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Topic: Beilstein flame test on BCS sleeves  (Read 25857 times)
mmars
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« on: November 26, 2009, 06:25:39 pm »

Hello.

I have decided to remove all of my BCS-graded notes from their holders for reasons that are not applicable to this thread.  Out of curiosity, I decided to perform the Beilstein "flame test" on the plastic sleeves that are used to house the notes inside the clear packaging.  The Bellstein test is described here:

http://rarenotes.net/beilstein.html

After touching the heated copper wire to the plastic sleeve, the flame burned bright green.  I repeated the test several times and got the same result. I repeated the test on a piece cut from the larger outer plastic housing that surrounds the BCS-graded note in its sleeve and the rectangular certificate.  The plastic housing also produced a green flame.  I repeated the test on a piece of mylar sleeve that I bought from Sellitstore in the US.  The flame did not appear green at any time.

Conclusions: It appears that all plastic materials used by BCS, both the inner sleeves and the outer housing, contain PVC (polyvinylchloride) or another chlorinated compound that could damage notes with constant exposure over time.  PVC-damaged notes appear translucent as a result of long-term exposure.

Has anyone performed the Beilstein test on other third party grading company's holders?

Mark
« Last Edit: November 28, 2009, 05:50:33 pm by mmars »

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friedsquid
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2009, 07:43:13 pm »

According to BCS's website they state that:

Quote
Our holders are made of an inert plastic that does not contain any of the softening agents used in some plastics.

It also states that the plastic is "acid free"

I'm not really sure what this all means ???

I just emailed Steve Bell of BCS regarding this issue.  Hopefully he will reply as soon as he is able...
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 07:54:18 pm by friedsquid »



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mmars
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2009, 08:47:45 pm »

The sleeve that I used for the test is for small-size notes.  I cut a piece off a larger BCS sleeve used for holding pre-1935 "horseblanket" size notes and repeated the test.  Same result, got the green flame.

http://ull.chemistry.uakron.edu/organic_lab/beil/beil05.html

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Wizard1
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2009, 09:10:20 pm »

Hmmm good to know! I was about to send a bunch of notes to get graded but now am having second thoughts. I didn't know PVC exposure would affect notes.

This new info also worries me now regarding the 3 window binder pages I use to store my notes. Does anyone know if the Leuchtturm Vario 3C binder sheets are pvc free? All they say is "100% acid- and chemical softener free"

This question also applies to the Leuchtturm single note holders that I current use.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 09:27:59 pm by Wizard1 »

friedsquid
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2009, 09:28:57 pm »

Quote
[All they say is "100% acid- and chemical softener free"/quote]
This pretty well sounds what BCS claims as well.....Still think it is a good idea to hear what Steve has to say before you start cutting notes out of your holders...
OMO of course :)



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mmars
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2009, 09:56:56 pm »

I agree.  PVC damage doesn't happen in a day or two, so let's be patient.  TY Fred for contacting Mr Bell.

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friedsquid
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2009, 11:20:19 pm »

Quote
TY Fred
Now I'm Fred LOL



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Ottawa
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 05:43:35 am »

All TPGed notes are destined to be cut out of their holders eventually because, sooner or later, any given entombed note will get into the hands of a curious collector or dealer who wants to unambiguously find out what's really inside. Also, some people prefer raw notes right from the start. It's only the time frame for the cutting out that remains uncertain .... hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades ....

Perhaps the best thing about TPGed notes is that you can't get your grubby hands on them and damage them by repeated handling.

" Buy the very best notes that you can afford and keep them for at least 10 years. " (Richard D. Lockwood, private communication, 1978).
friedsquid
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2009, 07:35:00 am »

Quote
Perhaps the best thing about TPGed notes is that you can't get your grubby hands on them and damage them by repeated handling.

That was my reason  :)

I think my main concern here is that if a TPG says or implies that their holders are suppose to keep your notes safe within their holders they should stand by it and obviously have some liability if in fact they are not.



