in the 2500 K range and I don't buy.

When I buy bulbs I make sure I write the K number on the bulb base before tossing the cardboard container. I use 10 to 15 watt bulbs. However, I see no reason not to use the 25-watt bulbs. Next I need to explain the plastic container before moving on.

I discovered the effective application of the tea container a couple years ago and I use the term tea container very loosely. The container is a two-quart translucent or frosted container. The container admits light but filters as it does thus dispersing and softening the light as the light bounces around the inside of the container.

Back to the flex-arm lights. One could use very inexpensive goose neck lamps just as well as the lights you see I am using. Our objective is to enable us to place the lights where we need them so use whatever works for you. My setup looks a bit cluttered but that is the way I work. Fortunately you cannot see the remainder of my art/coin studio!

The frosted container (Sterilite brand) can be found at WalMart for less than three dollars. I often see the containers at Dollar Stores for about the same price. The containner is a two quart container size. The following is very important so please follow my directions. You will need to cut the entire bottom out of the container. As I recall I used an Xacto knife and Xacto knives can very dangerous!

If there is any question as to your ability, please ask a skilled person to cut the bottom for you. There is more than one way to cut the bottom from the container. In the photograph above you will see I have my lens centered over the upside down container. Remember I have cut the bottom out of the container. When using my setup I place my coin on a 1" length dowel about 3/8" in diameter. I keep plenty of dowels of various lengths and diameters handy and use the proper height and diameter as the coins demand.

I have no idea what kind of camera you use but I see no reason why one cannot use any digital with a macro setting. A shutter release timer is great to use. The delay timer eliminates the need to grasp the camera which could result in "camera shake." You also need to be able to adjust your white balance. Often the normal daylight setting is fine when using the Kelvin I have suggested.

If you do use the setup I am suggesting, please spend lots of time moving the lights around until you find what works for you. This setup is very forgiving and works wonderfully well once you learn how to properly disperse your lighting. Move the lights up and down and in and out as you practice. Remember, the lights do not need be at the same level. For example one light may be higher on one side than the other in order to adjust your lighting. We now need to practice, practice and practice some more. The more coins you photograph and the more you experiment with your lighting the better coin photographer you will be.

I have shared what I consider to be the most expeditious method for getting good photo images. This is for Newbies but not Newbies only. I have gotten good and positive feedback from others who have been photographing coins for years. Is it a professional setup? No. Is the setup for those who want to share their coin images in a clear and effective way? Yes. I get really good results when using this method and I assume you can do the same.

I may have left something out you need to know. If so, please write to me and I will be happy to answer. God Bless.. Jerry..

Monday, March 7, 2011

How Can I Share This In A Delicate Way

Well I did it. I guess we ancient coin cleaners will stoop to most any substance or solution in an effort to create a coin that is pleasing to the eye. One of my AP Good Brothers buried coins in cow patties in search of a better patina so after searching for horse urine and failing I made the decision to try human urine. I had read that horse urine is brushed on copper roofs in Europe to darken the patina. This was the genesis of my HU experiment.

There is no delicate way to treat this subject matter other than head on and with a great deal of honesty. I don't think there is a need to divulge the source of the urine other than to say the source is very handy. Also if my friend can use cow dung why not use HU?

OK, I don't have pics but pics should be forthcoming. The greatest thing is the urine works on bronze. I brushed the surface of what is close to a cull and I brushed until all patina was gone. I had a very, very bright flan of bronze to work with. I dropped the coin into solution and within seconds the coin was darkening and after 10 minutes or so the coin/cull was about 5 values darker.

No doubt we potentially have a winner here. I suspect many will be trying the technique on Zapped coins. One nice thing is the dark value appears to be "locked" to the coin. I was unable to wipe off ANY residue from the coin with a bright white rag. To be honest I am surprised no one has tried this one.

