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German Dog Tags, to clean or not?

Article about: I'm new to this hobby and was wondering about the 'protocol' of whether to clean or not to clean. 2 of the below dogtags are zinc and as you can see they are definately showing their age whi

  1. #1

    Default German Dog Tags, to clean or not?

    I'm new to this hobby and was wondering about the 'protocol' of whether to clean or not to clean.
    2 of the below dogtags are zinc and as you can see they are definately showing their age which some may argue is a good thing. Should I try to clean them, even a little bit? If so, what is the best method? I figure a light clean might entail just a scrub with a toothbrush and warm soapy water followed by a squirt of WD40. If I was to go further what method could I use?

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    The alloy dogtag is a different story as I know aluminium can be polished to a mirror shine if need be, this one was ground dug from Stalingrad and as the lettering is quite legible I think it best to keep it in an 'as found' condition. Again if I was to give it a small 'tidy up' what is the best method without ruining the aged look of the piece?

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    Thanks in advance for any tips or comments.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: German Dog Tags, to clean or not?

    Hi Glenn, my advice would be to leave them be. To me they look fine.

    Cheers, Ade.

  4. #3

    Default Re: German Dog Tags, to clean or not?

    leave m there fine,just as adrian says

  5. #4
    ?

    Default Re: German Dog Tags, to clean or not?

    You dont appear to have any serious zinc pest on the first two therefore they would be best left alone, the alloy does have some rot but attempting to clean it will damage the surface layers and could remove any definition on the numerals and letters, therefore advise no cleaning at all

  6. #5
    ?

    Default Re: German Dog Tags, to clean or not?

    Hey Glenn,
    I agree, don't touch them.
    I have buggered a couple of nice items up by trying to clean them up. Anything with Engravings or Embossing is tough to clean nice, and you end up with some really shiny areas and other parts you can't get to are left looking old, the effect isn't nice at all.
    I stuffed up a lovely royal artillery button I found by trying to clean it up, I was gutted, so I buried it in the ground again for a couple of months to restore the patina.

    Your tags look smashing as they are.
    Last edited by banny; 02-23-2011 at 04:10 AM.

  7. #6

    Default Re: German Dog Tags, to clean or not?

    I have a reasonable number of ID tags (by my standards) and what i'm happy to do with them now is in the case of aluminium, I scrub lightly with a green kitchen scourer to remove dirt and light rust and I leave it at that. I did buff one just as an experiment but it looked horrible. The scrubbed ones soon develop a nice patina simply from contact with air but they are now clean and fit for display. The zinc tags I also give a light scrub for the same reason (to remove dirt only as you can't really buff zinc) the ones that have very faint stampings I sprinkle chalk dust over then blow or brush the excess away. It really brings out the detail in tags the naked eye couldn't distinguish. I've experimented with the chalk dust on alloy tags but prefer to leave them 'as is'.

    I'll get some photos up one of these days.

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