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How Not to Clean Your Coins


This early Roman Imperial Æ dupondius arrived not long ago from our Balkan supplier. Makes me want to cry, folks. Note the horribly over-cleaned obverse vs the green dirt-covered patina on the reverse. Not sure who tried to clean this coin but he was a "shoe-maker", a term I use for those who do not have a clue as the proper way to clean and restore ancient coins.

Herein lies the lesson, my brethren, and where he screwed up.

As you all know, patina is your friend and not just for beauty. In many, if not all cases, when fully removed or stripped, you'll find nothing below the patina but corroded junk, bare metal and missing legends as seen on the obverse.

The moral of this lesson is to always take your time, use DW soaks and hand-held mechanical tools such as a diamond-dust dental pick, common dental picks or dull-bladed scalpels...yes, dull-bladed.