I know it works. The condition of the cull I used simply does not do justice to the process. For those so inclined give it a try and please share your results with me. Be sure there is no wax or oil on the coin. The oil and wax will resist the U. Scrub the coin well with a good dish washing detergent, dry and avoid handling the coin with fingers. I moved the coin about and flipped in solution using my Bamboo stick.

I suspect I may be the butt of jokes for a period of time as a result of my latest contribution to the coin world. That is fine and I realize we are all laughing together. However, there will be those who will thank me. Be sure and let me know what kind of results you get. I think HU is a good reference term.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Transforming The Ugly To Beautiful

The coin you see above left is a coin I zapped a couple days ago. After Zapping the coin I wished I had photographed the coin before Zapping. The coin was covered with an ugly black residue and was unlike anything I had encountered. It was ugly!

It would be great it you could contrast what was an abysmally ugly coin with the lovely coin you now see. I bought the coin at a very good price because of the condition. The coin now has a beautiful luster and I plan to continue to patinate until the coin is a bit darker.

I hope you enjoy and if you want to take a shot at Zapping simply join CoinZappers and we will get you started. The URL is as follows and when you join simply state that Jerry invited you: Thanks and God Bless.. Jerry..

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wonderful Free Ancient Coin Backup Program

I stumbled across an incredibly simple to use storage box that I just love. It is so simple even this right-brained Old Man can use. The program is and provides members with 2GB of free storage that works with Windows, Mac and Linux. I think it is great backup for all of us who are interested in coins.

I think it took me about five minutes total to install Dropbox and have it operational. I can almost guarantee you will love the simple but somewhat powerful little program. In fact, I look forward to some of you computer gurus downloading Dropbox and letting me know what you think.

I repeat that this great little program is a service that allows us to store up to 2GB of information for free. The Dropbox folder syncs to your computer, smartphone and other web browsing devices. There is nothing to configure and it is very fast.

Dropbox can be accessed from anywhere so one can even access coin files from a distant coin show. I can easily think of many uses for DB. One can list recipes, shopping lists, diet information, and passwords on DB. We are only limited by our imagination. I have had DB installed for 20 minutes or less and I already have coins pics installed.

I give this baby a 10 out of 10. I hope you like it as much as I do and please share your opinions.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Friday, February 4, 2011

Often It Is Not The Glitz

The flash of a flushed blue bird, the textured grain of weathered wood, the lines in an old man's creased face, a broken egg shell. Often it is not gold nor is it silver. Sometimes it is the face of a long forgotten and well worn coin. Beauty is where we find it.

The coin attached to this post oozes character and beauty and it is not gold. I looked beyond the city and I looked beyond the facades and I found beauty at my feet. Take your time and learn to see. We may look and not see.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Detergent: Ancient Coin Easy Clean

Are you looking for a kind and gentle way to clean stubborn dirty ancients? If so, I have a solution I consider very kind and gentle. You may know by now that I discourage all from using what I call "hard tools." A hard tool is a dental pick or anything harder than wood.

There is no doubt one will end up with a scarred and scratched coin if hard tools are used. I am an advocate of archival Zapping but that is another story. This is my solution to those of you who are timid about using my Zapping approach.

This is step one so let's get busy cleaning your coin or coins. Purchase or pilfer a bit of dishwashing detergent from mom or from your spouse. Be CERTAIN you use a detergent with grease remover. In fact, I suggest you use a detergent with an extra heavy degreaser. My theory is the degreaser makes for better penetration through the crust.

Begin with a simple scrubbing. I still believe in the good old toothbrush with the shortened bristles. The clipped toothbrush tool will provide one with more leverage. The good old stiff bristled brushes are difficult to find so I suggest the following. Remove, with scissors, about 3-4mm of the bristle length.

OK, I want you to do the following to clean the coin. Place the coin on a bath cloth or towel to help hold the coin in place. One can use the eraser end of a lead pencil to help hold the coin in place. Place a small amount of detergent on the coin and dip your toothbrush in water and scrub away. Please hold your brush parallel to the coin so as not to dig the plastic into the coin's surface. You WILL remove some dirt. Repeat as often as necessary to clean the coin or repeat until you realize your efforts or fruitless. In other words we want a clean coin or we want to move to step two.

