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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Uncleaned Ancient Coin Discussion  |  Topic: Why is this Board Dead...? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Mayadigger
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« on: September 24, 2016, 04:47:16 pm »

Ave!

"Once upon a time, in a Forum Kingdom far away..."

Back in the day, nearly 20 years ago (before the great Forum Crash) this was an excellent board for how to clean, preserve and to restore ancient coins. There were 5-10 posts per day/week if not more...and now? Only 2-3 per month..at best.

Can anyone tell me why you think the board has dissolved to such few posts?

Color me curious,

And best regards

Kevin

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Jay GT4
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 05:01:42 pm »

Probably because the quality of uncleaned coins has plummeted in the past few years.  You're not getting any quality 1st century coins anymore, they seem to all be late 3/4th century and they've all been picked through.  My last great batch of uncleaned had a nice Caligula....those days are gone.
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 05:37:37 pm »

Ave!

Hi Jay, I love you like a brother, but what has that do with cleaning them? Don't be a buzz-kill for others looking as to clean their coins. Nothing wrong with LRBC; all are collectable, amigo.

The days are not gone for uncleaned coins.

Any one else can speak up concerning the Dead Board issue.

Best regards,

Kevin
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 07:09:18 pm »

Nothing wrong with LRB!

But I think most people who buy uncleaned get them from ebay...and we know what those "uncleaned" are like.  Disappointed in what they get there is no reason to show them off here.  Shame really because I love seeing the transformation when you have real uncleaned coins like the ones you've shown.  I haven't cleaned a coin in years....maybe I'll try again and post it  Wink
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otlichnik
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 01:07:24 pm »

Maybe it's the success of the site......

All the info you need to clean coins is here.  While it is fine to help new people or people with new problems we are in fact just repeating ourselves over and over.  Maybe people are reading and finding they advice they need without having to post new questions.

Shawn
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 09:21:33 am »

Decline in uncleaned coin quality.  Uncleaned coins today are usually much lower quality preservation, many more common types, and more expensive. Also, I believe there has been an increase in the use of chemical cleaning with very poor results. The old olive oil or distilled water actually worked better. So the after cleaning quality is even worse than it should be.

Decline in uncleaned coins availability.  Forum Ancient Coins rarely sells uncleaned coins anymore because nobody is offering us legally obtained, decent uncleaned, at reasonable prices. VCoins does not allow listing uncleaned or even unattributed coins because that usually means new finds and might mean "looted."

Steep decline in the ancient coin collecting hobby among young people, who are the majority of uncleaned coin collectors. Ancient coins on eBay are completely DEAD. eBay was once an engine for creating new collectors. We recently listed ten coin with starting prices of $.99 - they all sold with one bid for $.99 each. Our fixed price eBay sales have dropped so much that we no longer maintain a premium store with all our inventory. The number of page views per month on Forum's VCoins store is 1/5 what it once was. The high-end European auctions are prospering, but that has little to do with uncleaned coin collecting.  
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 01:21:49 pm »

Agreed, the quality of the coins has killed the market.  Not so sure about younger people.  I give coins to people 25 to 35 years old and they're fascinated by them and can't believe you can buy them for a few dollars.  Don't know if they become collectors though.  I think collecting requires a certain gene or something.  As far as Ebay; I think it's slowly dying.  There was a time you could find bargains or reasonable prices for most anything; now everyone seems to be looking for top dollar.  Haven't found an Ebay bargain for anything (coins or otherwise) in quite some time.
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 01:22:29 pm »

Ave Joe, Shawn, Nero and Jay!

Quote
We recently listed ten coins with starting prices of $.99 - they all sold with one bid for $.99 each.

Yikes! That's the same reason we gave up on eBay years ago.

It looks like the old days are gone forever.  Sad

Best to all,

Kevin
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 07:05:57 pm »

Why did this decline happen? Is it just that most of the coins have been found? Laws that don't allow importation? If it was really good in the 90's I can't see how all the stashes have been found and there are no good uncleaned coins left to be found and sold?
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2016, 08:28:04 pm »

Why did this decline happen? Is it just that most of the coins have been found? Laws that don't allow importation? If it was really good in the 90's I can't see how all the stashes have been found and there are no good uncleaned coins left to be found and sold?

