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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 10-21-2002, 06:36 PM   #61
Nota Bene
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Ibaya,

There are many ways to apply artificial patina, and it is also possible to subject a medal to certain conditions so that it develops genuine patina. The point is that even if a medal has genuine patina or a patina that looks genuine it does not automaticaly mean that the medal is genuine. Also if an original award is kept for many years close to for instance iodine solution (even in a sealed flask) it will evewntually develop fake patina.

Alexei
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Old 10-22-2002, 02:57 AM   #62
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I wonder how fast genuine patinas occur. That is those without "assistance". I suspect that it is quite variable depending on environment. I bought a Glory III that had been thoroughly polished - I didn't like it but the price was good. Anyway, in my dirty, dusty house it started to darken pretty fast. Our sterling silver tea set also darkens fast when it sits out.

Shawn
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Old 10-22-2002, 04:23 PM   #63
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Shawn,

I never thought about it, but I also suspect it will depend on the environment, and it will certainly develop faster in more humid and warm climate.

Alexei
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Old 10-22-2002, 04:34 PM   #64
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Silver tarnish develops because of sulfur compounds. This includes acid rain. Considering how much coal the Soviet Union burned for power generation and refining, no wonder their awards have such rich, dark patina!

Other items that can produce sulfurous emissions include acidic papers, matches, etc. Storing silver items in drawers, cabinets or boxes with these items can also contribute to tarnishing.
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Old 10-22-2002, 05:01 PM   #65
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Ibaya,

Please don't give no ideas to the bad guys Besides if you heat a silver medal is gasoline flame it will leave black soot on the surface of the medal. After that all you need to do is to let it sit for a while and rub lighty.

It's much easier with brass and bronze items.

Alexei
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Old 10-22-2002, 09:59 PM   #66
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Ibaya,

Since I know which degrees you have and what you do for a living, I hope that you do not give the bad guys any ideas. But this is an imnportant lesson to all of those that look at patina as the sole factor in determining fake or real. It is easy to add a "real" patina, so do not rule out the medals that have been cleaned. And I am not speakin about a fake patina.

Thanks for the knowledge,
Ed
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Old 10-22-2002, 10:41 PM   #67
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Putting a medal or decoration to flame ... that would certainly wreak havoc with any enamel that might be on it!

This kind of information you can get from any college chemistry textbook, and even a search on the WWW, so it's not a secret, finding out how to tarnish silver objects. But you'd also need to have some control over the reaction rate to get a nice, even patina, rather the splotchy kinds that Nota Bene has nicely illustrated on his webpage. That kind of information, I will most definitely *not* divulge!

Given that the former Soviet Union has a good number of engineers and chemists (with PhD's!), I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them put their higher educations to use like this.
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Old 10-23-2002, 02:30 AM   #68
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Ibaya,

Interesting comment about stuff in drawers tarnishing faster. I keep my collection in a "haberdashers" cabinet with glass-fronted drawers. (Or at least I did keep it that way when I was at home in Canada, it is now in a bank safety deposit box.)

Maybe there is something acidic in there - I doubt the wood of the cabinet, the black velvet they sit on, the plain cotton stuffing under the black velvet, or the other orders/medals/badges. BUT, maybe the Soviet papers - award docs and ID books I have in there are acidic enough. Maybe also the award boxes - I only have a few Soviet but I have many Bulgarian, Polish and even one DDR.

The stuff did tarnish even faster than the silverware which sat on an open shelf.

Alexei,

My place was not humid and warm (Canada, eh) although what you say makes sense. It was in fact dry and occasionally warm. But it is an old house and was quite dusty. I found that on the silverware the dust contributes greatly to the tarnishing - maybe the dust carries the acidic elements to the silver faster or in a more concentrated form. But I don't know. (To paraphrase "Damn it Jim, I am an historian not a scientist.")

Shawn
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Old 10-23-2002, 05:56 PM   #69
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Ibaya,

I've tried it on a very damaged Red Star, and it didn't do anything to the enamel. As a matter of fact this "method" is often used after making changes to the serial number. If you rub a silver award with your fingers are they are tarnished it's a good cause for an alarm.

Alexei


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Originally posted by ibaya
Putting a medal or decoration to flame ... that would certainly wreak havoc with any enamel that might be on it!

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Old 10-23-2002, 06:02 PM   #70
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Shawn,

That's an interesting observation. As a matter of fact I am experimenting with a Red Star in my cigar humidifier, and after 4 weeks at 69% humidity it didn't tarnish at all. Of course there are no sulfur compounds in my humidifier

Alexei
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