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Spanish Cross in silver with swords

Marcus H

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It's six of one half a dozen of another in regards to cleaning awards for me, so do I condone it ? Thats a yes, with reservations...it depends on what and to what degree etc

Some envisage a detremental polishing or silver dip stripping, some contemplate the years of 'historical' dirt, patina being discarded through a vanity impressed notion of enhanceing the awards appeal.......and so on all arguments fair game, and it's of the owners volition and common sense to carry out such a task.

Whether it be to lightly remove visible traces of soiling via a very soft tooth brush and warm soapy water or another method, be it drastic in the eye's of some collectors or not, this subject will alway's have those for and against.......it's a contentious subject on some forums !

I did decide to clean this award, and prefer it in it's post state.

I cleaned it in a solution of water, salt, a very mild detergant and tin foil (aluminium foil) placed in the bottom of a plastic dish. I then, hence soaking the award in the solution for 2 min's, swilled the award under a running tap. I repeated the process twice to achieve a desired state.

I don't polish or use metal cleaning products, I purely wanted to get rid of the dirt and tarnish in this instance.



A before picture of the cross in the state I purchased the award.

Edited by Marcus H
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Hello Marcus,

Not really being a mint item person I would have left it as it was, but may have been tempted to clean it with a tooth brush if I was selling it.

Why the aluminium foil?

Still, a very nice piece though Marcus, clean or not


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Very interesting Marcus.

I too would not usually clean a badge or award, but I have an Honour Ring which was in a very tarnished condition when I got it. I thought for ages before deciding to give it a clean & I am very pleased with the results. I did however use a silver cleaner......



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I wouldn't have bothered with all of that palava Marcus mate,just bung it in some silver dip!

Some collectors think you have commited a cardinal sin if you clean an award but to me all you have done is CLEAN it,not roll a Warrior over it!

Sometimes I dip awards and sometimes I don't,if its a frosty EK or KVK1 then it might get a dip...I think they look great all frosty!


BTW nice Spanish cross mate both before AND after :food-smiley-004:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Marcus! I never really gave this a whole lot of thought until recently. I would clean pieces with a "dry brush" (soft bristle)... but never used polish on them. I wasn't opposed to the concept, just never seemed to have the time.

Then I bought back a cased Prussian Pilot Badge from a customer. He had the badge about a year. When he offered to sell it back, I thought "Great!".... he even re-sent me my original photos from when I had sold it to him.

When the badge arrived, it had been buffed/polished severly with silver polish and looked like some trinket one would buy at the local car-boot on Saturday.... I could have died. 90 years of history/patina erased in a heartbeat. flame

Cleaning, sure, makes sense. Stripping the age-patina..... well, not for me.

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Guest Darrell

Marcus ... 6 would have applauded ... 6 would have sworn ... you cant please everyone. BUT ... if you were to sell the item either as before OR after ... I bet the picture " after" would have sold for 10-15% more .. just in how much better it looks. :food-smiley-004:

Edited by Darrell
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I agree with you. This is an often emotive subject but at the end of the day its a matter of personal choice. I would certain shy away from "cleaning" real old stuff like, say a nicely toned real silver Imperial 1870 EK where I think the patina definitely adds to the charm.

However, as Dave has suggested, silver "dipping" can bring up the frosted finish on more recent (i.e. WW2 ) period pieces quite magnificently.

I've seen "dipped" pieces (i.e. an EK1 Spange) where the "frosted" finish on a grungy looking piece ( frosted finish doesn't develop a nice patina, it just goes grungy and dirty looking) has been brought back to its original appearance alongside untouched minty pieces and there is no way to tell the difference so it doesn't spoil an attractive patina in these circumstances.

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Hi Marcus, Gordon & Darrell.

I agree mate I prefer to have pieces in great condition the way they would have looked like when they were awarded, so thats what I choose to accquire. In fact Marcus I am exactly like you I prefer them in packets etc

Maybe as Gordon says an 1870 or 1813 I wouldnt touch but I dont see the problem with WW2 pieces - after all this is how they were suppossed to look like in the first place

BTW I think your spanish cross looks excellent in the after photos



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The problem with polishs is that

they POLISH.

When something has a fragile remaining finish, that can come right off to the base metal without even any vigorous scrubbing. I'm thinking of the endless supply of Bare Zink late war KVK 1s that, I gotta tell you, were crappy looking but still had some of their original frosted finish to within these last 30 years until they were all buffed away to nothing by over-zealous collectors. Same with late war Kriegsmarine badges-- that delicate remnant "veneer" of origina finish swipes right off with any attempt at "polishing."

Having had a few Hideously Irreversible Experiences :speechless-smiley-004: myself, I'm at a stage of unscented soap on a cotton swab sort of filthy grunge removal, and leave patina as is. Different if something has coral reef corrosion.

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  • 2 months later...

It's always a collector dilem: Clean it or keep it in the aged condition speechless.gif

I prefer very good condition crosses, and sometimes I clean them, when they are too dirty. To avoid it, I just buy mint ones biggrin.gif , no dilem anymore smile.gif


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