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Define AT (Artificial toning) Chemicals and time.

Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭

What is the definition of AT?

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Comments

  • Mr_SpudMr_Spud Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 16, 2023 8:40PM

    If they look like this, most likely they are AT. These were my old experiments I made for educational AT vs NT displays for a coin club about 15 years ago. They still look the same today, I have them in a little box. The last one on the bottom is the same coin with picture taken every few seconds as it went through one of the processes. Different processes with chemicals/heat used to try and get true reds, greens and yellows. The easiest colors are the ones on the bottom picture. All of these techniques took less than 5 minutes each.








    Mr_Spud

  • braddickbraddick Posts: 23,065 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Clackamas1 said:
    What is the definition of AT?

    peacockcoins

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No such thing. All toning is natural...or artificial...call it what you want. The metal doesn't know the difference. It reacts with whatever is there, no matter where it came from or how long it has been there.

  • Jzyskowski1Jzyskowski1 Posts: 6,651 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Back to “ intent”
    Once again that’s the difference and how they determine that in the grading room is beyond my pay grade 😁🙀

    🎶 shout shout, let it all out 🎶

  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MasonG said:

    @Jzyskowski1 said:
    Back to “ intent”

    "Intent" doesn't work. It's well known there are coin albums that attractively tone coins that get straight graded. Some people used those albums specifically to tone coins while others, who didn't know the albums would cause the coins to tone, used them just for storage. Coins from the first group are intentionally toned and from the second group, unintentional. If intent was a deciding factor, the first group would be rejected while the second would be considered acceptable even though the coins in both groups look the same.

    As @jmlanzaf noted above, the coins don't recognize a difference.

  • MS66MS66 Posts: 200 ✭✭✭

    @MasonG said:
    Toning that developed from conditions disapproved of by the person making the determination.

    This is a good, comprehensive definition. I'll only add that AT also includes butt-ugly toned coins, no matter what conditions were claimed.

  • MS66MS66 Posts: 200 ✭✭✭

    Chemicals and time.

    BtW to the OP: you might be amazed at how many things in the universe can be defined that way.

  • fathomfathom Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's simply accelerated chemical reactions.

    Whether it is aesthetically pleasing or not is the subjective opinion that matters at the end of the day.

    TPGs will struggle to identify some reactions. There are some amazing doctors out there.

    The marketplace will decide whether it is acceptable, and what value to attach. One person or a team of experts will not be able to determine acceptability.

  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MS66 said:

    Chemicals and time.

    BtW to the OP: you might be amazed at how many things in the universe can be defined that way.

    Right - I am into mining and it is all about chemicals and time plus geology.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MS66 said:

    @MasonG said:
    Toning that developed from conditions disapproved of by the person making the determination.

    This is a good, comprehensive definition. I'll only add that AT also includes butt-ugly toned coins, no matter what conditions were claimed.

    True. But "NT" can also be ugly.

    In the end, the only distinction one can make is "market acceptable"...or not.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 17, 2023 6:29AM

    Textile toned Morgan dollars are probably the best example of the conundrum. They toned due to sulfur added to the bags to kill vermin. This was a common delousing technique for homes 100+ years ago, as well. But if you "intentionally" gas your coins with hydrogen sulfide, you're a scam artist. Chemically, there's no distinction.

    @MasonG mentions the equally problematic album toning conundrum. In that case, it's almost beyond intent and a question of patience. Even if I intentionally use cheap, sufur-laden albums to tone the coins, they end up MA. But if I bake the album in the oven overnight, again I'm a coin doctor and they are "AT".

    there's a common "game" played with Canadian cased dollars from the 1970s. They were packaged with a foam insert to keep them from rattling. The foam causes vivid blue toning, but only on one side. The profitable game is to flip the coin and put it back into it toned uniformly blue on both sides.

    So, I'm not sure even intent works, even if you could know it.

    The OP put coins on the window of his bathroom where heat, humidity, and vapors from cleaning products would tone them. That's pretty intentional as well as an "artificial" environment for the coins. But it took 25 years, so....?

