A handful of new coins... Some needed "work".

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Justin Lee, May 31, 2020.

  1. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    I've got a handful of new coins that I'd love to share with you all. One of them needed to have a little bit of dusting off and another needed some elbow grease and hard manual labor.

    First, here are the few that didn't need a dang thing.

    A few months ago I got an antoninianus of Elagabalus (early-ish in that denomination's history) that I really enjoy, but I didn't have one from the guy who started it all—Caracalla. So here is my new one from iNumis (never bought from them, but someone a couple weeks ago mentioned getting something from them and thought I'd check them out. Great experience.)
    Caracalla, Ruled 198-217 AD
    AR Antoninianus, Struck 215, Rome mint

    Obverse: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, Radiate and draped bust right, seen from behind.
    Reverse: P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P, Serapis standing facing, head left, raising hand and holding scepter.
    References: RIC IV 263C
    Size: 21mm, 5.05g

    Next one was inspired from @Ryro's infatuation and threads about Macedonian shields, so I thought I'd get one when the opportunity arose to see what the fuss is about. It is pretty cool!
    Kings of Macedon
    Demetrios I Poliorketes, Ruled 294-283 BC
    AE16, Pella Mint

    Obverse: Macedonian shield with (ΔHM or ΔMT**) monogram of Demetrios on boss.
    Reverse: Macedonian crested helmet facing, ΒΑ-ΣΙ flanking, double-axe at left of helmet.
    References: SNG Cop 1224
    Size: 16mm, 3.71g

    **Notes: The obverse monogram appears to encompass more letters than what most references describe (ΔHM or ΔMT), but rather the letters ΔHMTP. With these letters DEMETR can be spelled.

    Next is an upgrade to another example of a similar type, but that one is with a retrograde K, where this example is a star. This one is much finer than my other.
    Kyzikos, Mysia
    AR Hemiobol, Circa 450-400 BC

    Obverse: Forepart of boar running left, tunny fish upwards behind.
    Reverse: Head of roaring lion left, star of four rays above, all in incuse square.
    References: SNG Kayhan 57; SNG Cop 49; BMC Mysia p. 35, 120
    Size: 8mm, 0.36g

    This one I got as a companion to my recently shared Domitian sestertius and was too good of a deal to pass up for a big, chunky Vespasian sestertius (by way of @Victor_Clark!). A nice addition to my ever-growing sestertius collection.
    Vespasian, Ruled 69-79 AD
    AE Sestertius, Struck 71 AD, Rome mint

    Obverse: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III, laureate head right.
    Reverse: Mars advancing right, holding spear and trophy, S-C across fields.
    References: RIC II 199
    Size: 33mm x 36mm, 21.2g

    This next one is the one that I reference needing a little dusting off, as it had some fine dirt that was pretty easy to remove and helped to bring out more of its detail and smoothness.
    Caracalla, Ruled 198-217 AD
    AE Limes Denarius, Struck 213-217 AD

    Obverse: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right.
    Reverse: VENVS VICTRIX, Venus standing left, holding helmet and scepter and leaning on shield, captives seated right and left.
    References: RIC IV 312D
    Size: 19mm, 2.1g
    Notes: These AE denarii are thought to be base metal coins issued to troops on the front lines (hence the name limes = border) to keep silver out of the hands of the enemy.

    And finally, the one that made my hand painful, at times numb and tingly. :D I already had an example, but it is not really that great of condition. And, well, this one didn't start in great condition either, but it showed me a spark of what it could be on the reverse. Here is what it came like:

    So I put it in a little cup and covered it in Verdicare (^it's green ain't it!) and let it sit for an hour or more.

    My Verdicare has already lost its name on the label.

    After letting it soak some of the green stuff softened up (though, not all) and was able to come off with some simple manual manipulation with a poker stick (like a straight dental pick).

    So I kept going with that process: manually working the surface, then reapplying Verdicare and letting it sit and sink in.

    After a handful of hours (and painful hands from holding on to the tool as well as keeping the coin from moving), I felt I'd gone far enough and was pleased enough to call it quits. The coin retained some nice details, but the green stuff was a little too hard on the obverse to get it all off like the reverse. Here is the final product.

