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Abstract

A stamped coin exhibited visible discolored areas, seen as a tan haze on the surface. The discoloration was considered merely cosmetic. The nonstained and stained regions were studied using SEM/EDS. Greater amounts of aluminum and magnesium were found in the stained area as compared with the nonstained region. Some carbon and oxygen were detected in both areas, which may be suggestive of organic substances. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) revealed traces of hydrocarbons and ether/alcohol materials in the stained area, suggesting that the stain was associated with a cellulose or carbohydrates (sugars). These findings, along with the appearance, suggest that a sugar-containing substance, such as coffee or a soft drink, dried onto the surface of this coin and caused the observed discoloration.

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S.J. Suess, 2019. "Staining of a Stamped Coin", ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Household Products and Consumer Goods

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