  • wondercoinwondercoin Posts: 16,674 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ‘’The OP put coins on the window of his bathroom where heart, humidity, and vapors from cleaning products would tone them. That's pretty intentional as well as an "artificial" environment for the coins. But it took 25 years, so....?’’

    jmlanzaf: no sure “heart” had a big role in that toning exercise. 😉

    Wondercoin

    Please visit my website at www.wondercoins.com and my ebay auctions under my user name www.wondercoin.com.
  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @wondercoin said:
    ‘’The OP put coins on the window of his bathroom where heart, humidity, and vapors from cleaning products would tone them. That's pretty intentional as well as an "artificial" environment for the coins. But it took 25 years, so....?’’

    jmlanzaf: no sure “heart” had a big role in that toning exercise. 😉

    Wondercoin

    LOL. Clearly, it takes heart to enter into a 25 year toning exercise! ;)

    [grrr...damn autocorrect]

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mr_Spud .... Thank you for that outstanding post and pictures. Clearly this demonstrates the foolishness of paying for colorful tarnish. Why spend money when you can quickly achieve such results at home... for free???? I am amazed at the money wasted on tarnished coins. Cheers, RickO

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,780 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,780 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Don't make me repeat myself! 😂

    Toning, tarnish, patina, re-toned, re-colored, AT, natural, PVC, etc.... Whether natural, environmental or skillfully created, it's DAMAGE!! The TPG'ers make $$$ by straight grading these things. Whether it's organized crime, the gov't or industry... follow the money!

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,780 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OAKSTAR said:

    You should probably just leave it on.

  • dsessomdsessom Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MasonG said:
    Toning that developed from conditions disapproved of by the person making the determination.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen is the best answer to this question that I've ever seen.

    If you are around coins long enough, you learn how coins get toning (it IS technically tarnish) through oxidation and reactions to chemicals like sulphur. I think what makes the real determination (but not always) is;

    Did the toning come from a "mistake" by leaving it in an album or a cardboard flip for decades? (GOOD!)
    OR - was the toning done intentionally? (BAD!!!)

  • VasantiVasanti Posts: 448 ✭✭✭✭

    “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.” - Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on defining hardcore pornography.

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,780 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf- That is to funny!!! LoL!! 😂 🤣

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:
    there's a common "game" played with Canadian cased dollars from the 1970s. They were packaged with a foam insert to keep them from rattling. The foam causes vivid blue toning, but only on one side. The profitable game is to flip the coin and put it back into it toned uniformly blue on both sides.

    Sometimes they tone on both sides, but different colors. The top one is untoned on the obverse but the others...

  • fathomfathom Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 17, 2023 9:31AM

    @Vasanti said:
    “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.” - Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on defining hardcore pornography.

    Nobody knows definitively all the time.

    That is the point being made in this thread. You can choose to deny that you have been fooled on accelerated toning but that does not mean it has not happened.

  • pcgscacgoldpcgscacgold Posts: 2,634 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For me artificial toning is in the same collecting category as "midnight mint" errors. Both are made with the purpose of profit. I do not collect either and don't take issue with others enjoying them.

  • VasantiVasanti Posts: 448 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 17, 2023 10:23AM

    @fathom said:

    @Vasanti said:
    “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.” - Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on defining hardcore pornography.

    Nobody knows definitively all the time.

    That is the point being made in this thread. You can choose to deny that you have been fooled on accelerated toning but that does not mean it has not happened.

    I think my point was that it’s in the eye of the beholder. Like everything else in coin grading, it’s a subjective judgment call.

  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,884 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can't recall who the Politician was who made the comment about Pornography but it was something like "I can't define it but I know it when I see it" and that sort of defines Toning and the AT problem.

    It seems that the best analysis is achieved from experience.

  • DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Maywood said:
    I can't recall who the Politician was who made the comment about Pornography but it was something like "I can't define it but I know it when I see it" and that sort of defines Toning and the AT problem.

    It seems that the best analysis is achieved from experience.

    @Vasanti said:
    “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.” - Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on defining hardcore pornography.

  • HigashiyamaHigashiyama Posts: 2,146 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When acquiring coins, I like to focus on aesthetics and historical context: it is NT if the character of the toning can be attributed to the manufacture, distribution, or storage of the coins.

    Several key points:

    (a) I recognize that this requires some elaboration, especially the "storage" aspect
    (b) All collectors are free to develop their own definitions and approaches, and
    (c) I recognize that "talented" coin doctors can and do tone coins to mimic the attributes suggested by this definition.

    Higashiyama
  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Higashiyama said:
    When acquiring coins, I like to focus on aesthetics and historical context: it is NT if the character of the toning can be attributed to the manufacture, distribution, or storage of the coins.

    Several key points:

    (a) I recognize that this requires some elaboration, especially the "storage" aspect
    (b) All collectors are free to develop their own definitions and approaches, and
    (c) I recognize that "talented" coin doctors can and do tone coins to mimic the attributes suggested by this definition.

    Why should poor storage increase the value? It's the equivalent of parking your car in salt water and asking a premium for the "natural" pitting.

  • HigashiyamaHigashiyama Posts: 2,146 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf asked "Why should poor storage increase the value? It's the equivalent of parking your car in salt water and asking a premium for the "natural" pitting."

    I did not offer any opinion on value, but am only stating personal preferences. Certainly I'm not suggesting that my personal preferences should be universally held.

