This is my first post to this part
of the forum
(I have joined just recently).
I wanted to share two of my recent cleaning/conservation projects. I did not take before photos, as I never intended to share the work
with anyone. These were originally what folks on this board seem to refer to as “crusties.” They looked to be devoid of any detail.
My purpose in sharing them is to get an expert opinion on the results. Does the populace here feel these are over cleaned? I have ready about ten pages worth of content on this sub board, and I see clearly that some coins are considered over cleaned, and that some collectors confuse encrustation with patina
I am a former metals conservator
(8 years in a private museum). In those years I spent my time cleaning and conserving mostly American Civil War to WWII items. In that time I became known as a button specialist (I still
collect and clean/conserve historic buttons today as a hobby). I remember cleaning very few coins, and those were WWII German
In 1996 I was part
of a volunteer project to find and identify the true location of the Fallen Timbers battle site. I met
a gentleman who was in charge of the metal detecting site survey and we became friends. He was adamant that I move from behind the microscope and into the field
to see how that side
of the work
was done, and so I went on a few detecting adventures with him. I usually found nothing, but on our final trip to a site in Kentucky, I had
better luck. On that day, at a depth of 11 inches, I dug a handful of coins (six), one of them a silver coin.
I assumed the coins to all be Civil War-era but was quite stunned when the silver coin was cleaned and totally revealed to be a Volusian
with Felicitus reverse
(251-253). All were puzzled as it made no sense for a Roman
coin to be on a Civil War site. Eventually, the ID was revealed, and the consensus opinion was that a Civil War soldier likely claimed it as spoils of war from a local estate and either carried it as a good luck
pice, or simply because it was silver, a curiosity, and therefore would be good
This is how I was introduced to ancient Roman coins
Over the next 20+ years I have collected approximately 50 more (all uncleaned). I have never paid much for them simply because, while I am Rain Man
when it comes
to ancient and military
buttons, I am a complete
neophyte when it comes
to Roman coins
. Even with my museum experience I fear modern forgeries
, as I have seen plenty
of experts in my field
fooled (and I am far from an expert).
So, I present to this group two of my recent cleanings… I admit I am torn as to whether to clean these coins at all. Before proceeding further, I would like some opinions on what I have done with these. I believe I have removed only what the experts here will agree is encrustation while leaving the original patina intact
. Aside from a distilled water soak, I have used a completely mechanical cleaning process. The Constantine
at right does have a thin coating of Renaisance Wax; Diocletian
I do understand these are not rare
, high-value, important coins, but to me they represent great history
and they are (should be) priceless.
I would like to collect more, but knowing next to nothing about Roman coins
, I still
(of even common coins), so I am hoping to learn a lot from this group. I do have reference books on Romans
, and I am a very book-smart, but I lack common sense, and what seems obvious to some I struggle to grasp. This makes learning from books difficult when it comes
to fakes/forgeries (at least in my case).
I have also included a photo of a button project I have just completed which does show a before and after result. The coins were in much the same condition.
For those interested, the button is of Spanish King
, Ferdinand VII
and dates circa 1808-1810 (Napoleon’s occupation of Spain
). It is 18mm.
I appreciate all opinions… good