Hello! This is step two. I see you failed to clean the coin satisfactorily in step one. Don't despair. Please follow directions and select a small plastic tub about 3" to 4" in diameter. It should be about 2" to 4' tall. Choose a container with a lid. Place about 1 tablespoon of the same detergent liquid in the container and fill the remainder of the container to within 3/4' or so of the top with water.

Place a reasonable number of coins in the container and set aside. Perhaps 1-7 coins. We want the coins to soak for a few days. Place the container and coins in a place where you will see them several times a day. Don't forget the lid! Lift the container and swish about for several seconds. Please swish and don't bang the coins about. Swish has a nice and gentle sound and that is the movement we want.

As you watch TV there is no reason not to swish the coins. I think any agitating action must help. What do you think? Don't expect the coins to be cleaned overnight. Please be patient. The encrustation is being softened and lifted. All depends on how hard the crust is.

When the water is dirty you may want to change water and detergent. I am not sure this helps but I think it is encouraging to see dregs and dirty solution poured off the coins. Patience is what we need using this method of cleaning.

I have one more application for you. If you look at my blog, and I will share the URL: you will find an article I published about making Jerry's Bamboo Tools. The Bamboo tool(s) are invaluable to me. I use the 1/8"diameter Bamboo skewers.

Just as shown in the blog article, cut the skewers in half length wise and create several different kinds of points to aid in probing and prodding the coins surface. We are attempting to loosen as much crust as possible. As the coins are soaking remove the coins periodically and prod, push and loosen whatever dirt or crust will fall away. This really expedites your cleaning and makes for greater success. You may want to "Bamboo" the coins once a day or once a week. I hope this method helps you clean your coins and I would love to hear from you and I would enjoy learning about the degree of success you have. Please bookmark my blog and join if you like.

This method will clean the coins. It is simply a matter of how long and could become a generational thing! God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Greek Coin: Should I Have Zapped?

I chose to Zap the coin you see above. The coin was a "tweener" and I could have filed it away and forgotten about it. However I chose to Zap the coin and I am very pleased with the results. In hand the coin has a nice rich texture and it also has what will become a nice rich patina.

I will allow the coin to patinate for a month or so before using my stop bath and I can already tell I will have a very nice coin. One upside is that I paid very little for the coin because of condition and I am well pleased.

As an art professor I did a bit of restoration work on a few paintings and I see my work with my Zapped coins from pretty much the same perspective. I am correcting and pleasing my eye. As I age (71 February 6Th) I am still blessed with a keen eye and my sense of design is what it was 50 years ago.

As a painter and teacher I was never in bondage to tradition and I feel the same about my coins. If you like my coin then we are on the same page. If not, I accept your position. I would never be upset or angry because another does not agree with me.

If you have an interest in Zapping, I will be happy to share the knowledge I have developed over the past several years. If you like my post please take a look at my blog. The URL is as follows: I experiment a great deal with coin photography and you may find something that will help you there also.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Brief And Concise History Of Rome

Capitolium.Org is the publisher of the following article and I give them full credit. I find the article to be an excellent quick reference source. God Bless.. Jerry..

Rome and its numerous centuries of history officially began in 753 B.C. on the slopes of the Palatino hills, when the Etruscans and Greek colonies occupied areas nearby. Tradition gave Romulus the paternity of the village, tracing in the boundary with a plow.

From 509 B.C. until 27 B.C., the republican supreme authority governed and was elected each year by the citizens, establishing the base of civil law.

Rome, once a village, became the capital of an empire in a few centuries and, with the Punic Wars, the undisputed ruler of the Mediterranean Sea.

The territorial and population expansion called for a redefinition of the "republic", or the state. After the assassination of Caesar (44 B.C.) affluent men disputed over the next successor of the new regime-the princedom: Marco Antonio, Cleopatra's ally, or Caesar's adopted son Octavian, both of who shared the rule after Caesar's death. The "princeps" (from primum caput" or "first citizen") founded an empire in a unified and peaceful order that lasted until the III century A.D. ("pax romana"). It was during these centuries that the Roman empire reached its splendor.

