Medal collectors might prefer to add their home made patina to the items they collect

The Home Hobbyist column from the Sept. 15, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 09/02/14
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We’re talking about medals. Artists routinely add their own patina artificially using chemicals or heat — potentially dangerous processes (so again, do not attempt!).

To show the difference in a new and home-patinated medal, I used the Kiowa Code Talker example from the U.S. Mint, one of the handsomest in the series.

A light acid can create patina, usually within a month. Some use white wine. I use 5 percent distilled white vinegar (about two cups) in a plastic bowl.

I let the medal bathe in the bowl for a month, flipping it over weekly, until the vinegar develops a faint green color. That indicates the chemical reaction is coming to fruition. Then I take a synthetic fiber scouring pad and gently buff the high points (helmet, rifle, knee on obverse and horse and rider on reverse), further showcasing and adding depth to the devices.

Producers of raw medals can easily apply a patina in a manufacturing process and offer both versions. In my view, raw medals without patinas are akin to unfinished wood furniture that needs a varnish!

What is your view?

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