    Higashiyama
  • DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @Higashiyama said:
    When acquiring coins, I like to focus on aesthetics and historical context: it is NT if the character of the toning can be attributed to the manufacture, distribution, or storage of the coins.

    Several key points:

    (a) I recognize that this requires some elaboration, especially the "storage" aspect
    (b) All collectors are free to develop their own definitions and approaches, and
    (c) I recognize that "talented" coin doctors can and do tone coins to mimic the attributes suggested by this definition.

    Why should poor storage increase the value? It's the equivalent of parking your car in salt water and asking a premium for the "natural" pitting.

    I don’t really disagree with the point you’re making but I don’t know if that was the best example. Pitted steel isn’t aesthetically pleasing like vibrant toning on silver.

  • HigashiyamaHigashiyama Posts: 2,146 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 17, 2023 4:39PM

    By the way, in order to assure that I get my share of guffaws, jeers, and LOLs, let me add a further suggestion.

    With regard to colorful toning only: if the visceral reaction I get in looking at the coin is roughly similar to what I feel when standing in front of a Chagall or certain Rothkos, I believe it is NT and (to me) is worth a significant premium.

    Higashiyama
  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 17, 2023 10:18PM

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @wondercoin said:
    ‘’The OP put coins on the window of his bathroom where heart, humidity, and vapors from cleaning products would tone them. That's pretty intentional as well as an "artificial" environment for the coins. But it took 25 years, so....?’’

    jmlanzaf: no sure “heart” had a big role in that toning exercise. 😉

    Wondercoin

    LOL. Clearly, it takes heart to enter into a 25 year toning exercise! ;)

    [grrr...damn autocorrect]

    I would argue the opposite. It takes no effort to put something on a window sill for 25 years. It is the opposite of heart. I am dang sure there are like ~40 coins I forgot about in the old home that I sold. Some day they will be found, it may be a century from now - or longer. The only reason it is still on a window sill is because we sold the home. It did spend the better part of a decade in our new home. No heart involved - roll the dice. The only reason I sent it in is because I don't think I have much time left and none of my kids nor my wife can appreciate it.

  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Higashiyama said:
    By the way, in order to assure that I get my share of guffaws, jeers, and LOLs, let me add a further suggestion.

    certain Rothkos,

    OK I get Chagal -Rothkos not so much.

  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 17, 2023 10:09PM

    Here is the thing - ALL silver coins will tone over time, heck so do gold coins - you can spot them from across the room, they just do. When is it AT? I have been trying to repair old cleanings by leaving them out in the open and after nearly 3 decades some of the coins are still 'cleaned'. In 500 years are they market acceptable? Why was the coin cleaned - probably because of toning? You can fix over time a dip - never repair a brillow coin unless you want to delete detail and keep it in you pocket. IMO if it looks original and commensurate for the period it is not AT. IMO AT is a rapid, maybe minutes process, if it takes half of your life - not AT. Your intent is not important - the process is and you can't fake (AFAIK) toning that takes decades.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @Higashiyama said:
    When acquiring coins, I like to focus on aesthetics and historical context: it is NT if the character of the toning can be attributed to the manufacture, distribution, or storage of the coins.

    Several key points:

    (a) I recognize that this requires some elaboration, especially the "storage" aspect
    (b) All collectors are free to develop their own definitions and approaches, and
    (c) I recognize that "talented" coin doctors can and do tone coins to mimic the attributes suggested by this definition.

    Why should poor storage increase the value? It's the equivalent of parking your car in salt water and asking a premium for the "natural" pitting.

    I don’t really disagree with the point you’re making but I don’t know if that was the best example. Pitted steel isn’t aesthetically pleasing like vibrant toning on silver.

    To you. To Rick O, not at all pleasing.

  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 18, 2023 12:23AM

    To you. To Rick O, not at all pleasing.

    OK I don't get it. Is that an insult or did I just not get a point? BTW - my daughter is a wonderful artist and has paintings of rust steel that are pretty awesome. Beauty is not what you expect to see, you have to step back and see what you see. there is beauty in most things. One of the top things I tell all my employees is there is a silver lining - you just have to find it. Take a negative look at things you will find a negative answer/solution.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Clackamas1 said:

    To you. To Rick O, not at all pleasing.

    OK I don't get it. Is that an insult or did I just not get a point? BTW - my daughter is a wonderful artist and has paintings of rust steel that are pretty awesome. Beauty is not what you expect to see, you have to step back and see what you see. there is beauty in most things. One of the top things I tell all my employees is there is a silver lining - you just have to find it. Take a negative look at things you will find a negative answer/solution.

    No.. just Rick O is famous for his dislike of toning.

  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 18, 2023 4:58AM

    @jmlanzaf said:

    No.. just Rick O is famous for his dislike of toning.

