Monday, December 31, 2007

Zappers: A Great Cleaner For Your Coins

Toothpaste and a toothbrush make an excellent cleaning combination for touching up your zapped coins. Be sure and purchase the cheaper brands of toothpaste that contains a very fine pumice. Some toothpastes are devoid of pumice. I don't know if one can still buy the canned toothpaste powder but I know it would be excellent for finishing a coin.

In addition, I don't know how one can be sure the toothpaste has a fine pumice but there are still inexpensive brands with the pumice. Perhaps one of our resident chemists will be able to tell us what the pumice ingredient is. I think Dollar Stores would be an excellent source for the cheaper brands.

As for the toothbrush, I like the stiff nylon brush but they are very hard to find. I think the larger "false teeth" brushes are much stiffer. Almost all dentists recommend the soft bristle. One can clip about half the bristles off and get better cleaning results. The shorter bristles make for a stiffer brush. Be sure and give this exercise a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Please send feedback and please bookmark my blog.. God Bless.. Jerry..


Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Zapped Tiberius With Lots Of Character

I recently bought a bargain Tiberius from a friend of mine at Common Bronze during a sale they were having. I was very pleased with the coin but Tony, my friend, told me the coin needed more cleaning. After living with the coin for a few hours I decided to heed Tony's advice and stuck the coin in my zapper.

I am quite pleased with the results and I like the character of the coin very much. I think the obverse portrait is great. The coin after being subjected to electrolysis is pictured above. I have a photograph of the obverse before the coin was cleaned. The "before" photograph was pretty much an after though but I am pleased I have it. I think the before and after demonstrates well what one can do using electrolysis. Please click on the following URL to view the before photo: Again, contrast the before with the after you see above.

I repeat as I do on most occassions that I believe electrolysis is the kindest way to clean a coin. I can only imagine what hard tools would have done to this beauty. I used my zapper and my Bamboo stick to clean the coin and would not touch it with anything harder. I also mention that the coin is a bit bright so I am using my Natural Patination process to tone the coin. It should be sufficiently darker in a few days. I will then dip the coin in white vinegar and the coin will be "fixed" as one would fix a photograph. A bit of wax and the coin should remain in great condition.

I extend an open invitation to you to join us at CoinZappers and learn the techniques we teach. We have a great membership as you do here and many of your fellow members are members of CZ. The URL to our group is as follows and just say Jerry invited me: Thank you for reading and I enjoy your input. Please let me know if you want to see the coin after I have finished toning using my Natural Patination process.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One Of My Favorite Anodes

I hope the following illustration I have created will help all you new zappers. In fact, I still consider this to be one of the best anodes I have created for anyone engaging in electrolysis. Please click on the following URL and take a look: The upsides to this anode is that it is easy to make and it works so well. The downside is that it does pick up crust from the encrusted coins and the anode will need to be cleaned periodically.

I have solved the problem by having more than one of the anodes on hand. I can simply lift the "dirty" one from the solution and replace with a clean one. I try to keep at least two clean. The best I recall, one can clean at least a hundred coins before cleaning the anode with soapy water and a good stiff brush. Of course the degree of crust on the coins dictates the cleaning intervals.

If you are not engaged in the Joy of Cleaning Crusties with electrolysis, I invite you to join us at CoinZappers. We have made tremendous strides and are getting wonderful results. I extend an open invitation to all. Our URL to CoinZappers is as follows: Please join us and if you have any questions you need answered about the process simply ask your question and send me your e-mail address. We have put to bed the old stigmas attached to cleaning with electrolysis. However, if you have heard any negatives I will enlighten you and and I will be as honest as I can be.

I am attaching a couple of URL's of coins I have cleaned using my zapping techniques. Please click on the following: I am sending another: And one more: Thank you for looking and I do hope you will join us. I am teaching others about this exciting technique every day.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Should I Lighten The Patina On My Alex?

Please take a look at the coin above. It is an Alexander the Great (III) AR drachm I recently acquired. I love these particular coins but I am not sure the coin is too dark for my taste. Consequently, I am asking my readers for feedback. What do you think? Should the coin be lighter in value or should I leave the "natural" patina as is?

