Review on Uncleaned (unsearched) Roman Lots

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by britannia40, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. britannia40

    britannia40 Well-Known Member

    I have been playing with Ebay and some seller websites Uncleaned/Unsearched coin lots for about 2 years now off and on.

    I know this is a hot topic for a lot of people and I hope to give a unbiased look into it. I don't know any sellers personally or contact them other than a payment.

    I can say generally on Ebay you mostly come across lots of coins that have been looked thru. The have been cleaned off enough to tell some details of had coins cleaned to tell the period they came from. Many are just lumped culls and beat up items. That is not to say you cant get a lucky few in groups. Most Sellers also know they must give a few decent coins in groups to avoid getting ugly feedback. Usually these nice pieces are mostly clean and put into the pictures to entice buyers and show there are a few decent pieces in the lot.

    This is a group that just arrived today from Hungary. I purchased 40 "uncleaned" coins right at $1 each. 42 came in the package.

    (Group 1)Sellers Photo.

    (Group 1)These are the pictures directly from opening the package.
    E5b.jpg E5c.jpg
    I noticed about 6-7 show most if not all their details and will have good details after a minor cleaning. In defense of my above statement: you can notice most you can see details of the bust and reverse. The ones that are cakes I can see some dings and bent ones.

    Are they Uncleaned most yes. have they been searched or gone through I would have to be of the opinion yes. Im sure they were mostly cleaned off and weighed to see the types, then briefly canvassed over for any rarities or nicer pieces of value.

    I will leave the seller positive feedback as the most you can expect on Ebay is this. But I surely offer to the Ebay novice or bulk uncleaned/unseached buyer that this time can be used sparingly and if far from the truth.

    the second group is a group of 165 pieces I purchased from a non ebay seller website I had heard good feedback from. He charged about 1.45 per coin over 100 pieces. I obtained 165. 168 arrived.

    (Group 2)the website picture.

    (Group 2)The next pictures were taken as received and then after being rinsed down with water.
    6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg 9.jpg 10.jpg
    These also appeared to have a lot of nice details each about a top layer of dirt with a small group being encrusted. I have cleaned several and there are some decent nice pieces.

    I tend to be of the opinion these are also scanned over but not with the scrutiny in regards to Ebay lots.

    In the 3rd Group from the same website seller I purchased partially/pre-cleaned (mostly) desert patina LRB coins. (on a side note I find desert patina to be dirt and not really patina)

    these coins you can see all the details and there are really no surprises. For his store it is unknown what you will received but I believe he tries to be fair and give you decent pieces. There were $20 each. So here you can see the steep price increase. (I am assuming fro the work done, the premium details and "Desert Patina")

    I was pleased with what I got but keep in mind the pricing.

    (Group 3)Sellers website picture.
    What I received from the package pictures will be added to the next reply to this thread.

    As you can see this is just an example of what I have seen on Ebay and from Private sellers on their websites.

    My recommendations:

    1. Don't expect to get rich, find rare, silver, or Gold coins. It is not bloody likely and your only disappointing yourself.

    2. Ask questions of sellers before you click the button. Quality, the amount of work involved (Cleaning is not a 1-2 hour thing for 20-100 coin lot).

    3. If its too good to be true it is. Have realistic Expectations.

    4. Ensure the pictures posted are what your buying. Standard used pictures are quick way to disappointment.

    5. This is a process for people who enjoy cleaning and being the first to see the coins after centuries and to have the thrill of doing it themselves. Trust me if you clean a coin from scratch you will appreciate it.

    I cant stress enough that this is a tedious time consuming effort. If you rush it you will damage your coins.

    All in all i'm pleased with what I bought and you can be too with the proper research and expectations.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    dlhill132, Justin Lee, dadams and 6 others like this.
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  3. britannia40

    britannia40 Well-Known Member

    (Group 3)What I received from the package pictures:
    11.jpg 12.jpg

    (Group 1)Also the nicer ones from the 42 Ebay Lot.
    E5D.jpg E5E.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    dlhill132, GregH, Numinaut and 9 others like this.
  4. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great post
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    britannia40 likes this.
  5. britannia40

    britannia40 Well-Known Member

    Thanks I see Ebay and unsearched Romans mentioned a lot but not a lot of details or pictures of before and after. I will try to keep this updated with lot results and any new information.
  6. Johnnie Black

    Johnnie Black Neither Gentleman Nor Scholar Supporter

    Thanks for the details.

    A few months ago I bought a lot on eBay very similar to your Group 1. It was about what I expected and a good experience, but I realized I don’t have the patience or time at this point. It does take a lot of work and skilled hands to bring some of those coins back to life.
    britannia40 and Theodosius like this.
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    This is an excellent review. I hope everyone sees that no amount of cleaning will restore the lost legends and chipped edges of the lower priced groups. There might be some question as to the best final surfaces for the last group and whether $20 unidentified coins are better than what you get from low priced, full service sellers like some of our CT member dealers.

    Repeating: Working with uncleaned coins might be an appealing hobby for some of us but it is not the same hobby as collecting coins. What do you do with the hundreds of previously uncleaned coins of the usual types? Canning jars?
    Dillan and TIF like this.
  8. britannia40

    britannia40 Well-Known Member

    I will take photos of some of them and also the flaws. I also think ill do a before and after of all as possible and then you can see what you truly get.
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Eye of Horus

    Here is an example of an uncleaned lot I cleaned up. Worked out to about $2.00 per coin. I don't have patience to do this anymore, as it took 3 months to clean them, and still, lots of culls.

    britannia40 likes this.
  10. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Very nice and realistic review. Cleaning ancients is not my hobby but I can see why it some want to do it.
  11. britannia40

    britannia40 Well-Known Member

    Yes its very tedious and time consuming and the quality isn't as great at the end. I probably wont do too much more in the future.
  12. Dillan

    Dillan The sky is the limit ! Supporter

    I purchased about 5 uncleaned lots so far, 1 from a eBay dealer , 4 from Catawiki auctions. The Catawiki auctions lots came from a person in Europe , and these were supposedly inspected and cleared for sale in the open market. all the lots from the auction were uncleaned and still dirty enough that a person could not tell what was underneath. I am sure they have ways of picking these out even with out seeing what is on the coin. Perhaps by size , weight , and shape. I would estimate that the auction lots were the best and worth the money spent. The lots all had 5 or 6 extra coins in each one. The eBay lot was a smaller lot of 40 coins , and the auction were all 100 coin lots. I should have done more research on the eBay lot because it was somewhat disappointing. It was the culled culls, and all coins were very thin . It was easy to tell, what was on the coin, and this was my own fault because it was noticeable in the photos. I do not blame the seller as he never hid anything about the lot. The auction coins had a good variety of mostly Roman coins , and I estimate that approx. 40 to 50 % were worth keeping. Some had considerable wear but other were complete and round, solid and had a decent thickness to the coins. There were someA3 & A4 which were excellent , easy to read the inscriptions and markings. I am still along way from cleaning some of these. I found buying the uncleaned lots was fun , and value wise the coins turned out quite good. I recommend if you are buying uncleaned lots from an auction that it says somewhere the hoard the coins came from were legit and ethical. My reason for buying these is that I thought it was a good way to get a start on a collection , and use these as a learning process to better understand how to attribute these properly. I have a long way to go in the beginning stages before I could call myself a collector of Ancients. Auction costs worked out to about $1.00/coin , and eBay approx. $1.25 /coin. thank you. Dillan
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