With the III century A.D. Rome gradually lost its central role as a kingdom of vastness and universality, until Diocletian separated the empire into two parts, profoundly restructuring economy, finance, politics, and bureaucracy. This guaranteed Rome a new century of prosperity while Christianity became officially authorized in 313 A.D. by Constantine the Great with the issued edict in Milan, contributing to the support of the regime.

In that period, Rome had about 4 million citizens (free men, slaves excluded) and an empire of over 50 million.

In the IV century the nucleus of the empire began to move toward the orient, after successive invasions by Barbarians, Visigoths, and Vandals, that also came to plunder the city of Rome.

In the VI century, the Roman empire began to disappear, leaving its mark in history as having created and unified the so-called "civil world".

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Free Ancient Coin Containers: Roman Or Greek

just picked up a KFC meal today and I was very pleased to find a great looking plastic container in the box. Please take a look at the attached pic. I think of myself as a practical person. Some would use the expression "cheap" I plan to drop by and see if the manger will let me have a few containers to go Otherwise I will work each table and ask for the customer's empty plastic containers. I am too old to do any dumpster diving.

I filled the unit with water and it holds 1/2 cup. I suspect it will hold about 200 AE 3s/4s. I worked the container over and find it to be really sturdy and the lid snaps on and off beautifully. I admire good design and this little puppy is some designer's David. It is wonderfully constructed and appears to be better than the Dollar Store containers I purchase.

The data on the bottom of the container is informative and the legend is as follows: "Microwave & Top Rack Dishwasher Safe." My opinion is that KFC has done a remarkably good job in presenting to the public a great green product. I suspect these will be around for years to come.

I plan to talk with KFC on Monday and see if the plastic has any kind of acid, which I doubt since it is used as a food container and since one is encouraged to reuse as a food container. My opinion again but I think KFC has unwittingly made a tremendous contribution to the ancient coin world. What did we used to say as kids? If you don't want yours, I will take it? I will send my addy upon request.. I value your opinions so let me know what you think.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Organic Repatination of "Coins I have Zapped"

One of our more illustrious and loved members has shared his method for creating an ancient coin patina. Allen has provided permission for me to publish and I thank him for doing so. I state that I have never used the technique. However, I never question the veracity of Allen's word nor do I question the depth of Allen's intelligence and creativity. Thank you so much my friend. The following is Allen's post to Paul and to our Ancient Peddler group.

Paul et al:
As Jerry has already indicated in another e-mail to the group, I experimented a few years back with creating an organic mixture to speed-up the patination process after zapping. This was after I had read an article in a local paper on techniques used in past centuries for darkening bronze and brass fixtures.

As Jerry stated, I use animal droppings. To be more specific, I use ripe cow pies. My formula is to mix these droppings with water (well water in my case but I assume distilled water would work as well) at a 2:1 ratio (patty to water).

I place the mixture in a flat wooden box (similar in size and shape to a 24 can beer carton) which I marked off into 1" squares (ala the Sq. Ft. gardener's technique). Into this moist slurry-like mixture, I place the overly cleaned AEs and record their precise square assignment as to date and location for future retrieval. Then I cover the box with a torn piece of old burlap sack and store outdoors exposed to the weather. Occasionally. I moisten the burlap but otherwise I leave nature to take its course.

Approximately 6 months later (sometimes sooner if we were experiencing a particularly hot summer), I retrieve one or two coins for examination using a plastic (disposable) spoon.

Approximately 70% percent of the time, the coin has a nice mellow, light green coloration. Longer internments result in darker greens. For the remaining 30% of the coins, no change is noted. I do not know why but to paraphrase, "many are called but fewer are chosen"

I bake the retrieved coins in the oven (no, momma is not aware of this step) at the oven's lowest setting for approximately 15 minutes on each side. This is to harden the patination. After they cool down to room temp, a little Ren Wax is applied and that seems to insure a nice finish.

