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The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 47, November 16, 2014, Article 17

EXTRACTING A MEDAL EMBEDDED IN ACRYLIC

Harry Waterson submitted this article on how he followed E-Sylum reader advice to remove a medal embedded in acrylic. Thanks! -Editor

Three Strikes And It's Out!
How I removed a medal embedded in acrylic.

Medal encased in Lucite Recently I acquired a 1¼-inch bronze medal embedded in an acrylic disc 2½-inches in diameter by 1-inch thick. I had been looking for this medal for ten years and it filled in the final space in a 12 medal set. I did not, however, want it to be the only medal in the set in a 2½-inch lump.

I consulted various sources and found Alan Weinberg's suggestion to freeze it and then hit it with a hammer. While the medal is rare it was not expensive at $6.51 on eBay. So I decided to give it a whack. As can be seen from the picture the medal was embedded off-center and slightly tilted inside the acrylic with a few air bubbles around it. I suspect this piece was a discard. The medal was struck in 1953 and is one of several Lucite encased medals I have from the 1050s.

First: I reduced the size of the acrylic disc. A neighbor with a band saw cut off the excess bulk leaving me with roughly a 2-inch square cube 1-inch thick with a rounded top.

Second: I popped the block into the family freezer. I allowed it to sit there for two weeks. I noticed over time the interior of the block slowly became slightly opaque. It not so much misted over as it misted within. Maybe this is a sign of the cold penetrating the plastic. I do not know but when the misting stopped after about 10 days, I started to look for a hammer.

Third: I got my 14-oz. hammer, put on safety glasses and took the cube outside to a flat rock by the side of the house. I stood it up vertically, hit it smartly and a big lump flew off leaving one side of the medal exposed but it was mostly still embedded. I hit it again. This time more plastic shattered with shards going everywhere. The medal was now ¾ of the way out of the plastic with a jagged lump remaining at the top of the medal. I laid it on its side, hit it again and the rest of the plastic was gone. I was not very precise with my hammer and the third strike was off point and added a small dent to the top of the medal and removed the loop. For me, even given the bit of damage I did to the medal, having it out of the plastic in one piece was a triumph.

Aftermath: There were some small bits of plastic still adhering to the devices and lettering on the medal but a 24-hour bath in acetone (nail polish remover) turned those bits into little soft globs that could just be rolled off with a finger or picked off with a fingernail. Much like the glue that holds a new credit card to the mailer they send it in. The bonus was that the acetone did not change the finish on the medal.

Having done this once, I am now sure I can do it in the future with much more precision and no damage at all to the medal. I just need to learn to keep my eyes open!.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
EXTRACTING ENTOMBED PAPER MONEY (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n04a23.html)
EXTRACTING COINS EMBEDDED IN LUCITE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n04a22.html)
MORE ON REMOVING COINS AND MEDALS FROM LUCITE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v11n25a16.html)
MORE ON COINS AND MEDALS EMBEDDED IN LUCITE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n40a14.html)

THE BOOK BAZARRE

RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN COINAGE: Wizard Coin Supply is the official distributor for Roger Burdette's three volume series that won NLG Book of the Year awards for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Contact us for dealer or distributor pricing at www.WizardCoinSupply.com .


Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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