Cleaning coins is a labour-intensive task, which sometimes rewards the coin-cleaner with a rare or high quality coin, and, for that reason, that cleaning is now done in the low-income countries where the coins are typically found. If a group of coins is found in Albania, the coins are nowadays cleaned in Albania so as to increase the value of all the coins and identify the higher value coins. So there's no uncleaned coins leaving eastern Europe any more. If you want uncleaned coins so as to cost-effectively find nice things, we can bet that in Albania (average wage $2 per hour) or Egypt ($0.60 per hour) they'll want them more you. In the 1990s, just after the end of the cold war, such coin-cleaning enterprises hadn't yet been established, but by today, nothing except cleaned coins comes from the source countries.
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2016, 09:38:06 pm »

I would add to Andrew's answer that while, for the most part the usual bulk uncleaned coins are garbage, many of the higher quality uncleaned coins that reach the market are snapped up by a small number of very experienced cleaners and dealers, and many of these dealers just send the coins off to the former. I recently purchased a very rare victoriatus I needed for my collection in an uncleaned state. I could've learned to clean it and given it a shot, but for me it was just as easy to send it to one of these experts, whose full time job is cleaning coins, to be professionally done. I don't know if every collector knows people like this, but many of the collectors that I communicate with seem to know at least one expert cleaner whom they send coins out to rather than taking their chances with them. I think the reason so few of these people stop by boards like FORVM's is that I've heard more than once that the methods and formulas used basically amount to a proprietary trade secret and were very expensive to develop, and most for whom cleaning is a full time occupation are hesitant to share them with friends, let alone strangers on the internet.
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2016, 12:49:34 pm »

Not to revisit the past (unnecessarily, haha), but I was a big fan of the uncleaned coin competition on this site, and since its demise I find that I only visit occasionally. Even watching what folks could do with veritable junk was entertaining and sometimes impressive. It also often generated interesting exchanges, in addition to being a unique Forvm board feature.

That said...I keep scrubbin' what I can get my hands on!
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2016, 06:08:37 pm »

I have been into numismatics for 20 years, but relatively new to ancients. I am VERY particular about the ancients I buy--and who I buy from. I won't buy uncleaned coins not because I am lazy or unable to clean coins.  I won't buy them because better coins are available already cleaned--and yes, at a premium, I know.  And that's ok.

I won't buy anything from Ebay and it might be a surprise to know that 98.7% of my ancients came from Joe right here at Forum.  This is because I trust them and they have the best service, offerings, guarantee and returns policy anywhere. 

I suppose I could swerve into uncleaned, but why, really?  Forum does such a great job all around that I don't feel the need to fill my collection with other, lower quality and dubious material.  If I could not find anything to buy at Forum, it might be different--but that is not likely to happen.

Dan
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2016, 09:55:03 pm »

   I spent close to 3000 dollars on uncleaned coins in the past. The deals seemed good. Most of the time it was just a dollar per-coin. A year ago I realized I could no longer afford buying uncleaned coins. Buying 3000 uncleaned coins for 3000 US$ resulted in wasting money. All uncleaned coins sold in last 5-7 years have been sorted and searched many times before they reach a final destination.  95% of those uncleaned coins turned out to be the Constantius II  fallen horseman coins in condition that was just not acceptable for any self respected collector. Yes, it was fun cleaning them, hoping for Procopius coins to turn out somewhere (never happened), and even if a single Procopius coin was found in those lots it wouldn't be worth 3000US$. So after spending that kind of money I finally realized it's very unpractical and EXPENSIVE. I can afford to buy a nice cleaned coin for 300$ but I no longer can afford to spend 3000$ on uncleaned 3000 coins that will be mostly a junk. The bottom line, the uncleaned coins is the thing of the past for me. Unless some truly uncleaned and NOT SEARCHED lots will show up.  I highly doubt this will ever happen again. No more Constantine Family low grade extremely common and inexpensive even in much better condition coins for me, thank you but no thanks. Too expensive. I can't afford it. Not worth the trouble and money spent on them.
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2016, 04:41:30 pm »

Have to agree with oceanbreeze.  I love cleaning coins but also reached the point where I didn't want more Constantius fel temps and slugs.   I decided to spend money on coins I really wanted .  Still try uncleaned once in a while but the quality and variety just isn't there.
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2016, 07:34:47 am »

You don't clean uncleaned coins to get great coins. 

Most of us recognize that the situation Oceanbreeze spoke of is generally true.  There are exceptions with good lots, which seem to e scarcer and scarcer these days, where you did get nice coins, though probably still not "worth the money".

No, cleaning uncleaned coins is in fact a entirely different hobby from collecting coins.  You can do both but should not confuse them. 

Cleaning coins is about spending time on a hobby.  In that way it should be compared to going to a movie or sports game, or going drinking with friends.  In all those pastimes you spend money (sometimes lots) and have nothing but memories afterwards.  It is the time spent that counts.  No one says I wasted those seasons tickets. 

Cleaning coins should be treated that way.  As a bonus you do get some coins.  Maybe not many keepers, or at least many that remain as keepers a new years into your hobby, but you spend time, have some anticipation/excitement, and get some stuff to keep.