It works. I am sure someone with a more chemical/scientific background could give specific reasons but to this old coin collector, success is enough of a reason to continue with the process.

Best of luck,
Allen (lexemt4)
p.s. (for Jerry, I always include a p.s. - please feel free to copy this and send it on to Coin Zappers if you wish)

Thanks again my good friend. Allen's post serves to illustrate what ancient coin enthusiasts are willing to do for our hobby! God Bless.. Jerry..

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Save Money On PayPal Mailing

This article is for those who use Pay Pal as their primary source of mailing coins and artifacts. For the past couple of years I have been printing my labels and adhering the mailing label to my flat with tape. My old method makes for a very unattractive presentation. Also,the purchased labels are expensive.

The following is my solution to what has been a problem for me. I continue to use the "normal" 20 pound paper I buy at discount prices. I think I pay about $3 for 500 sheets of 8.5 X 11 inch copy paper. I can print two labels per page so this translates to 1000 labels.

Next, I solved the taping problem by switching to a spray adhesive I bought at WalMart for less than $5.00. I bought the cheapest can of spray with the expectation that I would need to return the product and switch to a more expensive spray adhesive. As it turns out, I think this is the best adhesive I have ever used.

The product is an 11 ounce spray can with amazing adhesive qualities. I can only assume great strides have been made with the new adhesives. I bought "Aleene's Tacky Spray." The term Tacky is somewhat misleading. The product has remarkable bonding qualities and I could not be more pleased. I did some testing and I am unable to remove the sprayed and adhered paper without tearing the paper. The adhesive will not separate. Really great stuff!

I have used spray adhesive for many years and I am going to guess that one will get at least 400-500 adhesion's per can. It could run into the hundreds. We shall see. If you choose to use the product, please be careful about inhalation. I step out on my back porch and spray.

I suggest using my method for spraying the label. First, locate a piece of cardboard somewhat larger that the label, place the label on the cardboard and spray. The cardboard can be used repeatedly since the over spray hardens after sitting for a couple of hours. Follow the directions on your product for setup time. Aleene's suggests one minute. Some sprays encourage longer setup time. I am incredibly pleased with my new method and you guys can do the math on what I am spending per label assuming I do get 400-500 or so labels.

I hope you will give my technique a try. I don't think one could be more pleased. One thing. One could switch to a 24 pound paper but I find the 20 pound paper to be more than adequate. One other thing, I would love for one of you math whizzes to do the cost per math and share with us. If you try my method, please let me know what you think. I could not be more pleased.. thanks and God Bless.. Jerry..

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Easy Simple And Gentle Coin Cleaning

Out good friend and CoinZapper Moderator Shawn (The Lone Knight) has provided us with the following quickie coin cleaning exercise. Shawn has used the method and I look forward to giving it a try. Shawn, thank you very much for sharing.

First, mix 5 grams of sodium carbonate in 100ml of distilled water. This translates as follows: 5 grams is approximately 1 heaping teaspoonful and 100ml is about 1/2 cup of water. I suggest you use distilled/deionized water. Proceed by wrapping your crusty coin in a double layer or "pocket" of aluminum foil. One should form a cup shaped wrap to hold the solution. Add an adequate amount of solution to the cup shape and then place inside a very small plastic container of appropriate size. At this point, add the remainder of the solution.

The aluminum foil will deteriorate because the foil is acting as a sacrificial anode. The process can be continued for an indefinite period of time until the coin is clean since the the process is so mild, gentle and non-aggressive.

I have had success with this method on many coins but other coins needed to be Zapped even after the process. However, the coins may not have needed the additional Zap if I had been a bit more patient and continued the process for longer than three days.

I suggest this coin cleaning method for those who are not quite ready to Zap and are looking for an alternative method to cleaning coins. Shawn I am sure our membership(s) thank you for your contribution as I do.. God Bless.. Jerry..