How to remove gouges, scuffs, & scratches from NGC slabs
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A while ago I posted this thread ATS to describe how to remove deep scratches from PCGS slabs. A poster in a recent thread here asked if it was possible to do the same thing with NGC slabs.

 

A small minority of my collection is in NGC plastic, and I'm generally less familiar with the characteristics of the slabs. Most of my collection gets photographed at one time or another and I simply cannot tolerate scratches & scuffs.

 

Using this method, there aren't too many scratches, gouges, or abrasions that can't be fixed. Why bother? Some older slabs are rare and collectible themselves. Copper and certain toners are often best left alone as the old holder suggests stability of the coin inside. Sending in coins for re-holdering is inconvenient, expensive, and slightly risky. Stickers are lost, and the coin is out of your possession while it's being fixed. Things do sometimes go missing in the mail.

 

For this demonstration I selected a 2007-s PF69 Ultra Cameo state quarter from my home state. Sadly, the design is horrible. You can see from the initial photos that the slab has a few issues which are visible.

 

photo-01_zpsza4p8i8l.jpg

 

The slab shots, for the sake of completeness:

 

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I then took my favorite slab defacing instrument to it:

 

photo-04_zps10t9cjck.jpg

 

The results are sufficiently nasty:

 

photo-05_zpsa70heeqw.jpg

 

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To repair deep damage, simple polishing with PlastX or another product like Novus would take an eternity, even using a buffing wheel or drill. To fix this one I turned to the big guns. I bought this hobby sanding film from a local variety store that sells model cars and airplanes. The film is plastic-backed, and can be washed with soap and water when it gets plugged up with debris.

 

Hobby%20Sanding_zpssjyg24i3.jpg

 

Sanding%20Films_zpss9jjup9z.jpg

 

Starting with the coarse paper, and working in one direction, I got this. Don't panic:

 

photo-07_zps5xdg9w4v.jpg

 

If you look closely you can see that I haven't completely removed the gouges.

 

Continuing on:

 

photo-08_zpsthjuuxhc.jpg

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Here, I'm starting to have hope:

 

photo-11_zpsrroaupzd.jpg

 

At this point I broke out the Meguiar's PlastX and used a buffing wheel:

 

PlastX_zpsthouscam.jpg

Drill_zpspkq3hryp.jpg

 

photo-13_zps362mcw1c.jpg

 

I finally got to this point, but found several deep scratches that buffing just wouldn't remove. After looking with a loupe, I decided these were the original gouges that I had never completely removed. I then decided to start over with the sanding film, working more carefully than before:

 

 

photo-14_zpsv450ftwr.jpg

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At this point I started with the buffing wheel and Maguiar's:

 

photo-18_zpsa7scdyp4.jpg

photo-19_zpsmpkfc9y3.jpg

 

Some pesky fine scratches just wouldn't go away until I tried Novus 2 (fine scratch remover) with the buffing wheel.

 

photo-20_zpsgry8o0st.jpg

 

The final result is acceptable, and mostly shows the limits of my imaging technique and lighting:

 

photo-21_zpsimr5xja0.jpg

 

I could have worked a bit more to reach perfect clarity on the slab, but by then I was getting fed up and tired.

 

My final conclusions are that gouged PCGS slabs are easy to restore with this method. The central circular viewing portion of the slab lends itself nicely to the technique and limits the working area. The plastic seems to be more scratch resistant, but easier to work with at the same time. NGC slabs are flat and stray scratches from the sanding film spread far and wide, requiring additional effort. The plastic is quite resistant to polishing, but it can be done. NGC slabs also picked up new scratches very easily if I wasn't insanely careful. The total time for a repair on the PCGS slabs for me was around 5 minutes but I spent at least 30 minutes working on the NGC slab (and had to recharge the battery on the drill.)

 

I'm sure there are easier and better ways to do this, but if you're patient, even deep gouges and scratches can be removed without re-slabbing.

 

Edited to add:

 

Please be careful trying this. I chose an inexpensive coin for a reason. Work in a safe environment. Use eye protection. Don't work over a concrete floor. Hold on to the slab tightly if using a power buffing wheel. Don't light yourself on fire, melt the slab, or put a screwdriver into a power outlet........ ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by orifdoc

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What type of buffer is used as that drill attachment you show in the photo?

 

Thanks for the info!

 

jom

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What type of buffer is used as that drill attachment you show in the photo?

 

Thanks for the info!

 

jom

 

The thing came with the Meguiar's Headlight kit from AutoZone. I wash it with soap and water between uses. The headlights on my daughter's car are much better now too. :)

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What type of buffer is used as that drill attachment you show in the photo?

 

Thanks for the info!

 

jom

 

The thing came with the Meguiar's Headlight kit from AutoZone. I wash it with soap and water between uses. The headlights on my daughter's car are much better now too. :)

 

That's neat. My Autozone didn't have the kit when I last bought PlastX. I will go back. Thanks again!

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Well done, once again! The amount of time to not only do the demo but to also do all of the photography, edit images, type everything up and post it on the forum is a crazy amount. And on top of that, you did it twice! I hope people will bookmark the two threads and use them as a great resource for a long time to come. A fine contribution to both forums! (thumbs u

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Thanks for the info on Meguiar. I've bookmarked both threads....!

 

jom

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Great post!!

 

 

NGC plastic seems to scratch fairly easily. I think it's important to box your coins to prevent needing to do this in the first place but when push comes to shove, it's nice to know this is an option.

 

 

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Thanks for posting. I don't know any member of any of the coin clubs in my area or shops who have methods or are willing to help others with scratch repair. Collectors should be able and willing to help one another with this.

 

Alternatives; ship back to grading companies; pay shipping and reholder fees. Minimum expense: $40. I don't know any way around return shipping of $20 or more. I realize the expense of running grading services are substantial, but many of us who sell coins and currency ship where we are paying $2 to $5 or so per package.

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Super!

Revise and send to CW or Numismatist. Your article and illustrations deserve wider publicity and recognition.

 

(PS: I agree about the state quarter design. The sandpapered version looks better than the normal one...)

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(PS: I agree about the state quarter design. The sandpapered version looks better than the normal one...)

 

Looks like a reverse proof or something. Pretty lame though....

 

jom

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Well...I guess getting the "bird" is better than getting the "potato." Idahoians did not deserve that quarter design.

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orifdoc, thanks for posting this. I have been using micro-mesh for polishing acrylic and ebonite in another of my hobbies (fountain pens), but have not used it for polishing slabs. This gives me some hope for really horrible slabs. I know how long progressive posts of this type take to do the imaging, edit, put together, and then write-up so I appreciate all of the time you put into this demonstration.

 

Bookmarked here and ATS. :applause:

 

-Brandon

 

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Thanks for the efforts ori!

 

Best, HT

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