Shawn

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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2016, 01:53:06 pm »

I think to carry on from what Shawn said above is to add that not only the time spent in the labor as the journey, as much as the destination, is the learning that also goes on in the identification. Bust types and reverses, learning the nomenclature of the discipline, resources and the history of what the coin represents. Figuring out what the uncovered past may be trying to say? For me uncleaned coins was the vehicle in as sense for my learning. I still clean a little when I have to but my collecting has shifted.

cw
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2016, 03:07:32 pm »

For me, I still think there is a virtue for the new collector to simply handle a number of coins quickly and relatively inexpensively through uncleaneds. I started collecting in the early 2000s, right after the Golden Age of Uncleaned Coins. But even so, I’ve probably bought 100-150 uncleaneds myself—a modest number. But most of my late imperial issues come from uncleaneds, and I am glad to have them. Some are in terrible shape. Others look quite nice. But I got to know a host of reverse types and checked off several emperors from the houses of Constantine and Valentinian as a result of uncleaneds. I’d still recommend them to the new collector, as much for the educational value as anything else.

After a few uncleaned purchases, I suspect the collector who stays with the hobby “graduates” on to single-coin purchases in the higher grades. And the fact that folks are more sensitized now to “ethically sourced” coins makes purchasing so-called uncleaneds a more problematic process. But I still think uncleaneds (or, perhaps more accurately, bulk coins in low grades) still have a role to play in the hobby.

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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2016, 04:46:54 pm »

  Buying and cleaning  uncleaned coins is the shortest way to get disappointed in numismatics. All people I got involved in cleaning uncleaned coins were upset with results and gave up. Those who started with true collectible antique coins at higher price are still in the hobby even 15 years later. If you go to supermarket and the only thing is available is Constantine Family coins in low low grade, I mean the bottled coca cola and absolutely nothing else, I doubt you will return to the same store. Studying varieties of coca-cola plastic bottles could be fun but for how long...
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« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2016, 08:29:49 pm »

I agree that uncleaned coins are never going to bring a return on investment, especially when time and effort are factored in. However, like others have said, buying uncleaned coins is a good way for the newcomer to learn how ancient coins "work" so to speak. You learn to attribute and describe coins in the common terminology of ancient numismatics.

I do feel that I'd be remiss if I didn't say that FORVM's Members Auction has been vastly better for me than most places when it comes to uncleaned coins. I think I've bought around 100 uncleaned coins from the members auction, and while most are LRB and several have not been attributable or were slugs, I've had some good finds: a gFair Titus denarius, a decent Septimius Severus denarius, and a couple Hungarian AEs. So, while the output is never great, you can at least have a better chance at variety by buying some of the lots in the members auction. In my opinion, what helps the most is having good photos to see if what you are acquiring will actually be interesting and using the auction format to get a "fair" price, even if that price is ultimately more than the coins will ever be worth.
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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2016, 02:55:12 am »

Hello,

i can add no experience about the worldwide junkbay scene as i only visit dealers and coin shows in Europe to get my kicks.

What is different about the coin show scene now compared to 20 years ago?

Two decades ago the European dealers and coin shows were flooded by large quantities of uncleaned material always containing some uncleaned treasures. Dealers took the easily visible bargains and left the rest for collectors.

Now there is nearly no untouched uncleaned material available. If you find some boxes of dirty material they contain uncleaned junk, some overcleaned bulk, fakes and tooled material.

Looks like an intermediate cleaning and sorting industry has developed since then with lots of new professions created during the last decades to waste uncleaned finds and change this material in a multiple step process to junk for inexperienced buyers.

Regards
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« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2017, 07:19:27 pm »

Hi,

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's catalogue 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
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2017, 07:44:26 pm »

Ave!

You don't clean uncleaned coins to get great coins. 
Most of us recognize that the situation Oceanbreeze spoke of is generally true.  There are exceptions with good lots, which seem to e scarcer and scarcer these days, where you did get nice coins, though probably still not "worth the money".

No, cleaning uncleaned coins is in fact a entirely different hobby from collecting coins. You can do both but should not confuse them. 
Cleaning coins is about spending time on a hobby.  In that way it should be compared to going to a movie or sports game, or going drinking with friends.  In all those pastimes you spend money (sometimes lots) and have nothing but memories afterwards.  It is the time spent that counts.  No one says I wasted those seasons tickets. 
Cleaning coins should be treated that way.  As a bonus you do get some coins.  Maybe not many keepers, or at least many that remain as keepers a new years into your hobby, but you spend time, have some anticipation/excitement, and get some stuff to keep.

Shawn

I agree!

Best,

Kevin
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