Cleaning pennies for treasure chest

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I have a few hundred pennies that I want to bury in a treasure chest for kids. I would like to clean them up to more closely imitate gold but don't know how to do it.
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Got a Taco Bell nearby? Grab some handfuls of packets of their hot sauce. Arby's sauce also works. Both are "free". Soak the pennies till shiny, then dry. If you're adverse to expropriation try Louisiana Hot Sauce or lemon juice, or any commercial metal polisher, or an eraser (mount it on a drill or dremel to reduce carpal tunnel injury).
--
Luke
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Soak them in vinegar. Lemon juice works but is more expensive.
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A strong baking soda/water solution also works, and is less corrosive than vinegar or lemon juice.
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wrote:

My ten year old daughter chose this as her science experiment last year. The lemon juice did a better job. Adding salt improves it also. As an added little science tidbit, save the juice you used after you clean the pennies. Put some nails or other iron items in the "dirty" juice. It will actually slightly copper plate the nails.
Greg Guarino
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Wet them with vinagar then sprinkle on some table salt.
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You'll only devalue them. Leave them alone and place them in your "time capsule."

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LOL, I'm thinking they will still be worth a penny each.
wrote:

don't
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Tumbling them in fine sand or baking soda seems to be the best suggestions so far. I believe every country has a law that forbids altering/defacing coin and money. Therefore any attempt to "gold" the pennies must not be permanent. There might be a food grade gold powder you can use.
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wrote:

Huh? If such a law exists I'd appreciate a reference to it.
I've seen all kinds of examples of altered coinage.. watches made from half-dollars, etc.
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If you find one of those metal presses at an amusement arcade that is used to squeeze pennies into thin long strips there will be a metal plate that quotes this law. That is why they do not run sovereign coins through that machine but will be quite willing to do so on a coin from another country. The law is there although it is rarely if ever enforced when coins are used for jewellery. In jewellery, if you look closely at an American Gold Eagle for example, it will be an imitation with obvious flaws such as poor image definition. To make an indistinguishable copy is counterfieting. Real Gold Eagles are worth far more in original condition anyway.
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wrote:

for
don't
It is my recollection that it is illegal to mutilate a coin and then pass it as legal tender. Making a ring from a coin (which I once did) would not seem to be illegal.
I once heard of an ancient trick with gold coins. Tumbled lightly to imitate wear. The tumbling sand was then washed to extract the eroded gold.
When I was a boy, I came across a dime that had been sawed in two, cut sides ground off, then sandwiched to pot metal and passed as real. All to salvage five cents worth of silver -- they were silver then. What a way to make a living!
SJF
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Slicing dimes in half to skim some silver seems like too much effort for the illegal gain.
A more profitable ploy involves separating the front and the back of a dollar bill and doing the same for a $20 bill. Then the bills are put back together so that 2 new bills are created, with each bill having a $20 side and a $1 side. Now $21 worth of legitimate paper money can be passed off as $40.
Don't ask me how they delaminated those bills - I just know that it has been done.
Other ploys have included bleaching $1 bills and using the blank paper to counterfeit higher denomination bills.
Gideon
=====
wrote:

for
don't
It is my recollection that it is illegal to mutilate a coin and then pass it as legal tender. Making a ring from a coin (which I once did) would not seem to be illegal.
I once heard of an ancient trick with gold coins. Tumbled lightly to imitate wear. The tumbling sand was then washed to extract the eroded gold.
When I was a boy, I came across a dime that had been sawed in two, cut sides ground off, then sandwiched to pot metal and passed as real. All to salvage five cents worth of silver -- they were silver then. What a way to make a living!
SJF
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Steve,
A fair number of people used the gold plating ploy on the 1883 "V" nickels. Urban legend indicates that there was a Josh Tatum who was the most prolific at this ploy. The rumors state that he was a deaf- mute who "could not" be prosecuted since he never overtly represented the plated coins as the $5 gold pieces which they "impersonated" so well with their gold plating.
I doubt that this is all true - if Josh existed and passed around gold plated nickels and accepted change for $5.00 on a regular basis, then he was obviously plating the coins for one purpose only - fraud.
On a related topic, where my friends and I guilt of fraud? Somewhere around 8th grade we would pull boring 1944-D cents from circulation & use a set of jeweler's files and jeweler's rouge to "convert" these coins into the very valuable 1914-D cents. We then lightly weathered this coins by rubbing them in the dirt, etc. After that, we mixed the coins with our other pocket change and casually spent them.
We never overtly committed fraud with these coins and we never profited from the conterfeiting operation. On the other hand, we were committing a fraudulent prank and I'm certain that many innocent folks eventually noticed our coins in their pocket change and attempted to sell them as rare 1914-D cents. Considering our young age, it was amazing how quickly we could produce conterfeits which would easily fool a casual observer. Even a somewhat serious coin collector could be fooled when he found the coin in with some change, although he would certainly detect the fraud if somebody else were attempting to sell the coin to him, a situation in which he would be at a much higher state of alert for fraud.
We produced these fakes so easily and so quickly that I'm certain we put over 100 into circulation. Since that was many decades ago, I'm certain that all of them must have been eventually pulled from circulation as rare 1914-D coins.
Gideon
======== SteveB wrote in message ...

The term, "You're Joshing me" came from San Francisco gold days. A deaf mute named Josh would gold clad coins that had a V on the back. He would just hand them to the merchant, and they would give him change for $5. In those days, coins weren't as standardized, and a lot of different coins were used.
He did no time because the merchants made the mistake and gave him the wrong change, and he never represented the coin to be $5.
Steve
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It takes more time than you are probably willing to invest, but if you chuck up a wooden pencil in a 3/8 drill with the eraser end forward, then erase all the tarnish. It would take several pencil to do a few hundred and some time, but the eraser will brighten the penny.
Randy R. Cox
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don't
Pick up a few hundred US Eagles for the kiddies, ya cheap bastid.
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sauce.
heh I was going to recommend Chi-Chi's hot sauce.
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Put them in vinegar and sprinkle salt of them.
djb
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Forget the pennies and pick up some fake gold coins from a party supply store...You might even find a treasure chest there too...
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I guarantee that sulfuric acid will work. That's what they use in the electronics biz.....
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