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Toning Redux


ikaros
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While flipping through my Littleton state quarters album, I have noted that almost all of them are going a rather lovely gold, some of which with blue highlights... which combination of colors wounds an old Buckeye like me, but it is pretty. It doesn't seem to be happening in any of my other books (Whitman albums and folders, and Harris folders, mainly). Some of the Sacagaweas in Harris folders seem to have turned a richer gold, but it's not enough to say for sure that it's toning.

 

The surprising one was the 'spare' state quarters, happily toning in a Harris folder (going mostly bluish with honey highlights, the inverse of the ones in the Littleton album), but the pre-statehood clad issues are not toning the same way, even though they're also in an essentially identical Harris folder, and were stored next to each other.

 

I can't imagine that there was any major content change in the cladding, and the clad dimes in a Littleton folder are unaffected. Any reason why two apparently identical folders holding two sets of content-identical coins should show such different effects?

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I think it may have to do with how effectively the planchetts were washed before striking.

 

Then how would all of the planchets washed one way end up in one folder and those washed the other way end up in the other folder, accounting for the difference in how they are toning?

 

If you are merely trying to say the coins are toning at all because of poorly washed planchets (rather than trying to explain the differences in how they tone), I still don't believe that, because I have loads of state quarters set aside that are not toning at all--how did I get all properly washed ones while Ikaros got the ones that weren't? (Note to self, to go through all those quarters and just spend the vast majority of them!)

 

More likely I think the toning is caused by chemicals in the albums, and that there is a difference between the Harris and Littleton albums, so they cause different toning. Or that Ikaros is storing the two albums differently--different environments would cause different toning too.

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More likely I think the toning is caused by chemicals in the albums, and that there is a difference between the Harris and Littleton albums, so they cause different toning. Or that Ikaros is storing the two albums differently--different environments would cause different toning too.

Yeah, I expect it's different formulations in the paper, but that doesn't explain why the statehoods in the Harris folder are toning, but the pre-statehoods in an identical Harris folder are not, when those two books *are* stored together (and therefore identically). The Littleton is usually out in the living room where I can get at it; the Harrises are backups and usually put away in a box in the bedroom.

 

I am beginning to suspect that there might've been a change in the way the mint handles business-strike planchets that started with the statehood series. That's the only way I can think of to explain why the pre-statehood issues aren't affected. And it's certainly entirely possible -- they might've done something to try to ensure the coins stay lustrous longer, to try to both raise and maintain interest in the series. I just pulled a North Carolina out of change that is virtually pristine, tons of lustre, and that's a ten year old coin now.

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If these are coins that have been undisturbed for 10-12 years, it really could be any number of factors. I would agree that I would first suspect a difference in the chemicals present in that particular album... maybe they assumed the average collector of state quarters would not actually save them for 10 years so they were not as careful to prevent the inclusion of harmful chemicals? After all, they're in it for the money, and will probably cut every corner they calculate they can get away with!

 

Other than that, maybe there is a possibility that the coins were stored in a slightly different environment, or maybe the surface was touched before they were put away for storage?

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If these are coins that have been undisturbed for 10-12 years, it really could be any number of factors. I would agree that I would first suspect a difference in the chemicals present in that particular album... maybe they assumed the average collector of state quarters would not actually save them for 10 years so they were not as careful to prevent the inclusion of harmful chemicals? After all, they're in it for the money, and will probably cut every corner they calculate they can get away with!

 

Other than that, maybe there is a possibility that the coins were stored in a slightly different environment, or maybe the surface was touched before they were put away for storage?

These are all circulation finds, albeit in the best condition I can find. I know I'm careful not to handle them any more than necessary. And they're all toning in exactly the same way -- the ones in the Littleton are going smoky gold with blue highlights, and the ones in the Harris are going blue with goldish highlights. And the non-SHQs, even the very late ones in equivalent condition to the early SHQs, aren't toning at all. I'm satisfied that there is no environmental difference; the two Harris folders were stored upright next to each other and neither book got any direct sunlight -- neither gets any light to speak of, for that matter. I haven't seen any fingerprint-shaped variations in toning, so I am confident I've got coins that saw very little circulation between the mint, the bank, and me.

 

As a side note, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to stop these from toning -- I love the colors they're turning, and hope that they get even more dramatic over time. I have a few nascent bullseyes in both folders.

 

I'm sure chemical differences between the different cardstocks are responsible for the difference between the Littleton toning and the Harris toning -- the Littleton album is a three-ring folder with heavy cardstock pages and plastic sliding tabs (both supposedly archival) and the Harris is just a folder with slots to push coins into (advertised as 'acid-free'). But that still doesn't explain the difference between the SHQs and pre-SHQs in identical folders in identical storage conditions.

 

Delving into my other books, the Roosevelts, which occupy a Harris folder ('65-'03) and a Littleton folder ('04-date), show no signs of toning in either one. Some of the Mercurys in a late-1960s Whitman album are showing a riot of color--but only the ones on the bottom row, I don't know what's going on there, but I think I'll move a few choice samples into some available bottom row slots--including a 1945-S showing strong oranges and blues with a whiff of magenta between them. Only one of the Sacagaweas is showing any toning, and it's in a Whitman folder. The early Presidential dollars in the same folder are not showing any themselves.

