Electrolysis experiment

Back around August 2003, Tony Jaworski asked me to zap a coin that he had partially cleaned using traditional cleaning methods (distilled water, scrubbing, etc.).  The coin was left with some stubborn concrete hard deposits of dirt.

His idea was to see if hard zapping would hurt the coin in any way (There are some people of the opinion that electrolysis can pit or otherwise damage coins). 

This coin was subjected to 250 milli-Amps of current for 6 hours with intermittent brushings using a brass brush.  The electrolytic solution was made using ordinary tap water and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (sometimes called Super Washing Soda).  The coin was cleaned until it was in a shiny bronze condition. Then I left it zapping for another 3 hours.  You will see from the before and after pictures that the metal shows no signs of degradation.

(Note: the images were taken with a Toshiba PDR-M71 digital camera though a stereo microscope with a 10 power lens).

Clicking on any image will take you to a higher resolution image.


Obverse before electrolysis

Obverse after electrolyisis

close up of obverse legend before electrolysis

Close up of ear before electrolysis

Close up of ear after electrolysis

Reverse after electrolysis

Close up of reverse center after

The coin was repatinated by reverse electrolysis