Just for fun: How do you like your silver?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Sep 14, 2020.


How do you like your silver?

  1. Minty fresh!

    2 vote(s)
  2. Bright, clean silver!

    4 vote(s)
  3. Clean, satiny silver!

    2 vote(s)
  4. Satiny, showing some age!

    6 vote(s)
  5. Album toning!

    15 vote(s)
  6. Gunmetal grey!

    4 vote(s)
  7. Paint it black!

    0 vote(s)
  8. All natural, baby!

    5 vote(s)
  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    I've seen this discussed a few times, but I don't think we have had a thread on it quite yet.

    In the world of ancient coins, there is a general consensus that cleaning is OK, because otherwise we would all have nothing but little round discs of dirt. Bronze is quite reactive, and can never be restored to it's original color - most collectors agree that you can clean down to the patina, and then you should stop. Gold on the other hand is highly inert - you basically just need to rinse off the dirt and you'll never be able to tell it spent a day underground.

    Silver on the other hand is slightly reactive, and the method used to clean it can have dramatic impacts on the end result, further complicated by how it's stored. I've seen varying opinions, but I thought it would be fun to see what everyone prefers for their collection.

    Imagine you had an example of each available to you, for the same price, same level of desirability besides the surface. What type of silver coin would you choose?

    Illustrated with some silvers from my own collection:

    Top row - Clean silver

    1) Minty fresh - like it was struck yesterday. Bright, reflective surfaces.
    2) Bright, clean silver - Not quite reflective, but close.
    3) Bright, slight satin finish - Surface has some subtle luster, but mostly scatters light to give an even look.
    4) Bright silver, but satin surface completely scatters light, and gives it a sense of age.

    Bottom row - Toned silver

    5) Album toning - Clean surfaces, not quite reflective with light/medium grey and possibly other colors creeping in
    6) Gunmetal - Deeply toned with little to no reflectivity
    7) Matte black - Completely darkened silver
    8) All natural - Uncleaned or minimally so, just how it came from the ground.

    Feel free to show your own examples of an "ideal" silver coin and expand on your rationale!

    Personally, my ideal for silver is right around the Trajan - I prefer my ancient silvers to show their original color, while also having surfaces indicative of age. This is what the majority of my denarius run looks like, although the Trajan is by far the most pleasing example.
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  3. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    About #5 through #7 is how I like my silver ancients to be, even Medievals.
  5. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Number 5 (album toning) is my ideal for what I like my ancient silver to look like. Of course, I will buy anywhere from 1 to 7 if the coin looks pleasant and is a desirable (to me) type. (I try to to avoid coins like #8.) I've been told that collectors in Iran usually prefer their ancients to be minty fresh like #1.
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    1, 2, or 3 - I like the impression of bright, lustrous silver, even on some of the debased coins of the Empire. Tone is an added plus.

    Septimius Severus, lustrous



    Phillip I - toned but lustrous



    Valerian II - late example of a lustrous silver piece. Therefore, kind of hard to find.


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  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    There was not a choice available...

    I like my silver in Electrum. :)

    Carthage Zeugitana 310-270 BCE EL Dekadrachm-Stater 18.5mm 7.27g Tanit Horse 3 pellets in ex MAA 12 SNG COP 136
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  8. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Finn235......Nice idea for a thread.......
    I really like toning and I'm not really into shiny!
    Coin 1..Deep toning with silvery highlights..
    Coin 2..Sort of a gun metal tone..
    Coin 3......This is probably my perfect looking toning...
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  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    And, @Finn235 , if it is silver, I like 'em ALL (you did not have a voting button for that either!)

    Syracuse Gelon 458-478 BCE AR Tet 24mm 16.7g Slow Biga Victory Arethusa 4 dolphins Sear-Greek 914

    THRACO-MAKEDON TRIBES- MYGDONES or KRESTONES 480-470 BCE AR Obol 0.79g 11mm Goat Quadripartite incuse square AMNG III 14

    RR L Rustius 76 BCE AR Den 19mm 3.6g Mars SC Rome - Ram L RVSTI Cr 389-1 Sear 320

    Athens Attica 454-404 BCE ARr hemidrachm 16mm 2.08g Athena frontal eye - facing Owl wings closed olive branches COP 70 SG 2528

    Baktria Apollodotos I 180-160 BCE Square AR Drachm 20mm 2.4g Elephant Zebu-Brahman SNG ANS 324-327
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  10. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    I like my silver any way I can get it!
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  11. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    My vote was for "album toning," but I don't have many examples.

    Bar Kokhba Zuz.png
    Antony Denarius Obverse  B.jpg
    Antony Denarius Reverse B.jpg
    Nerva Denarius.jpg

    Here's some toned hacksilver!

    Hacksillver Judaean Shekel.png
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  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    After voting I was pleased to see my favourite (album toning) the dominating leader in the voting. Survey says we're right! :D I do like to have a variety in my collection though. (The worst is highly uneven toning with a hearty helping of horn silver. Yechh.)

