Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by catadc, May 16, 2019.
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I said it and I still believe it. Coin cleaning is a completely different hobby from coin collecting. If you enjoy it, great. I did not. The cheapest coins available are not uncleaned but the ones that were uncleaned until someone uncovered the fact that they were not Constantia and not worth the water it took to prove that fact. They are the losing lottery tickets after the drawing. Yes you get some winners but at some point most of us tired of identifying the same coins over and over again in conditions that get repulsive after a while. The last time I bought some uncleaned coins the lot included a few partly cleaned coins that I am certain had been pulled on a first sort and returned when determined to no be worth further processing. I do not believe in the concept of uncleaned coins but rather believe the proper term is "coins the pros decided were not worth cleaning".
I prefer spending $10 on one coin that I can see and select rather than 10 coins at $1 each where I might get a couple coins almost as nice in types I already have and other pieces of metal I will feel guilty giving away to people who might think there could be a Constantia in the bunch. It is your hobby. Pick the way that appeals to you.
In the 1960s when I was a teenager I bought a nice looking follis of Diocletian at a local coin shop in Rochester, NY for the princely sum of $3.00 . I got the coin for such a low price because there was a blob of incrustation about 3 mm on each side. The coin was a sharp X-fine but had a matte surface. I wanted to remove the incrustation without damaging the coin so a fellow collector suggested soaking the coin in olive oil for a couple of days & then try scraping off the blobs with my fingernails. It worked ! After removing the blobs I carefully wiped off the olive oil & put the coin in a 2 X 2 flippet. This experiment was conducted on a cold winter day. When summer came around & the temperature spiked over 80 degrees I noticed an oily film in the 2 X 2 that held the follis . I put the coin in a new 2 X 2 after wiping off the oil & within 2 days the new 2 X 2 had an oily film . As it turned out the matte surface on the coin sucked up a lot of oil because it was porous & that oil couldn't be totally removed . After keeping the coin for several years I sold it a local coin show for $5.00 . Lesson learned....
We used to say that olive oil is best reserved for salads but we have switched to balsamic vinegar and kefir as salad dressing so I am not sure on what to use up that oil. I do not like oily coins.
Two months later, here is the only coin worth mentioning of the remaining 7 forvm uncleaned presented in the first post in this thread:
Constantius II - obv: FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C - rev: GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS - Siscia mint
Cleaning was interesting - seemed that the coin will clean nicely (pic 1). After I "finished" and dried the coin, I was like "wt.. is this?", because the patina and fine dirt fused to create a hard crust covering the entire coin. Although under magnification seemed fine, with no dirt left, the coin looked very bad in hand. So I decided to break the crust (pic 2, work in progress). One week later, over 90% of the crust is gone and I decided to stop. The photos, as usual, are bad, but this time the coin looks much better in hand (pic 3).
The reverse cleaned easier, and it also shows more relief and better details in hand that the photo.
And now the frustration - the reverse is off-center to left, the first letter of the mintmark is off the flan and cannot really say what officina it is. Although I would like to have one of the rarer ones, I believe is the more common Gamma version (R2, not that will make a big difference, considering it is not going anywhere).
Going forward, I want to check if and how I can treat Bronze Disease. There are some useful discussions on this forum covering the matter. Five dirty candidates in pretty bad shape volunteered for the experiment, to be cleaned and cured. The one below is the most interesting of the lot: Carinus - Felicit Publica - TXXI (after some DW soaking and cleaning).
Seems to me to be made for VerdiCare. This will give some sheen to the coin with the protective layer it adds.
If you have, or can get some linseed oil or stand oil, it might be an interesting experiment to try rubbing some into one of your coins and letting it cure. The oil will cure to a hard coating (oil paint) and won't bleed. Also there is Museum Wax.
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