I have not bought uncleaned coins for around 11 years nor
been actively looked for them during that time. I haven't physically cleaned a coin for the same period of time. In fact I haven't bought or looked on eBay
in that same time as have not really actively looking to expand my collection
, until recently.
So for general interest here are the observations of someone that has freshly engaged themselves in this subject after an 11 year hiatus:
1. 11 years ago I remember there being plenty of uncleaned coins on eBay
and on websites generally.
2. Contrary to some of the views above, I remember the vast majority of the coins I saw for sale or which I bought, were small late roman coins
, irrespective of whether I bought them on eBay
or from various reliable sources which were commonly shared around by members
of this forum
3. I remember being able to buy Greek uncleaned coins. I enjoyed that the most because of the variety even though they were of a lower quality
than the roman coins
. They were also more of a challenge to attribute. I've searched and not been able to find Greek uncleaned coins for sale. (Incidentally, I would be grateful if anyone could PM me if they know anyone who does have them for sale. I've checked FORVM
and could not find any - if there are any, than let me know and I'll start there).
4. Cleaning and attributing coins was more enjoyable for me than simply buying
a coin that is already attributed. I enjoyed the mystery of seeing something new and then researching the coin. Even with the late Roman coins
there are so many different variants and mints, no two coins are the exact same!
5. I recently decided to attribute some ancient Indian coins
which I had
in my possession but never attributed them and enjoyed researching them in my Kushan and Ancient Indian books. Not being familiar with them made it a new experience. I agree with the comment above that uncleaned coins is a great introduction to the world of ancient coinage. You learn a lot from trying to work
out what you are holding in your hand by reading through pages of material, not knowing where to start, or in the case of an online resource, hoping you use the magical keyword that brings up something similar to what you are looking for. I learned how to attribute a coin from buying
uncleaned coins. You don't learn if you don't have to do the work
and the dealer you bought a clean coin from has already done it for you.
3. I do remember being able to also buy higher quality
coins at a significantly increased cost. I found an example of large uncleaned coins I bought from someone (cannot remember who) many years ago, and which I never cleaned. I started cleaning them and very few slugs, most can be easily attributed. Nothing in VF+ but still
nice coins overall and worth the price
I would have paid. An example of a Domitian
AE AS is below. It scrubbed up after a few days the other week in distilled water and then (much) patience with (countless) toothpicks. Not a great quality
photo - the dark patches is darker green patina
, not dirt.
4. I've recently been looking at coins sold on eBay
I notice a complete
lack of uncleaned coins for sale. In going to the sources I used to buy from and containing suppliers, I noticed that many have dried up. In fact one dealer told me it would be the last time they would ever be able to offer any uncleaned coins.
What a crying shame if uncleaned coins stop being available and / or people lose interest in what is a rewarding and educational experience.Peter