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Wipe Marks

Wipe Marks.  Dark streaks in the patina of a medal, as if wiped on with a rag; a patina anomaly. Also called fishtail, it is a form of residual toning and is not a severe condition, as the streaks completely disappear when the medal is refinished. How they were caused is uncertain, but it is presumed they were the result of wiping off the darkening agent and relieved with a cloth instead of a buffing wheel. The streaks probably did not appear before the medals were lacquered, but sometimes afterwards (typical of residual toning). Virtually all the large medals produced by the firm Joseph K. Davison's Sons of Philadelphia from 1900 to 1915 exhibit this unsightly condition indicating this was their standard finishing procedure for large medals. Most prominent of these are the Gettysburg Monument Dedication Medal of 1910 and the Lincoln G.A.R. Medal of 1909 (King 321). Also wipe marks infrequently occur on medals of Davison's manufacture in the series Circle of the Friends of the Medallion (numbers three through eleven, 1911–14).

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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