Numismatic and History Discussions > Uncleaned Ancient Coin Discussion

cleaning coins in bulk. any method?

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Mandelbaum:
hello,
i have been working with coins for several years. i have also cleaned coins but more for fun than for business. now i have the possibility to have many uncleaned coins. they all have sand patina on them. i don't want to be stoned now :-), is there a method how to clean 200-400 (and much more) coins at once?
of course i know it's very time consuming work if you want to get good results, but i can't afford to invest 1 hour per coin and more.
now they've all been in distilled water for 2 weeks.

thank you for your advice and dont kill me for cleaning sand patina coins :-)

v-drome:
The only way to bulk clean coins that I can think of would be to dump them in some kind of acid or a rock tumbler or something.  We can't kill you because we don't know your address, but if you can post photos of individual coins we may be able to give you some opinions as to how badly it will destroy them, or whether you should just leave them as they are.  I can tell you that I have seen a worn but passable rare coin with a lovely black patina turned into an ugly, pitted, utterly worthless lump of metal in no time at all.  It was a coin I gave to a friend and I certainly did want to kill him when I saw what he had done to it.

otlichnik:
Sadly most bulk cleaning involves chemicals.  There are a few large dealer (or middle-men) who apparently know what to do with large scale chemical baths and constant supervision.  Supposedly good results can be had.  But most such attempts, especially by those not "in the know", end in failure - just check out "uncleaned coins" on flea-bay to see the results. 

I don't even know if this type of bulk treatment works for "desert patina" coins.  I have heard that some dealers have used manual labour for cleaning these - paying people in the Middle East where labour is much cheaper. 

What are your coins for?

If for sale I would suggest selling them uncleaned.  I think there is a big market for uncleaned desert patina coins in small lots.  If for yourself then why work on them individually.  The methods posted by others here, including Salem, can work effectively and quickly.  All you are really doing is wetting the coin and rubbing sand/dirt off the highlights.

SC

Mandelbaum:
hello,

thank you guys for your answers

i have heard about the method involving chemical substances and constant monitoring. it was also explained to me in detail but when i hear sulphuric acid, i always get scared :-)
the coins i always get are pre-cleaned to make them more tasty :-)
the coins are 80% excellent condition. of course, you could sell them as not cleaned, but "not cleaned" always sounds very cheap in my eyes.  i would like to show my results but as my microscope runs on hdmi, i can't show before and after. or i forget to take pictures with my phone :-)  so, there is photo of my last delivery. please don't shout "don't clean" :-) yes, i know, they are already almost perfect

Mandelbaum:
4 weeks ago only 260 pieces

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