    I think a lot of us like iridescence. Some sweet album toning here:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.01.02 PM.jpg
    It was not like this when I got it three decades ago - I can thank an Abafil case for improving the coin. (I've taken it out now, though!)

    More sweetness on a Renaissance coin. Fairly bright in places, but oh, those colours:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.10.56 PM.jpg

    I enjoy the contrast on the RR denarius which acquired its toning in the trays of E. E. Clain-Stefanelli:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.04.12 PM.jpg

    The toning on this one is pretty heavy, getting beyond "album toning", but I love the colours:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 4.57.07 PM.jpg

    For some reason I have two super-dark sceats. I like the first, it's about as heavy a tone as I can tolerate, whereas the second is a bit too much for me.
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 4.59.10 PM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 4.59.29 PM.jpg

    Argh, my eyes!! This fourrée is way too bright, cleaned to within an inch of its life.
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.08.43 PM.jpg

    The light tone of categories 2-4 is fine, but just a wee bit boring:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.16.20 PM.jpg

    I don't have much in category 8, but I suspect there's lots of silver wash under this find patina. I like it and would never touch it.
    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.13.02 PM.jpg
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  13. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    What I've been doing with coins that have one side in better condition, better artistry or better whatever, is taking them and stripping all toning off the more appealing side of the coin. Thus, the next person that sees it says, "Wow this side is beautiful due to X. But what great toning on the other side!:woot::wacky::facepalm:"
    Seriously though, PEOPLE! STOP DOING HURTFUL STUFF TO YOUR COINS CAUSE you Think it makes it look better:punch::stop:
    But certainly I love a nicely toned beauty. To all the nicely toned beauties out there, I don't care how much you weigh, I don't care how round you are, I don't even care whoes hands you been held in. I see you boo;) I see you:kiss: IMG_0750.JPG 20190326_172150_ACE5DBD0-870B-4974-9441-1B8D7515863A-406-000000E6E32D723A.png 20191013_173001_IMG_3509.PNG 20191109_112627_CD93453C-32BB-44B5-BFAE-E0D185387149-223-00000010E256BE58(1).jpg 20191011_143325_IMG_3376.PNG 20191215_154633_8BD06ABE-6218-4D9C-B2B5-C3844C2189C8-2094-000000E02866169B.jpg 20190326_180721_09237FE9-4916-452F-9B9F-0984329177F1-406-000000EEDE315927.png 20190729_183217_F2E17BA8-D6D8-4DDB-BC6B-ABBD8DEFAE49-619-00000046E07E3115.png 20190328_111925_65E4B84B-6203-41EE-A225-4E1341108A58-526-000000D2171BF650.png
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  14. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  15. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I lean towards album toning, and am happy to allow for some variety. As far as bright and silvery goes, I think that OP Trajan, for example, is fantastic!

    RR - T Carisius Quadriga 3988.jpg
    RR - C Hosidius Geta Lot New 384.jpg
    RR - L Cassius Longinus Voting 3482.jpg
    Julius Caesar - New 2017.jpg
    Hadrian - Den Concordia ex Kelly 2990.jpg
    Caracalla - x6 Antoninianus Oxen Biga 2588.jpg
    Thessaly Larissa - Hemi Taurokathapsia 2734.jpg
    Lot - Tiberius Penny a.jpg
    Hadrian - Den Concordia Ex Meisner 3071.jpg
    Julia Domna - Mat Avgg Mat Sen AK 2567.jpg
  16. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    I tend to prefer old cabinet toning, satiny surfaces showing some age, or ideally something in between. Neither overcleaned metal nor "hoard patina" are quite my cup of tea.

    Below are some silver coins that in my opinion show great patina:

    Magna Graecia – Thrakien, Apollonia Pontika, Diobol, Apollo und Anker.png
    Thrace, Apollonia Pontika, AR diobol, 4th century BC. Obv: laureate head of Apollo facing. Rev: upright anchor; A to l., crayfish to r. 11mm, 1.35g. Ref: SNG Copenhagen 459–461.

    Römische Republik – RRC 285:1, Denar, Sergius Silus, Reiter mit Kopf.png
    Roman Republic, moneyer: M. Sergius Silus, AR denarius, 116–115 BC, Rome mint. Obv: EX·S·C ROMA; helmeted head of Roma, r., denominational mark X. Rev: Q M·SERGI SILVS; one-armed horseman (Marcus Sergius Silus) l., holding sword and severed head in l. hand. 17mm, 2.84g. RRC RRC 286/1.

    Römische Republik – RRC 378:1c, Denar, Marius Capito, Ceres, Ochsengespann.png
    Roman Republic, moneyer: C. Marius C. f. Capito, AR denarius serratus, 81 BC, Rome mint. Obv: CAPIT; head of Ceres, diademed, r., control number CV; control mark (whip?) before. Rev: C. MARI. C. F. / S. C; ploughman with two oxen l.; above, control number CV. 18mm, 3.88g. Ref: RRC 378/1c.

