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General And Slightly Off Topic Talk Forum for exchanging ideas and talking about general issues without straying too far off topic.

View Poll Results: Repair or not
Leave the damn thing alone! Don't mess with what looks like a period repair 12 54.55%
Have the solder removed to make the serial number readable 9 40.91%
Repair the enamel only 0 0%
Remove the solder AND repair the enamel 1 4.55%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-23-2002, 02:11 PM   #1
Tal Inbar
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Damaged, Repair, Clean, Preserve Soviet Awards And Documents.

That is the question...

If an order from WW2 shows patina from age, is it worth to clean it and restore it's former glamour?

What do YOU do when you have an old piece with a lot of patina?
What recommended cleaning materials you use (for copper, silver and gold)?

Tal

(I personnaly clean some of the orders and all the medals - exept those in mint condition with the very thin layer of coating from the mint).
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Old 03-23-2002, 05:49 PM   #2
Art
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Tal,

Funny you should start this thread..my brother has a suit of armor that he needs to be cleaned with a polish from time to time, otherwise it gets rusty..he asked me, what do you polish your medals with? I started to shudder..I don't think I could ever bring myself polish an award. I will look to see if there is any visible accumulation of dirt or grime. If there is, I will put a drop of dishwashing soap into a shallow bowl, fill with warm water and dip the medallion into the water for 2-3 minutes. Then with a very soft bristle toothbrush, lightly brush away anything. It is very rare I do this though, as I like to leave them intact just as I receive them. Same thing with the ribbons. Some collectors insist on new, clean ribbons..personally I enjoy looking at an Order of the Red Banner with a dirty ripped up ribbon. The condition of an award contains part of its history.

What I will do is put any Order into a protective mylar envelope made for suspended awards. This keeps any further damage to the ribbon from happening and protects the medallion from rubbing against anything and getting scratched.

Interesting topic, let's hear what others have to say..
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Old 03-23-2002, 11:00 PM   #3
Doug
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I'm of the same mind as Art. I like the dark patina that silver accumulates over the years. I think it adds a lot of charactor to the piece. As Art does, I also use mild dish soap to clean off any loose dirt. When finished, I take my wife's hair dryer to them to make sure there is no moisture remaining before putting them away.

I've noticed that Paul M. always makes note of the patina (or lack of it) in his authentications. Genuine patina takes years to accumulate which helps determine authenticy. As we've all learned, the fakers go to a lot of trouble to put fake patina on their wares to try to make us believe they're "right".

I also tend to think of medal collecting in a similar light to coin collecting. Coin collectors never clean their collections. Just my $.02.
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Old 03-27-2002, 07:12 PM   #4
Eugene
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Completely agree with Doug. Medals are treated the same way as coins. Don’t clean it, don’t replace ribbons. Patina is one of the criteria to establish authenticity. Cleaning the medals can reduce their value. The most you can do is to wash in mild soup if they are dirty.
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Old 03-27-2002, 11:33 PM   #5
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Renumbered / Reissued Orders

Often, we come across groups where there are orders that have had an old serial number removed and a new one added. Dealers and collectors often attribute these changes to official replacements for lost orders or reissues for pre 1943 awards. As we know, sometimes these are marked with a "D" but more often, they are not. Interestingly, some dealers even charge more for these official replacements.

I would be interested in knowing the group's opinion of these pieces. Myself, I tend to avoid them because while many are truely official replacements, it seems that it would be easy for the fakers to make the orders fit the groups this way. In any event, it seems that these are still altered pieces and therefore, shouldn't carry the same value as an original as issued group.
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Old 03-28-2002, 06:11 PM   #6
Art
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Doug,

I agree. If I do not know for sure the altered number was the result of it being re-issued or issued as a duplicate I will not advertise it as such. Take for example my Red Banner #2 re-issue ( you can see it in the Orders forum, in the Red Banner thread ). I was so unsure this was an official re-issue I had McDaniel authenticate it.

I was offered an Order of Suvorov last year which had an unusual looking serial number. I had McDaniel take a look at it. Here is his reply. I cropped the letter real tight for space..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 782letter.jpg (15.3 KB, 125 views)
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Last edited by Art; 03-28-2002 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 03-28-2002, 06:42 PM   #7
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Art

Interesting letter...I think the collector value will be low, but Suvorov 3rd class isn't veteran of labor medal...it is very rare, and there must be a value for an original order, even with the number changed.
I saw some orders in Israel, with serial numbers removed by veterans when they left USSR.

Tal
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Old 03-28-2002, 11:30 PM   #8
Art
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Tal,

While switching numbers by a vet so that the award cannot be traced isn't uncommon, I would have preferred an original, unaltered number on such an expensive award. I would have liked having the option to further research the award if I ever desired, with the numbered destroyed it is impossible. Also, for re-sale value I think many collectors would have preferred an un-altered piece. I've always been leary about buying altered awards. My mind starts thinking maybe it was stolen from another collector, or maybe from the original recipient or their family, or maybe it's fake..

Art
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Old 03-29-2002, 10:37 AM   #9
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Good points, Art!

I met a veteran who - because of financial problems - sold his HSU gold star medal, but kept the document, in hoping that some day he will be able to "unite" them again. ( or buying another gold star medal and change the serial number himself - for himself).

Relative of mine smuggled his awards from the USSR inside a piano...

I think the lesson from "re-issue" pieces is simple: AUTHENTICATE them all.

Tal
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Old 03-29-2002, 05:26 PM   #10
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Tal,

Agreed. This hobby is tricky enough trying to weed out the fakes without the extra hassle of changed numbers.

Interesting story about your relative from USSR. What were the awards?

Art
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