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I'm sure chemical differences between the different cardstocks are responsible for the difference between the Littleton toning and the Harris toning -- the Littleton album is a three-ring folder with heavy cardstock pages and plastic sliding tabs (both supposedly archival) and the Harris is just a folder with slots to push coins into (advertised as 'acid-free'). But that still doesn't explain the difference between the SHQs and pre-SHQs in identical folders in identical storage conditions.

 

 

 

When did you buy each of the quarter folders? If there is a significant difference in when you bought the folders... it's possible Harris (or is it Littleton?) changed their production methods between the two times, even if the folders look identical. It's also possible that the mint changed their methods when they went to the state quarters. Looking at circulation figures, they had to ramp up production quickly, so they may (as previously suggested) taken less care with the planchets. (I pooh-poohed this earlier, before I realized that there was a _time_ divide between the coins that didn't tone and the ones that did.) To check the latter possibility--how are the Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey quarters holding up? Those would have low mintages, and presumably predate any reduction in planchet washing caused by having to issue godzillions of the quarters to meet demand.

 

I still lean against planchet washing differences being (solely) responsible because my simple hoard is not toning. But it could still be a combo of slacking off on planchet washing and your albums, and your checking on those early issues would help determine that. (If it turns out to be the combo, don't expect the later issues to tone, because mintages fell dramatically starting in about 2006.)

 

Fortunately, whatever the answer turns out to be, you are happy with the toning!

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When did you buy each of the quarter folders? If there is a significant difference in when you bought the folders... it's possible Harris (or is it Littleton?) changed their production methods between the two times, even if the folders look identical. It's also possible that the mint changed their methods when they went to the state quarters. Looking at circulation figures, they had to ramp up production quickly, so they may (as previously suggested) taken less care with the planchets. (I pooh-poohed this earlier, before I realized that there was a _time_ divide between the coins that didn't tone and the ones that did.) To check the latter possibility--how are the Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey quarters holding up? Those would have low mintages, and presumably predate any reduction in planchet washing caused by having to issue godzillions of the quarters to meet demand.

The Harris folders were bought together, as I recall; needless to say, it's been a while since I got them. But I'm sufficiently sure I got them at the same time.

 

The earliest quarters are toning the same way as the rest; the Delaware shows a bit more blue, but it's been in there the longest. And it's across the board--both Philadelphia and Denver specimens. So if there was a change in procedure, it was across the entire Mint organization, not just at one facility.

 

I still lean against planchet washing differences being (solely) responsible because my simple hoard is not toning. But it could still be a combo of slacking off on planchet washing and your albums, and your checking on those early issues would help determine that. (If it turns out to be the combo, don't expect the later issues to tone, because mintages fell dramatically starting in about 2006.)

Even those are toning. In the Littleton, the 2007-P Montana issue is a fairly strong smoky gold already. Even the Hawaii has a bullseye of gold around the rim already.

 

Since the ones in the Harris turn more blue first, the effect is subtler and not immediately evident in its early stages, so I can't tell if those are going, too.

 

Perhaps it isn't a matter of dialing back the washing phase; maybe they changed the chemicals in the bath?

 

Fortunately, whatever the answer turns out to be, you are happy with the toning!

To the point that I wish there were a safe way to speed the process! I'd love to see where these are going. :)

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To start with Folders and Albums are two different items completely. Remember that any Folder has the coins completely exposed to your fingers, air, humidity and even worse is your breath, which is full of moisture, germs, gasses, etc. Next there is a significent difference in manufacturers of any product and with Folders and Albums, some fairly large differences. Some manufacturers have really poor reputations for thier products. Littleton is one of those with a not so good name for coin purchases, Albums, etc. Dansco lately has become the collectors choice due to really high quality of thier products. Whitman is a sort of odd story. Whitman USED to be the name for anyone that is a collector to use their products. For some reason Whitman sold out to thier employees and they just couldn't figure out how things worked so the quality, variety, availability, etc. went down, down, down. Finally Harris bought them out and it appears that Harris consentrates more on Books than on coin product quality so again, less and less people use thier products.

None of the above really explains your problem though. Any folder is usually made by glue being slapped on to a sheet of paper. Then slotted pieces of cardboard are layed on that and eventually cut to form Folders. That shinny surface you see on the rear of the slots for coins in a Folder is that glue left over from that process. Some people like that since a well worn coin could fall out but if the rear of the coin is wetted, it activates that glue and PRESTO, the coin stays in place.

The above info about that glue is why so many have a problem with coins turning colors. The glues and papers that are anywhere close to humidity tends to effect those coins and turns them color wise and sometimes corrodes them.

I suggest you look into purchasing either a Dansco Album for your coins. If using most others, place them in a Zip Lock Plastic bag to help eliminate moisture attacks of the coins.

