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

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

  1. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    When in doubt ask the experts or live and learn! Good luck
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
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  3. TonkawaBill

    TonkawaBill Active Member

    are u wanting to get rid of it.
  4. MasterVampire

    MasterVampire Member

  5. Phil's Coins

    Phil's Coins Active Member

    Solution - Don't Clean
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    That's not alwasy feasible. We're not talking about modern/US coins here.

    The VAST majority of ancient coins either have been cleaned in the past, or need severe cleaning.

    Here are two of my personal examples.

    would you rather have this:
    Or this?

    Likewise, would you rather have this:
    Commodus RIC 253.JPG

    Or this?

    Disclaimer: the Commodus is the one I scratched up heavily in exergue of the reverse. However, it was among my first cleaning projects so it was a learning experience.

    Damage considered, I would still much rather own and display the cleaned Commodus than the encrusted and discolored one.
    DonnaML, Edessa, Exodus_gear and 2 others like this.
  7. Exodus_gear

    Exodus_gear Well-Known Member

    Don't be discouraged, I know a decent amount of people are against cleaning. Which is slightly baffling because very rarely do coins pop out of the ground 2000 years later in pristine condition. They require some sort of touch up.

    I've been doing it for a few years and yes I will admit my first 1 or 2 were not really that great of a cleaning or restoration job. Its going to take patience and practice. You'll need to learn to look for details like bronze disease and weak patina. Gather up several tools as well. Toothpicks, bamboo, toothbrush, and orthodontic equipment. Rule of thumb is the harder the tool you use, the more gentle the touch is needed.

    The first one below, I just finished yesterday. I realized that the patina on the rev side was a bit weak on one of the soldiers and decided to stop there before I damaged anything. The 2nd one is from a few months back.

    If you have any questions or need help/advice let me know


    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Along with @hotwheelsearl's examples, this is where I'm coming down. You can call cleaning a 'necessary evil,' but even as such, for ancients (or that much else that's been in the ground for one or more millennia), it runs to being necessary.
    Except, only by people who know what they're doing! (...Which I don't, which is why I don't.)
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  9. capthank

    capthank Well-Known Member

    I think most of us has been there and learned after to never clean beyond distilled water.
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  10. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    My examples above required harsh and dangerous chemicals but the result was worth it
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  11. Michael W. Bradley

    Michael W. Bradley New Member

    Sorry, no expert here. As I have said before most of you people are in another galaxy so many here are really going to dislike this-most all of my coins are relatively inexpensive in the first place-still I want them to look as nice as possible-as close to mint looking as I can get. Look, if an ancient Roman merchant wouldn't want it-then neither do I.Yes, sometimes it can go too far, but what do you expect to look like in 2000 years? From You Tube and my own experience, particularly with BRONZE, silver requires much gentler handling.#Start with a sawed-off toothbrush. Cut down the brush with scissors. Toothpaste the coin. I use "Bar Keepers Friend" on top usually. Scrub. Scrub. Scrub. Scrub until your fingers fall off. THERE IS NO EASIER WAY! Yea, sometimes can use tumbler-forget it for the final finish anyway.
    Some experts recommend soak in Olive oil if you can wait forever. . Regrettably have made a couple scratches myself-it's kinda like marking up the Declaration of Independence. Admittedly, this post is not for everybody. Newbies maybe.
    PS These cheap dealers will sometimes lacquer a coin rather heavily. I suppose some consider it a type of preservative-but for me now I always remove it. Also I've noticed that it can be a red flag for them to hide some type of blemish.
  12. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Toothbrush I have yet to try. My method involves chemicals and metal picks. I don’t have much patience...
  13. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    The coin is by no means ruined. it is a nice example.

    Just leave it alone. Over time the scratches will tone to the same color as the surrounding areas.
  14. Speaking of names, 'Joemama' is a classic! I used to use that phrase often but yours is legit, with a son named 'Joe'.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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