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Signs of Cleaning?


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I purchased an 1873 Seated Liberty Dollar from a reputable dealer. I have many a coin form this dealer that's passed muster no matter how I tilt, turn, twist, stare or otherwise inspect the coin.


I get the coin and inspect it as well as I can through the plastic of the sealed flip. It looks fine, possibly dipped in the past. Dipped i'm willing to live with, mechanically abraded I simply do not want. Purists may tsk disapprovingly at this point.


Everything looks fine so far. I open the holder to check the weight before placing the coin in the album. Now, and only now, I notice that the areas around some of the stars and in the fields along the more raised edges of the devices (for example, the area of field between the eagle's right shoulder and neck) look different than the fields. These "protected" areas look silver, while the open areas of the field areas appear "golden" and a bit more lustrous. The edges of these areas almost look like watermarks.


The question is - do we have a whizzer or buffer at work, or does normal wear 'miss' those areas? Is this what a normally worn yet dipped coin will look like?


I'll post photos taken through a microscope soon. I'll discuss what I've found with the dealer. My suspicion is that they'll stand firm on their "you open the holder, it's yours" policy; maybe they'll agree that the coin was not accurately described and we can work something out.

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Although without seeing the coin I obviously cannot be sure, but it sounds like an old cleaning that re-toned. Wear takes down the devices before any other part of the coin, the open areas of the fields are lightly affected on Xf-Au coins, with the possibility of a change in appearance around the design. From the sounds of it though, its all over the fields, which could be whizzed (unlikely buffed, it would be all over the coin, especially the high points), or wipped down.


But, an old coin like that, even cleaned, if it looks nice I still buy it. I don't worry about retoned cleanings if they didnt overly harm the coin, or destroy detail. I have a few great coins that were cleaned long ago, and retoned beautifully, including a nice seated half with a golden color all over. Boils down to, do you like how it looks, does it fit your collection, and would you regret keeping it?

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That haze can be one of two things, either left over traces of what used to be mint lustre, or unlceaned metal. But, from what I can see there are no visible signs of alterations to the coins surfaces, and in general seems to be a really nice coin. Seated dollars are VASTLY unappreciated. (Maybe they will jump in price soon just like everything else did 10 years ago!)

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Difficult judging photos, especially through plastic, but it doesn't really seem like a bad coin.


Just to clarify - you're not looking at it through the plastic, the coin was photographed resting on top of the flip - easy way to put the coin on a soft surface that I trusted rather than the hard lab bench.


I did feel better about the coin after looking at it under the microscpe, the "halo" effect around the devices looks more like toning than whizzing - I can't see any evidence of scratches or rubbing. Some areas of the more golden areas appear to be picking up additional colors.


Perhaps it was once a darkly toned coin that had received a dip?


Thanks for your input.

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