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Wizard1
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 08:24:00 am »

Any news from Steve Bell? He usually replies rather quickly.

BWJM
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2009, 09:05:36 am »

Have any other holders been tested, or just BCS' holders?

BWJM, F.O.N.A.
Life Member of CPMS, RCNA, ONA, ANA, IBNS, WCS.
President, IBNS Ontario Chapter.
Treasurer, Waterloo Coin Society.
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friedsquid
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2009, 09:06:23 am »

Any news from Steve Bell? He usually replies rather quickly.

I sent him an email last night (after hours) to his office at BCS so I assume when he gets in this morning he will get it.  Hopefully we hear something today, if not I will give him a call. I just think it is better to hear from him before we start assuming the worst....I would tend to think that he would have done his homework on the holders at the start ....



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BCS
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2009, 11:10:57 am »

Hello all

It concerns me greatly that there is the possiblity of my BCS holders damaging any notes over time.  When designing the holder, I had a detailed and lengthy discussion with the manufactureer regarding the long term safety of the holders.  He assured that the BCS holders, and every other holder they make for that matter, are completely safe for longterm storage.  They are acid and softener free. They are manufactured by Lighthouse (otherwise known as leuchtturm).  They are a prevelant supplier of numismatic holders in Europe and recently in the North American market. They knew from the onset that these holders are being designed for paper money storage.  Although I am not a chemist, based on their wide scope in the numismatic market and almost 90 years as a player, I was willing then and am still willing now to take their word

Even so, I have requested a chemical breakdown of the plastics that are used and will have an indepentend annalysis done on it's safety with organic compounds such as the ones found in most banknotes.  Any results will be posted on the BCS website.  www.banknotecertification.com.  Please, do not jump to conclusions based on the rudementary results of an uncontroled science experiment inspired by an independent webiste.

There are nearly 6000 notes and counting out there that have been preserved using BCS methods.  I am confident that they are entirely safe for long term storage.

BCS
mmars
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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2009, 12:51:50 pm »

I would be interested in doing the test on PMG holders since they are very similar to BCS holders. The length of time a note spends in any TPG holder is directly related to the grading standards used by the company that produced the holder.  In other words, the more overgraded the note, the less likely that note will be removed from the holder, and the more conservatively the note is graded, the more likely someone will remove it.  Since PMG grades Canadian notes using U.S. standards that are known to be muchless stringent, I'm much less confident that anyone with a PMG-graded note will be willing to sacrifice a holder for the sake of this discussion.

If someone wants to do the Beilstein test themselves, I can send them a couple of holders provided they purchase a note from me first  :o Ha ha just kidding.  But seriously, it would be nice if someone could do a separate independent verification of the test.

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friedsquid
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2009, 03:31:56 pm »

Would be more than willing do the test is you have a holder
I also sent an email to a person at PMG that I have spoken to numerous times in the past to get some more info.
I will post any reply should it come.
I also emailed someone I know who has some PMG holders they may wish to donate to a worthy cause.... :)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 03:36:41 pm by friedsquid »



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copperpete
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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2009, 10:56:23 am »

The Beilstein test is prone to false positive results (if there is contamination with salt from your fingers, for example...).  It's not a foolproof test.  It requires a throughly cleaned wire at each time you use it.

And when you test a plastic and get a positive result, always do the same test with another plastic which is sure not contain PVC (as the styrofoam from a new coffee cup, or from a labeled #6 and/or PS plastic item).  If you get a positive result from a surely non-containing chlorine material, it's surely a contamination and cast a doubt on your results...

But the best way is to have the plastic analyzed by a non-destructive test as FT-IR spectrometry, but it requires to pay for or to have a friend who works in a laboratory able to do this test ;).