    Bruttium, The Brettii
    AE Reduced Uncia, Circa 215-205 BC
    Obverse: Laureate head of Zeus right; thunderbolt behind.
    Reverse: BΡ-ETTIΩN at left, naked warrior advancing right, holding shield and spear; torch at foot before.
    References: Scheu 43; SNG ANS 104
    Size: 21.5mm, 6.6g

    You can see a nicely rendered Zeus head on obverse (there was some corrosion that left a hold in his frontal lobe), a muscle-y hoplite (nude) warrior on the reverse who's packin' a 6 pack (maybe more), and the full letters of the locale (BPETTIΩN).

    Which is your favorite? Do you have one similar? Share anything you'd like!
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
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  3. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    I used to clean coins, but not so much anymore.


    Constantine I
    A.D. 320
    20x19mm 3.0gm
    Obv. CONSTA-NTINVS AVG helmeted and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev. ROMAE AETERNAE [To everlasting Rome, fifteen yearly vows (quindecennalia)] Roma std. r., shield in lap inscribed X/V
    in ex. R eros (in Greek) Q
    RIC VII Rome 194


    Julian II
    A.D. 360-363
    25x26mm 8.5gm
    DN FL C IVLI-ANVS P F AVG; pearl-diademed, draped, & cuirassed bust right.
    SECVRITAS REIPVB; Bull, head facing, standing right; above, two stars; at right, eagle standing on wreath, holding another wreath in beak.
    In ex. SCONST
    RIC VIII Arles 318


    A.D. 79- 81
    AE Sestertius
    34x35mm 25gm
    IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; laureate head right.
    PAX AVGVST S-C; Pax standing left, holding a branch in her right hand and cornucopiae in her left.
    RIC II 498 (Eastern mint, possibly Thrace)


    Constantine II
    A.D. 322- 323
    19x20mm 3.7gm
    CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C; laureate, draped, with victory on globe in right hand, parazonium in left hand
    BEATA TRANQVILLITAS; globe set on altar inscribed VO/TIS/XX; above, three stars.
    In ex. dot STR dot
    RIC VII Trier 382
    DonnaML, Edessa, furryfrog02 and 14 others like this.
  4. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Interesting haul. My favourites are the two Caracallas and the Kyzikos hemiobol, but they are all winners.
    Justin Lee likes this.
  5. NicholasMaximus

    NicholasMaximus Well-Known Member


    I wouldn’t mind knowing some your cleaning techniques if you’re willing to share? Those are very impressive transformations.
    Justin Lee, thejewk and Clavdivs like this.
  6. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    You already know which once is my favourite! Very interesting point on the letters discernable in the monogram. He must be a fan of over communicating, as he doesn't just have the customary BA flanking the helmet on his reverse either.
    Here's my ex mon@ominus1thalymus:
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Nice coins. I will try verdicare at some time in the future. Wish I had known about it a few years ago when I was cleaning lots of coins, somewhat ineffectively I might add.
    Justin Lee likes this.
  8. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    Very nice cleaning examples, Victor!

    Thanks! No mistaking them with his curly dotted hair!

    Thanks! Yea, I was looking at the monogram and just seeing all those Greek letters that are in his name.
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  9. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    I used electrolysis, except for the silvered BEATA. However, I do not recommend this as a way to clean coins as it is very easy to destroy a coin. When surface encrustations are removed, you can be left with an ugly pitted mess. I have cleaned thousands of coins and still would only use this as a last resort and, even then, always expect that the coin may be ruined. Another caution, you also usually have to repatinate.
  10. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    Yea, it works pretty well on that stubborn green.
  11. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Am I correct that verdicare is no longer being produced? Perhaps @BadThad can chime in.
  12. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    That's what I'd heard from him in another thread a number of months ago, but that he has a personal stash reserved for himself and "CT friends" or the like.
    furryfrog02 likes this.
  13. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I've never used it but I've heard great things about it.
  14. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    It does help to loosen/soften the green stuff, it works well on that, though *disclaimer* it's not magic, it doesn't remove manual working from the equation (unless it's mild surface verdigris on moderns, that seems to come off easy), you're still cleaning a coin, but it aids in the process on certain encrustations. :) Truth in advertising and all.
    DonnaML and furryfrog02 like this.
  15. Archeocultura

    Archeocultura Well-Known Member

    One of the longer projects: just a scalpel and magnification III Antoninus Pius 1003 Temple sest 12-1008 dirty.jpg III Antoninus Pius 1003 Temple sest 12-1008 cleaned.jpg
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