Commodus Coin Cleaning Chronicle

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    This chronicle has been a long time in the making. After putting this rare Herculi Romano Commodus denarius through the wringer, it now looks a lot better than ever before.

    When I first got it, it was so discolored and rough looking that I genuinely thought it was a small bronze.
    Commodus RIC 253.JPG

    I threw it in vinegar, then lye, and still was unable to fully clean it. It still had a bit of horn silver and some iron oxide(?). I foolishly scraped at it with a screwdriver (what was I thinking) and left some nasty marks beneath the club.

    Finally, after a few soaks in Sodium Thiosulfate, here's the end result:

    The final result is more pleasing overall, but has a dull, muted color. I suppose I could put it back into lye or vinegar to brighten it up, but this has been abused more in the past 2 weeks than the past 2 thousand years at this point.
    PeteB, DonnaML, Curtisimo and 17 others like this.
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  3. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    Well done, I remember this coin. Glad to have another introduced to the wonders of sodium thiosulphate:)
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    people have used sodium thiosulphate for years with mixed results. I would have only soaked this coin in ammonia with periodic scubs.
  5. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Ammonia can give it that dull look too depending on the silver quality and length of soaks.
  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    Yes...coin cleaning is iffy business; which is why I don't discuss it much on this board. You should never mess with a coin, unless you can accept it being ruined. There are things, however, you can do if the surfaces are dull after an ammonia soak.
    ancientone and hotwheelsearl like this.
  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I'd leave it alone at this point and let the coin re-tone.

    You've done a nice job restoring some of the coin's detail.
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  8. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I was trying to remember who it was who recommended it!! Thanks for your service
  9. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    It's really improved the detail of the portrait!
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  10. singig

    singig Well-Known Member

    Bravo ! , it looks much better.
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  11. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Nice job. An interesting type for Commodus as well.
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