Numismatic and History Discussions > Roman Coins

Plating question...

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Are many of the Roman coins silver plated??

I have been cleaning up some of my really bad encrusted coins through
electrolosis and notice that many seem like silver then  during cleaning turn copper color.
Since these are just for fun coins I am not concerned about ruining them, just wondering.
I put my good patina coins in olive oil for a month to clean.

Also how do I know if I have a gold coin?  do gold coins have patinas also??


Jerome Holderman:
Gold coins will not have patina or encrustations, they also will not be pitted or corroded. Basically they come out of the ground looking just like they went in. Which is why you never find gold in unclean lots. As soon as they are dug the finder knows that they are gold.

There are different types of silvering applied to coins at various stages of the empire.
Firstly there are fouree coins which have a copper core and are silver plated. There is much debate as to whether these coins are officially authorised debased coins of contemporary forgeries. These are copies of denarii.
Secondly there are silver washed coins, which are bronze conis that have been washed in silver as an official issue. This silver was on these coins is very delicate and should be maintained at all costs. Maintaining the silver wash increases the value of a coins significantly.
Here are a few coins that should allow you to see the difference between these types.

Firstly a Fouree of Julia Domna of an official denarius.


This is a Barbarous imitation of an imperial denarius of Severvs Alexander. It is attempting to copy the style of a MARS VLTOR denarius.

This is a Silver washed Ant of Probus with the silvering intact.


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