    Rick is famous for way more than that - we are just not going to talk about it. /s Rick is a decent person I am just joking.

  • MS66MS66 Posts: 200 ✭✭✭

    "Market acceptable" just means "what most people like" and as far as the "sulphur was added to the canvas bags to repel mice" story, in what universe are mice attracted to silver dollars?

    Yeah I've heard the story a thousand times too, but it's always been hearsay. Is there a primary source?

    Meanwhile, I'll buy beautiful coins if I like them. Verisimilitude does factor in, but beyond that I'm sort of agnostic. The TPGs have been wrong countless times.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MS66 said:
    "Market acceptable" just means "what most people like" and as far as the "sulphur was added to the canvas bags to repel mice" story, in what universe are mice attracted to silver dollars?

    Yeah I've heard the story a thousand times too, but it's always been hearsay. Is there a primary source?

    Meanwhile, I'll buy beautiful coins if I like them. Verisimilitude does factor in, but beyond that I'm sort of agnostic. The TPGs have been wrong countless times.

    I didn't say mice. It's an insecticide, commonly used in that period. Regardless of whether you believe the story or not, the textile toning is clearly a function of sulfur in the canvas, no matter how you think it got there.

    I'm all in favor of buying coins you like, even if they are "AT". I don't even mind you dusting your coins with sulfur, if you want.

  • MS66MS66 Posts: 200 ✭✭✭

    I wasn't quoting you. I've heard the story a thousand times, I said. Now I see you mentioned "vermin" and frankly I don't see what the big deal is so I'll just bow out of the conversation.

    FWIW, I also can't imagine what insects are doing in bank vaults either, but maybe there are some who enjoy munching on canvas.

  • coastaljerseyguycoastaljerseyguy Posts: 1,243 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you're a gardener, sulfur powder is used to kill fungus and other bacteria. I can see why mints wanted to keep the coins from developing all that black mold on coins, not for vermin or insects. Instead created some nice toning as well as not so great.

  • Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 18, 2023 7:10AM

    @pcgscacgold said:
    For me artificial toning is in the same collecting category as "midnight mint" errors. Both are made with the purpose of profit. I do not collect either and don't take issue with others enjoying them.

    Really - So a cleaned coin given enough time can never be OK? What if it was 200 years in air, 1000 years a century buried. It is AT because the purpose was to hide the cleaning. Or is it AT? IMO it is at if it occurs in day/weeks. If it take years, even if the intent was to change it not AT.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MS66 said:
    I wasn't quoting you. I've heard the story a thousand times, I said. Now I see you mentioned "vermin" and frankly I don't see what the big deal is so I'll just bow out of the conversation.

    FWIW, I also can't imagine what insects are doing in bank vaults either, but maybe there are some who enjoy munching on canvas.

    It doesn't have to be in the vaults. Warehouses and textiles would be prime treatment areas because of lice.

    But, again, it doesn't really matter whether you think they added sulfur to the canvas after the bags were made, before the bags were made or whether the sulfur was in the bags themselves. It is still sulfur from an external source...non-archival bags.

    That's really the thing about textile toning and album toning. Everyone wants to call it natural, but it really comes from archaeological abuse of the artifacts. In the art world, we don't give the curator credit for fading a painting by leaving it in sunlight or yellowing the Declaration of Independence by storing it in a high sulfur cardboard roll. Now, at the time, they weren't trying to preserve the coins and were likely ignorant of the damage they were doing. But it is not the "natural state" of the coin. It results from the introduction of external chemicals to the coin surface.

  • SanctionIISanctionII Posts: 11,701 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Since the NT v. AT debate has surfaced in this thread I will chime in.

    If "intent" is the factor in determining if a coin is NT or AT, i have a the following bright line definition (which is easy to state but is not easy to apply).

    Any toned coin which has been not been touched by humans (either directly, or indirectly through coming into contact with any matter whose existence came about through human intervention) at any time since it was struck has Natural Toning. All other toned coins have Artificial Toning.

    The above bright line works simply by removing humans from the situation, for without humans there is no "intent".

    Further the same bright line can be used to determine which untoned coins are Natural ("NUT") and which untoned coins are Artificial ("AUT"). :)

  • jerseycat101jerseycat101 Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    @Mr_Spud .... Thank you for that outstanding post and pictures. Clearly this demonstrates the foolishness of paying for colorful tarnish. Why spend money when you can quickly achieve such results at home... for free???? I am amazed at the money wasted on tarnished coins. Cheers, RickO

    I'm amazed that you never get tired of sharing your disdain for toning.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jerseycat101... There is no limit to sharing or my disdain.... :D;) Much as so many others have no limits to their gushing and swooning over tarnish. Cheers, RickO

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