As an aside, I am working on my silver coin photography and I invite feedback on my photograph. Is the negative space too light? Thanks you for looking and God Bless.. Jerry..

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Read The Small Print!

Be careful what you buy on EBay! In recent months I have won at least three ancient coins on EBay that turned out to be reproductions or replicas. This happened on three different occasions. I only have myself to blame. After receiving the coins and realizing the coins were replicas I checked the EBay site and sure enough, I found the small print.

I should admit the print really was not that small. I check the ads much more carefully now and I have succeeded in the not repeating the same mistake for the past month. I don't know why I would overlook something so obvious. I guess it it simply because I am expecting the coins to be originals. I wonder if this has happened to you guys on at least one occasion. Perhaps this blurb will help prevent you from making one of my mistake.

Thank you for reading and I would like to know if you have done the same or perhaps something worse! God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Group Created For Sharing Favorite Dealers

I have created a group on Yahoo Groups for sharing favorite dealers. One of the first things asked by newbies after joining one of my groups is, "where do I find good coins?" I hope we get good participation and input. If the group develops as I think it will, we will be able to point newbies to the group.
Please take a look and please join. Remember, one can always choose to not receive posts. I prefer to receive all posts but that is my choice. The one thing I ask is that members refrain from "flaming." I think we can be open and direct in our adjudication of coins we have bought without going on attack. Please take a look at "Fav Ancient Coin Dealers" at the following URL:
I will be inviting a mod(s) to help me with the site. If you have suggestions about the site, please write me at: Thank you and God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Japanese Laquer" Patina: Easy To Do!

The coin above left is a product of my “Natural Patination” process. I call this finish my “Japanese Lacquer” patina. If you like the finish, please see my “Natural Patination” article on my blog. I have used the NP process and allowed the coin to slowly oxidize for weeks.

Please remember that if I tried to achieve the same patina without using the Natural Patination it would have taken a year or so to darken to any degree. In fact, under normal conditions the coin would never darken to this degree. I used the coin to illustrate how dark I could go with the patina.

Once I achieve the patina value I want I then submerge the coin in white vinegar. I now recommend you use a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water. Also, one can halt the darkening process anywhere along the value spectrum. If you want the coin to be a few values lighter than that is when you use the white vinegar. Again, I wanted to illustrate for you how easily I could darken the coin to the degree you see. Please feel free to ask all the questions you like.

Let me know if these articles are an aid to you as you develop your zapping skills. I am doing this in the spirit of sharing with my ancient coin Brothers and Sisters. Please let me know if you want to see more of what I am doing with my coins. My article about Natural Patination can be found at the following URL: Thanks you and God Bless.. Jerry..

Friday, October 26, 2007

Put The Fun Back Into Cleaning Your Crusty Coins!

I have often stated that if it was not for zapping I would have no interest in ancient coins. I always get excited when I receive a new batch of crusties and prepare to zap. I have shown the photo above on several occasions but I think it serves to demonstrate what one can do with a few bucks, a modicum of effort and a bit of guidance. Many of our new members have not seen the photo so I will share again and explain.

All the coins in the photo are coins I have zapped using reverse electrolysis. If you would like to learn the technique, you have a standing invitation to join our Yahoo Zapping Group. Just one thing, I would never encourage you to leave the group to which you now belong. I don't think I know one ancient coin enthusiast who does not belong to more than one coin group. Please feel free to come on over and let us teach you to clean your coins the "right" way! : )

I really do enjoy cleaning my coins and I also enjoy working with all members who demonstrate interest. I don't care if you have been around the groups for years. You still have the same invitation as a newbie has. Look at the coin photograph carefully and see what you think. If you like what you see then give our technique a shot. I have zapped over 5000 coins with great success. Our URL is as follows: I can teach you too! Thanks for reading and God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why Did Romans Have Three Names?

The source of the following information is from one of my wife's Bibles, "The Archaeological Study Bible."