I don't want to enter into technicalities, but the test is probably the best available and the fastest (few minutes only).  If you really want to know more, just do a Google search for FT-IR spectrometry...

friedsquid
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« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2009, 12:12:41 pm »

Quote
I have decided to remove all of my BCS-graded notes from their holders

Now wouldn't that be funny if your test results were false :o



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mmars
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« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2009, 03:51:42 pm »

Now wouldn't that be funny if your test results were false :o

Fred,

Next time, please quote the entire sentence, not just a fragment of it in a vain attempt to change the meaning of the original words.  Here's what I actually said:

Quote
I have decided to remove all of my BCS-graded notes from their holders for reasons that are not applicable to this thread.

In other words, I decided to do the Beilstein test AFTER I removed my notes from the BCS holders.  You're free to do the test while your notes are still in the holders.  This thread is not a commentary on BCS service or grading.

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friedsquid
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2009, 03:56:21 pm »

Quote
Fred,

Next time, please quote the entire sentence, not just a fragment of it in a vain attempt to change the meaning of the original words.  Here's what I actually said:

OK JOE



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friedsquid
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2009, 09:16:16 am »

This was the reply I received from PMG this morning

Quote
Our holders are PVC & acid free.
They are made of materials used for long-term storage.
 
Moon Phaengsavanh
PMG Operations Manager
941-309-1001 Ext 202
941-309-1002 Fax
www.PMGnotes.com
 

FRIEDSQUID



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BCS
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2009, 12:36:43 pm »

Hello all

After contacting the manufacturer of BCS's holder, I have some information that may shed some light on this question.  Yes, BCS holders do contain PVC's, otherwise knows as Poly Vinal Chloride.  This is a very common plastic used in many forms of industry.  However, the BCS holders do not contain what are called Plasticers, which are additives to the plastic that make it softer and more malubal.  PVC when mixed with these additives tends to leach out acids over time, potentially causing damage to whatever it is in contact with.  PVC in it's pure form, however, is completely inert and stable. 

If you care to learn more about PVCs, I have done some basic research on the topic.

https://www.ppfahome.org/pvc/greenbuilding.html
http://www.globalspec.com/reference/3433/Polyvinyl-Chloride-PVC
http://www.geomembrane.com/techpapers/whatispvc.htm
http://books.google.ca/books?id=-mniTRNs7tMC&pg=PT85&lpg=PT85&dq=PVC+inert&source=bl&ots=MBDlIRepnT&sig=cmkGkXaS4JsrEAxGAzNR0sTvg5o&hl=en&ei=8PUTS7qVENTmlAfKwOWgBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAoQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=PVC%20inert&f=false

This last link is the most technical of the lot.  You pretty much need a degree in chemistry to understand it, but in reading the chapter summaries it is clear that modern PVC's have an undeserved bad reputation.  Outdated processing techniques that are not used anymore and tradition have cast a shadow over the use of PVC's due to the belief that it is unstable.  Modern, plasticer-free, PVC is completely inert and safe for things like water pipes, children's toys, and in our case, paper preservation.

I am still waiting on the specific chemical makeup of the BCS plastic and will still get a test independent of the manufacture.  However, I hope the information I have provided so far has answered your questions and strenghened your trust in BCS.

Thank you for your consideration.

BCS


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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2010, 10:29:15 am »

Unfortunately there are no results yet on the independent testing.  I'll keep you informed on any updates.

BCS
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2010, 10:15:45 am »

What laboratory are you using?   Six to eight weeks (Nov 30) seems like a long time to get laboratory results, for routine testing you should have something back in two weeks unless it is something which is extremely specialized or the supplier has agreed to do.  That has been my experience with external laboratories.
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2010, 11:15:27 am »

Hello

I actually havn't submitted a sample for testing yet.  I'm still waiting on the chemical make up of the plastic being used by the manufacture.  I wanted to have that information so I could submit it with the plastic to the Lab.  Maybe that info could shed some light on the result, or maybe that information could mean something to the testers??  I've never done anything like this so I"m treding in new waters.