    Rom – Marcus Aurelius, Denar, Iuventas.png
    Marcus Aurelius (as Caesar), Roman Empire, denarius, 140–144 AD, Rome mint. Obv: AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS; head of Marcus Aurelius, bare, r. Rev: IVVENTAS, Iuventas (youth) standing l., dropping incense in candelabrum and holding patera. 17.5mm, 3.16g. Ref: RIC III Antoninus Pius 423a.

    Rom – Caracalla, denar, Apollo mit Leier.png
    Caracalla, Roman Empire, denarius, 215 AD, Rome mint. Obv: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM; laureate head of Caracalla r. Rev: P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P; Apollo, naked except for cloak flying behind, standing l., holding branch in extended r. hand and with l. hand lyre set on altar. 21mm, 3.04g. Ref: RIC IV Caracalla 254.

    Rom – Elagabal, denar, Sol mit Peitsche.png
    Elagabalus, Roman Empire, denarius, 220 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG; bust of Elagabalus, draped and laureate, r. Rev: P M TR P III COS III P P; Sol, radiate, naked except for cloak over l. shoulder, standing l., raising r. hand and holding whip in l. hand; in field l., star. 18mm, 1,80g. Ref: RIC IV Elagabalus 28b.

    Rom – Philip Arabs, Antoninian, Laetitia.png
    Philip I “the Arab,” Roman Empire, AR antoninian, 244–247 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG; bust of Philip the Arab, radiate, draped, cuirassed, r. Rev: LAETIT FVNDAT; Laetitia, draped, standing l., holding wreath and rudder. 24.5mm, 4.37g. Ref: RIC IV Philip I 36.

    MA – Deutschland etc., Fulda, Heinrich IV, Brakteat (neu).png
    Abbey of Fulda, under Heinrich IV. von Erthal, AR bracteate, ca. 1249–1261 AD. Obv: Abbot seated facing holding palm branch and book; in Gothic polylobe and double pearl border; around outer Rim; H-V-H-V. 29mm, 0.52g. Ref: Berger 2293.

    MA – Deutschland etc., Magdeburg, Moritzpfennig, 1603ff .png
    Archbishopric of Magdeburg, bracteate penny, ca. ca. 1270–1280. Obv: St. Maurice, wearing armour, standing facing, holding lance and lance flag; ringlets r. and l.. Rev: negative design (bracteate). 20mm, 0.73g. Ref: Berger 1603–1605; Slg. Bonhoff 719.

    MA – Deutschland etc., Deutscher Orden, Wynrich von Knyprode.png
    Teutonic Order, under Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode, AR schilling,1351–1382, Thorn or Danzig mint (?). Obv: + MAGST WVNRICS PRIMS; eagle shield of the Grand Master. Rev: + MONETA DNORVM PRUCI; shield of the Teutonic Order. 21mm, 1.64g. Ref: Neumann 4.
  17. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    On the surface it sounds simple, but it is actually a difficult question. If I had a choice of 2 coins, same type/same price but one bright the other one dark, which one would I go for? The answer is the one that does the design justice. Usually if the coin is of high artistic detail, I would say that bright is best, but in a 'tired' coin a bit of toning would be of benefit as it helps to outline the design by having the high points bright and the main flan darker. A nice example of what I mean is my Corinth stater:


    In this case, the 'old cabinet toning' is almost like part of the design and it is more evident in hand. But too dark would not do it for me. A silver coin needs to look silver and if it is too toned you can't help wonder what it would look like cleaned and it makes you stare at the baking soda every time you open the kitchen cabinet :hilarious:
  18. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Cabinet toning, particularly if there is a bit of iridescence.

    Antony and Octavia cistophorus.jpg Cleopatra Thea Antiochus VIII.jpg Hostilian PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS antoninianus Baldwin's.jpg Titus COS V Eagle denarius.jpg Trajan PONT MAX TR POT COS II Pax standing denarius.jpg Faustina Sr DEDICATIO AEDIS denarius.jpg Tiberius Denarius.jpg Faustina Sr CONCORDIA AVG standing denarius long inscription.jpg Faustina Sr PIETATI AVG imitation denarius.jpg
  19. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    I like your no. 5! Album toning has my vote, although what I add to my collection is mostly based on availability and if its afforable. Many seem to adhere to cabinet toning, understandable, but those coins are a bit more expensive.

    Some silver with a nice patina, in my collection:

    Golden colouring around the obverse devices and portrait (it's not the lighting)

    Solid gray:

    Rainbow (or as my daugther says, unicorn) colouring:

    A bit too much of a , uhm... sticky stuff look:

    I think this one comes most close to 'old cabinet toning':

    So bright it could light up a runway:

    Attached Files:

  20. Chip Kirkpatrick

    Chip Kirkpatrick Well-Known Member

    I like my silver: free. Got any?
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  21. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Bright shiny Eagles or sealed squares are my favorite.
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