Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on a topic we've covered before: coins and medals embedded in lucite, and how to free them. Thanks!
E-Sylum reader Nicholas Graver asked me recently what to do with a group of medals embedded in Lucite. He wanted to know if I know anyone who collected these. In a word, NO, I don't.
Embedding medals in Lucite is one of many ways a medal can be mounted. It's ideal because the medal is easily displayed. It does not damage the medal in any way. It can stand alone, be laid flat or become a paperweight. Lucite has some amazing properties. It is crystal clear, it can embed most any shaped object, it can be molded in many forms, yet after it cures it can be machined, cut, and drilled with hand tools. Also, it can be polished if the surface becomes foggy, scratched, dented or otherwise marred.
Yet, it does not appeal to medal collectors who like to handle the medal, to weigh it, measure it, photograph it or whatever a collector is wont to do. But to form a collection of medals entombed in Lucite is somewhat anathema to numismatics.
I do know of collectors of other forms of medal mounting. Cases appeal to collectors. I know of one California dentist who only collects medals in cases. He displays these in his office for his clients to view. Does that soothe the mouth pain?
The subject of how to remove a coin or medal from Lucite came up before in E-Sylum (vol 9, no 3, art 21). It set off a string of comments. I replied with what I remembered from a letter I had received years before from the best authority I could find, a spokesman from DuPont itself, makers of Lucite.
I didn't remember the correct name of the chemical he had mentioned to dissolve away any remaining particles of Lucite after chipping away gross amounts of Lucite. The wrath of E-Sylum readers came down on me the following week (vol 9, no 4, art 22). I had mentioned "warm galactic acetic acid." When I should have said GLACIAL (not galactic) ACETIC
Among those who responded were: Roger Burdette, Peter Gaspar (E-Sylum subscriber #1 and professor of chemistry at Washington University), Benjamin Weiss Ph.D (Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine), Mike Ellis (guru on minting technology and coining errors), Marc McDonald, and Alan V. Weinberg (who freezes the embedments overnight then whacks them with a sledge hammer in his garage the next day). [But don't try his method without reading his total procedure - you have to protect eyes from flying shards.]
But that's not the end of the story. Two years later Robert Neale responded to someone who suggested fingernail polish remover (vol 11, no 25, art 16).
I am constantly amazed at the collective knowledge of E-Sylum readers. You guys know everything. I am humble in your presence.
Nick Graver adds:
I fear I will still be looking for the best home for these pieces.
It is only a small group that I have thrown in a drawer.
Not even worth your time as far as the number go.
But is there, somewhere, a Lucite (imbedded) Medal Collector specialist?.
We tend to think that there must be a collector of everything if one searches extensively.
Is the 'good home' going to be various collectors who are interested in the theme of each medal?
You feel there is not a class of collector seeking imbedded medals, regardless of topic. I have a friend who does eBay selling, perhaps he will try offering them.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
EXTRACTING COINS EMBEDDED IN LUCITE
MORE ON REMOVING COINS AND MEDALS FROM LUCITE
THE BOOK BAZARRE
NOVEMBER 18, 2010 AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS
The Wayne Homren Collection of Early Newspapers
With Numismatic Articles
Including: a 1787 Description of Fugio Coppers; Birmingham Coppers in 1752;
a 1788 Account of the Massachusetts Mint; Washington, in 1792, on the Mint;
A Contemporary Account of 1794 Dollars; Early Mint Reports; a Contemporary
Account of the 1851 Lewis Roper Sale; and the 1857 Loss of the S.S. Central America.
KOLBE & FANNING NUMISMATIC BOOKSELLERS
141 W JOHNSTOWN ROAD, GAHANNA OH 43230-2700
(614) 414-0855 •
Wayne Homren, Editor
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