- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
How to
Index Of All Titles


Aes Formatum
Aes Grave
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Armenian Numismatics Page
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Horse Harnesses
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Kushan Coins
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Malloy Weapons
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Militaria
Roman Mints
Roman Names
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Serdi Celts
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu

Toned (Toning)

Toned or toning are terms usually used to describe silver coins, and essentially mean tarnished. Using the word tarnished, however, would indicate something negative and might suggest the coin should be cleaned. Toning is considered a positive attribute, not a detraction, and is usually not something that should be corrected.

Toning is oxidation and results from exposure to the air. "Light toning" is just a slight darkening. "Dark toning" could mean the coin that is entirely dark black. The longer a coin is exposed to the air, the darker it will become.

Natural, uncleaned toning will be darker where the coinís surface has had more exposure to air and lighter where the surface has had less exposure to air. Coins with light toning may have even lighter "tone shadows" in the recesses around the coins features, where those features have restricted the flow of air. As a coin darkens, these "tone shadows" will disappear

Sometimes toning can be colorful and sometimes very attractive and increase the value of a coin. Attractive toning variations include golden toning, rose toning, blue toning, iridescent toning, or rainbow toning. Attractive toning can be faked and detecting well-done fake toning requires some expertise.

The highly desired "old cabinet toning" is attractive toning that has developed since the coin was originally cleaned, perhaps many years ago.

Silver coins often have "highlighting" dark toned fields and brighter raised features and inscriptions. Since the raised features actually have more exposure to air, this is not natural. Fakes and replicas often have this type of toning (sometimes created with paint or shoe polish) because it looks the way an untrained eye expects an old coin to look. Genuine ancient coins may also have "highlighting" toning if they have been partially cleaned to create it; or if they are frequently handled, rubbing the toning off the highpoints.  

Sometimes toning can be uneven, mottled, or splotchy, and unattractive. Unattractive toning can decrease the value of a coin. Uneven toning can be natural.  If a coin is encrusted with deposits, areas that are encrusted and not exposed to the air will not tone. Untoned areas may be where encrustation was removed. In a hoard, some parts of a coin may be exposed to air while other parts are covered by the vessel or another coin. Uneven toning can also result from a failed cleaning attempt. Cleaning to remove toning should only be considered if uneven toning makes it difficult to see or enjoy the features of the coin. Cleaning should only be performed by someone with the necessary expertise.


All coins are guaranteed for eternity