I appologise for the wait.  I know it may seem like I"m putting this on the back burner, but truthfully i'm very interested in getting all the assurance I can that these holders are safe.

I'll keep you updated

BCS
friedsquid
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2010, 11:10:30 am »

Hello
I actually havn't submitted a sample for testing yet.  I'm still waiting on the chemical make up of the plastic being used by the manufacture.  I wanted to have that information so I could submit it with the plastic to the Lab.  Maybe that info could shed some light on the result, or maybe that information could mean something to the testers??  I've never done anything like this so I"m treding in new waters.
I appologise for the wait.  I know it may seem like I"m putting this on the back burner, but truthfully i'm very interested in getting all the assurance I can that these holders are safe.
I'll keep you updated
BCS

Any further updates or information yet?



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BCS
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« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2010, 10:48:37 am »

Hello

I've got the technical specs from the manufacture.  It also seems that they did an independent test as well and they included that in the report.  Since it's all written in a chemistry language I do not understand, I'm off to a chemist in a lab so they can translate it into something I can understand. 

Imediately this seems promising.  Not only do we have the written affirmation from a multinational corporation of the safety of this plastic, we have a test done in an independent lab (SGS Tiawan Ltd.), and to top it off, Lighthouse Ltd. has always used this plastic in their products, giving us decades of samples to see real world long term effects.

I'm still going to seek out the opinion of a professional and keep you updated.  Once I have figured out what the independent annalysis says, I will post it on the BCS website, with perhaps some common language insight from an actual chemist.  However, I hope what has been uncovered so far has helped alleviate any concerns you have about the safety of BCS holders.

Talk to you soon

BCS
friedsquid
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« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2010, 10:51:19 am »

Thanks for the update



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friedsquid
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« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2010, 08:00:07 am »

Quote
I'm still going to seek out the opinion of a professional and keep you updated.  Once I have figured out what the independent annalysis says, I will post it on the BCS website, with perhaps some common language insight from an actual chemist.  However, I hope what has been uncovered so far has helped alleviate any concerns you have about the safety of BCS holders. Talk to you soon 
BCS

Any further information available?  Thanks



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BCS
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« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2010, 10:10:02 am »

Sorry morgage guy, not yet.
i've got the test report back, but i'm still searching for some clarification from a chemist.
It all seems good to me.....no significant traces of harmful chemicals.  I just like to be through before I present my findings.
If you like you can come down to the office and take a look at it your self.

BCS
Wizard1
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« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2010, 10:14:53 am »

Thanks for the update Steve.

mmars
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« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2010, 02:21:04 am »

Do we still have no closure on this topic?

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rarecoins2001
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« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2010, 04:12:53 pm »

The Belstein is not a reliable test.  There are archive safe holders that are unplasticized safety flips that show a green flame with this test.  These are the same ones used by museums for long term storage.
The link below is for the coin ones that I order by the 1000 for the last 15 years and have never had a problem.
http://scott-western.com/store/page79.html

mmars
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« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2011, 06:36:33 pm »

After contacting the manufacturer of BCS's holder, I have some information that may shed some light on this question.  Yes, BCS holders do contain PVC's, otherwise knows as Poly Vinal Chloride...

The admission by BCS that their product contains polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is consistent with the Beilstein test findings that show the presence of halide-bearing compounds in the graded slabs.  So the integrity of the Beilstein test is not in question, it is the interpretation of the results.  That is where my observations in comparing the PMG and BCS holders come into play.  The BCS holders feel more pliable than the stiffer PMG slabs, and I find that BCS holders scratch and cloud easily from contact.  That tells me BCS holders are made of softer material.  Whether that means BCs holders are safe for long-term storage or not is unknown.  The information provided by BCS is ambiguous, and it's a safe bet that I'm not driving to Kitchener to read a technical report.  It's also unlikely that anyone is going to run an experiment where they observe the changes in notes housed in BCS holders over a 20 year period.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 12:27:32 am by mmars »

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