A further method of preservation of coinage is to send them all to me. :hysterical:

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A further method of preservation of coinage is to send them all to me. :hysterical:

If I could burn you backups on data DVD, I would. :D

 

I don't mind the toning, in this case. The colors are subtly beautiful, and over time may well grow to be genuinely excellent.

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If I could burn you backups on data DVD, I would. :D

 

I don't mind the toning, in this case. The colors are subtly beautiful, and over time may well grow to be genuinely excellent.

NO not a DVD, only the coins. Imagine for a moment how doing that would accomplish so many problems.

1. You would never have to worry about coins changing colors

2. You would never have to try ordering coin storage materials.

3. You would never have to drive anywhere to purchase coins or coin stuff

4. You wouln't have to spend time on this forum so you would have more time to do important things like mow the grass, mow someone else's grass. Mow my grass.

5. And all your coins would be safe.

 

Meanwhile back to reality. Remember that whatever is creating toning on a coin will continue unless you change whatever is creating that. By that I mean eventually toning will turn either really dark black, dark brown, etc. Toning will continue until it becomes not so nice.

I suggest you watch those coins and when you are satisfied as to thier appearance, find a method of stopping any further toning.

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After seeing this thread, I decided to dig up my album of state quarters (haven't touched it in years) to see if anything happened to mine.... and surprisingly, mine all have a bluish/silver/gold/violet (hard to describe the combination of colors, it changes nicely in the sun or under different lighting) shades to them now... My album is a Whitman.

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After seeing this thread, I decided to dig up my album of state quarters (haven't touched it in years) to see if anything happened to mine.... and surprisingly, mine all have a bluish/silver/gold/violet (hard to describe the combination of colors, it changes nicely in the sun or under different lighting) shades to them now... My album is a Whitman.

Okay, I think the circumstantial evidence that the Mint changed how they handle the planchets when they transitioned to the SLQ series is getting pretty strong, if it's across three different folders/albums. I can't find anything about planchet prep on the mint's website... I may have to simply write and ask. :)

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Okay, I think the circumstantial evidence that the Mint changed how they handle the planchets when they transitioned to the SLQ series is getting pretty strong, if it's across three different folders/albums. I can't find anything about planchet prep on the mint's website... I may have to simply write and ask. :)

It really makes little difference what manufacturer of an Album you use for coins. Mostly the toning problem is from the invironment such Albums are kept. Remember an Album is not really made air tight nor are they made for extended periods of storage. They are mostly for display purposes and a little protection from fingerprints, your breath, some moisture, etc. However, over time what is in the air will effect those coins so a further method of presevation is required if you want to have them in the far future.

I suggest you store all Albums in Zip Lock Plastic Bags.

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It really makes little difference what manufacturer of an Album you use for coins. Mostly the toning problem is from the invironment such Albums are kept. Remember an Album is not really made air tight nor are they made for extended periods of storage. They are mostly for display purposes and a little protection from fingerprints, your breath, some moisture, etc. However, over time what is in the air will effect those coins so a further method of presevation is required if you want to have them in the far future.

I suggest you store all Albums in Zip Lock Plastic Bags.

 

I'd agree with Carl on this one. The album itself has little to do with the actual metal toning. Air and moisture are your biggest contributors.

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I think there's a definite album effect, because they're not toning similarly. If it were environment only, since they're all kept together, they should all be showing the same colors. I would expect, unless they're getting their cardstock from the same supplier, that there are different chemicals present in different books leftover from the manufacturing process, and the Littleton also has plastic slides, where the Dansco doesn't. Over time, there's inevitable outgassing.

 

And it still doesn't explain why the pre-SHQs aren't toning the same way. Weird. I swear I'm not trying to be contrary--just reporting what I'm observing! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think there's a definite album effect, because they're not toning similarly. If it were environment only, since they're all kept together, they should all be showing the same colors. I would expect, unless they're getting their cardstock from the same supplier, that there are different chemicals present in different books leftover from the manufacturing process, and the Littleton also has plastic slides, where the Dansco doesn't. Over time, there's inevitable outgassing.

 

And it still doesn't explain why the pre-SHQs aren't toning the same way. Weird. I swear I'm not trying to be contrary--just reporting what I'm observing! :)

If you notice in any Album, the plastic slides seldom cover more than just the coins. By that I mean they usually barely fit accross the coins. In some Albums, those slides tend to fall a little exposing even more of some, not all, of the coins in that row. Similarly when people push those slides back into place, some do not completely cover the coins or leave a small space on top of bottom of some coins. Some people handle those slides excessively and leave body oils and acids on them prior to pushing them back into place. While inserting coins some people cough, sneeze, breath, etc. and that too leaves something on some coins and not others. If an Album is standing up or laying down also could effect the coins. Laying down the pages are pressed together more allowing less gasses to get to the coins. Standing up, those pages are looser and that also allows gasses to get to some of the coins.

Coins are just metal and there are so many things that effect all metals and many times with different results.

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