I thought I would post a few images of Chinese
cash coins in the process of being cleaned.
Like ancient Roman
and Greek coins
cash coins is important and can add substantially to the value. Chinese
collectors in particular can greatly value the esthetic qualities of the various colour combinations - cash patinas can include colours seldom seen in western ancients such as blue, red
, orange and purple.
However, it is also more common to find Chinese
cash that have been chemically cleaned, often done to a very high standard
, revealing the original metal. And interestingly, this is not considered by many to be as heinous a "crime" as it is with say Roman coins
It is also very common to find Chinese
cash where the raised surfaces - the calligraphy characters and the rims - are cleaned, sometimes even to shiny metal, while the fields still have a patina
or even a thick crust.
As such, in many loads of bulk Chinese
cash few if any coins require much cleaning beyond a nylon brushing or picking the dirt out of the characters.
However, sometimes you encounter real "crusties" among the bulk
coins and this can be very exciting as they are truely unsorted - they can not be identified until cleaned. These coins have a very hard, but usually smooth, crust on them. It can be quite thick.
Most websites I have seen that address cleaning Chinese
cash recommend chemical cleaning. However, being primarily a cleaner of LRBCs, I like to attack them mechanically.
Scalpel/x-acto knife is of some use but may main weapon is the steel pin - usually a sewing needle - which I keep sharp with a whetstone.
Below is a before picture of four Northern Sung Dynasty (my guess based on fabric
and rest of the bulk lot
cash. Note the very thick, hard patina