Author Topic: SHOULD ANCIENT COINS BE CLEANED ?  (Read 2408 times)

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Offline aarkay

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« on: September 26, 2012, 11:38:05 AM »

A question that I have been trying to get an answer….should ancient coins be cleaned…or should it be left as it is to show the effects of age…an opinion I got on the net is that cleaning an ancient coin is strictly a no-no….. it will depreciate its value……can I have your valuable comments…thanks….

A link I got in this connection on the net is interesting……

Why worry about dead yesterdays and unborn tomorrows….live in the present…a present for you today…

Offline squarecoinman

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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 09:36:16 AM »
I love this discusion , lets say you find something that looks like a coin and you pay 1 euro , you clean it and find out it is a very rare coin and you can sell it for 40.000 euro , but the guy from the auction house tells you that since it is cleaned you can only get 40.000 uncleaned it would have been 100.000.  Then in theory your cleaning would have cost you 60.000 euro , on the other hand if you would not have cleaned the coin , it would have been a lump of metal value 1 euro , so the cleaning gave you a profit of 39.999 euro .

I have known privatly some coin dealers , all of them clean coins , specialy zinc coins and a few others would all be cleaned , they are good at it , so you can not see it.

I have never cleaned a coin , but my collection is not that old , so i can clearly see what it is. If i would collect ancient coins I would clean the once that where to much gone to indentify

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Offline Coinsforever

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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 01:20:57 PM »
I repeat again some portion of my post :

IMO If we alter a coin from its natural state  removing its original  color , patina , Rust , debris etc  can be termed as cleaning.

Most of the experts & museums prefer to keep the ancient coins in their natural state without cleaning but they would monitor and keep on checking frequently conditions of such coins , if need to preserve they  take  appropriate actions .

Cleaning in harsh way without knowledge deteriorate coins conditions severely  and  after effects cause reduction in numismatic values.
Cheers ;D
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Offline dheer

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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 02:00:47 PM »
Cleaning ancient coins can be tricky ... ie if you don't know enough of metallurgy you can be in trouble and damage the coin beyond repair … the key is old coins the metal themselves were not pure metal and had lots of impurities, the texture was porous … so even if you put such a coin in normal water, you would have damaged it … normal water has quite a few minerals that would get inside the metal [not just the surface] … hence cleaning ancient coins is an art and is hence called preservation, where one tries to remove the dirt and other material that if left untouched may damage the coin more …
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Online Figleaf

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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 11:25:19 PM »
SCM is completely correct. If a coin cannot be identified without cleaning, clean it. If it is covered with harmful stuff, clean it. If it is eaten by bronze disease or otherwise existentially threatened, clean it. If it is a common coin and you'd like it better when it's cleaned, clean it.

Yes, you can damage coins, even destroy them by improper cleaning. If you have no experience, don't clean it. There are plenty of good ancient coin cleaning sites on the web and a cheap lot of uncleaned ancients will give you practical experience. Don't trust any web site that proclaims you should never clean coins or that only experts should clean coins. They are by definition written by people without experience who should write on things they know about instead. Do trust Bruce, our friendly in-house cleaning guru.

Get info, take your time, be patient, be careful. Always start with the least aggressive appropriate method and become more aggressive only when necessary. Don't be a perfectionist and don't overdo it. Like that, you and the coin should be fine.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bruce61813

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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2013, 06:02:29 AM »
Fig is right, slow and easy is the game for cleaning. I us my own Gringgotts # 2, about 15 grams in 350 ml of boiling water of about the same then put it on the hot plate of an old coffee maker. This will keep the solution at 150 F as long as i want. I use plastic wrap over the top to stop evaporation. Do this for 24 hours, and a lot of the clay coat will break down. The coins sit on a "mat" made from a green scrubber, boiled to get rid of the abrasive, it becomes a soft gray cushion, that supports, but leaves plenty of room for flow. Scrub with a soft toothbrush after 24 hours, under running water [this will wash away the abrasive clay particles so they won't scratch the coin. Repeat as needed, usually twice. Anything harder and be worked with toothpicks, bamboo, or a sewing needle with magnification.