I attempted to clean my first coin today and I ruined it

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by MasterVampire, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. MasterVampire

    MasterVampire Member

    So I’ve had this bronze coin that had some dark looking gunk on it. I don’t think it was patina.

    Anyway I had it soaking in a cup of distilled water for about 3-4 weeks but it didn’t seem to do much.

    I had tried over the weeks picking at it with a toothpick but that wasn’t getting anything off and no luck with a toothbrush either.

    Well today I took the coin out of the water and this time tired using a metal pin to scrape it off.

    I had success and this was now starting to get the stuff off it but to my horror I discovered that I had scratched the coin :(

    So I pretty much ruined it and made it look ugly. There’s no way I’m keeping it so that’s like $90 down the drain.

    But to be fair the toothpicks and brushes weren’t doing anything so trying a pin seemed like the logical next step.

    It’s just a shame.
    capthank likes this.
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  3. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    Can you post a picture?
    steve westermeier likes this.
  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    You paid $90 for an uncleaned ancient coin?

    Hopefully you mean more than one.
  5. MasterVampire

    MasterVampire Member

    Sorry I know these are not good photos

    It’s hard to see but that light greenish stuff around the coin.

    Edessa, capthank, tibor and 3 others like this.
  6. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    With a coin like this, if a dry brushing with a tooth brush doesn't do it, you love it as it is. It's not going to get much better. I'd just suggest some finger grease and rubbing to try to spread the toning over the scratches and leave it alone. Unless you know what you are doing, sharpe objects are a no-no.
    rrdenarius, Alegandron and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  7. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Well-Known Member

    Don't say ruined . nothings ever ruined .
    finny and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  8. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Well-Known Member

    that's life
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  9. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Well-Known Member

    what's finger grease , lol.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  10. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    Just the natural oils from your fingers. Some rubbing may help tone the fresh bronze marks back down to near the color of the rest of the coin in time.
  11. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Well-Known Member

    Really . I didn't know that. I've always use a thin ,thin layer of Vaseline on my Coppers.Just enough
  12. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    M.V., Orange Julius gave you good advice ;). Don't be too hard on yourself, the coin is not ruined, it's just impaired :p. In the future leave the cleaning process to the experts. The coin pictured below I bought for $150.00 knowing it was scratched, but didn't care because I was so impressed with the portrait :happy:. After owning it for several years I had the coin slabbed & put it in a Heritage auction, it sold for $480.00 :jawdrop:!

    Trajan Tet. slab.jpg
    Trajan Tet, obv..jpg
    Edessa, finny, philologus_1 and 7 others like this.
  13. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Well-Known Member

    I would pay $150
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  14. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...And that still gets to be a solid, nope, impressive sestertius of Maximinus. Echoing a couple of people here, it's nothing like ruined; just impaired. A little. Like I am, most nights.
    Orfew, finny, DonnaML and 1 other person like this.
  15. Joemama73

    Joemama73 New Member

    look on the brightside you picked a cool named MasterVampire.......I love it ...Tribe Seed.....Song Vampire......I play it everyday.....I took over my son (Joe) hobby
  16. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    The OP's example is why all of us tell folks not to clean coins. However, if you are annal like me and want to clean everything, ancients - many of which are impaired to begin with make great coins to practice on.
    Unless you are experienced and are working under a stereo Microscope you should NEVER use a metal instrument on a coin. I laugh when I read about folks using dental instruments with their naked eye or under a large magnifying glass.

    Work on cheap coins first as you are learning because everything you encounter on them can be found on expensive coins. The other thing to consider is that the removal of many deposits on a coin will leave a depression. Some coins are just better when left alone or given minor conservation. Chemical cleaning is usually a better approach.

    On the bright side, now you can practice the "smoothing" technique.
  17. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    I have 2 microscopes that I work with. One gets me very close. Couldn't work without it.
    Insider likes this.
  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Still a pretty nice coin. Lesson learned. I have had my ups and downs cleaning coins. I tried a chemical approach one time (which I found on the Internet) and it destroyed the coins. (Don't use liquid descaler on late roman bronze!). Minor efforts to remove crud using a toothpick and/or a dental pick can yield decent results on occasion. Your coin still has a nice orichalcum color.
  19. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    You can use Ren Wax for smoothing.
    philologus_1 likes this.
  20. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Ouch. That's an expensive and wasteful lesson.
    That coins patina looked beautiful the way it was.
    If you don't like the way an ancient looks then don't buy it. But for Zues sake don't scrape it with metal!
    Insider, Alegandron and Martha Lynn like this.
  21. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Don’t feel bad. I scratched the heck out of a really rare Herculi Romano Commodus denarius. Live and learn...
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