Numismatic and History Discussions > Uncleaned Ancient Coin Discussion

Silver (or silvered) coins in DW/olive oil


Roy W:
Hello all! I have combed the internet for days and can’t seem to find the answer to my question, so I decided to bring it to the pros here.

Will uncleaned silver (or silvered) Roman coins not come clean with simple DW or olive oil soaks? All I can find is information on ammonia or lemon juice baths (and a few articles on diamond tip tools, but I’m not advanced enough in my skills for that just yet).

The question is specific to removing the dirt, not tone of the coin. It would seem like it would soften encrustations the same regardless of the metal type.

Thank you so much for your time and knowledge!

Hallett, Oklahoma, USA

Welcome Roy.

Yes, if you are just removing dirt the same methods apply.

However, a few caveats.  As silver is more reactive you probably want to stick to things like DW and dish soap.

In my experience dirt cleans daily easily off silver coins and though less so on silvered.  If you are having a hard time removing it you may be dealing with something else like tarnish, horn silver, rust etc.

And of course rocky concretions will be hard to remove at the metal is softer and more easily scarred.


Nathaniel N2:
I recently finished cleaning a beautiful Antoninianus of Avrelianvs. The trick is to be patient. If the silvering is just barely holding on there, just wax it and put it away, you won't make it any better by trying, I messed up a coin or two trying otherwise. If the silvering is sound follow the following.

1. Wet the coin with distilled water
2. With a bamboo skewer or toothpick rub the surface gently in circles. Look for dirt to come off.
3. Rinse and repeat until you can't get any more with the toothpick.

4. Using a sewing needle in a vice, gently rub small circles on a wet coin. Observe each darker spot and gently rub.
5. Repeat until clean.

6. Use a diamond crusted tool to continue the process. Dirty areas get much darker with DW.

Always keep the coin wet. If silver flakes at all, stop. That area won't get any better.

7. Finally, you can buff with a fiberglass brush.

Check out my before and after.


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