Romans typically had three names: a praenomen, a nomen and a cognomen. The praenomen was a personal name, the nomen a clan name and the cognomen the name of a particular branch within the clan. Thus, in the name Gaius Julius Caesar, Gaius was the personal name (praenomen), Julius the name of the clan (nomen) and Caesar the name of the extended family or subclan (cognomen) within the Julian clan.

I found this tidbit of ancient history to be interesting. I hope you enjoy. God Bless.. Jerry..

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Zappers: Great Source For Carbon Rods

I have a wonderful source for carbon rods at a great price. Bob, owner of NAC Carbon Products, Inc, and I have become friends over the past few years and he has agreed to ship rods to my groups members at a wonderful price. He will actually lose money on these small sales but he wants to help us. Really a great guy with a beautiful Spirit.

If interested, please copy and keep the following information for your zapping files. First of all he asks that you use my name, Jerry Jones, for his purposes when making contact. He will ship four 3/4" X 12" carbon rods for 3.50 each plus shipping. The following is very important. The order will be for 4 (four) NAC 200 3/4" X 12" carbon rods. You will need to pay shipping.

Bob and I consider these to be replenishable rods and will erode over many zappings. I don't like to put a number on how many zappings one will get but I will say hundreds. There are several factors involved. These are the rods I use and the rods I recommend. I am really excited about our source and please thank Bob when you place an order and let him know how much we appreciate what he is doing. Bob's e-mail is as follows:

If you question the price and can find a better source or price please let us know. One other thing. I see no reason why two members can not order four rods together. I hope this helps and let me know what you think.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Long Should I Zap A Crusty Coin?

"How long should I zap a crusty coin?" This is by far the most often asked question I receive. The length one zaps a coin depends entirely on how crusty the coin is. The photo above visually demonstrates the results one gets from differing zapping times.

The coin on the left was zapped for perhaps an hour or two and the coin on the left was zapped for less than an hour. Crusties are unpredictable and that is one reason I keep a close eye on each coin and prod the crust with my bamboo stick periodically.

I have had what appeared to be "concrete" encrusted coins open up and the deep crust fall away in minutes after starting the zap. Conversely, I have had what appeared to be a lightly encrusted coin take hours.

It is very apparent the coin on the left has a brighter patina than the coin on the right. The left coin was zapped much longer and I had to work and prod the surface area much more. The coin on the right came straight from the solution and has retained a natural patina. I am able to preserve the patina on about 95% of the coins I zap.

I like for new zappers to begin with practice culls. Most often, the new zapper will be somewhat intimidated by a potentially nice coin in which he/she has invested three dollars or so. Our expectations are much higher for a three dollar coin than for a 25 to 50 cent practice cull. Begin with the cull, follow our/my directions and zap until clean! Please allow me to reiterate. Zap until clean! Do not be concerned with the patina until you learn to clean coins properly then we will get to issue of saving the patina. Most of the coins I see by new zappers are profoundly under-zapped.

One other thing, if you are not a member of our zapping group, I strongly encourage you to join and ask all the questions you like. Please visit our site and take a look at the group of coins on the Home Page I have zapped. I think the picture speaks volumes and I will be happy to share other photos of my zapping results. You have a standing invitation to join CoinZappers. Simply say I invited you. The URL is as follows: Thanks you for reading, please bookmark my site and allow us to help you.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chuck: A Premiere Zapmeister

Chuck is a great friend and a wonderful member of our groups. I am amazed at his ability to understand electronics, design and any kind or mechanical devices. He is the Peyton Manning of mechanical engineering! I am fortunate to own three of his zappers and I am also very fortunate to be able to call Chuck my friend.

I recently sent him about 35 Muller alligator clips I am always encouraging you guys to buy. As an act of kindness, Chuck wanted to solder and prepare the copper “hanger” wire for me. I have attached a photograph of five of the clips he returned to me. Chuck is special in that he has the artistic and intuitive skill to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.

After receiving the clips from Chuck I began to examine each clip and I was thoroughly impressed with the way he forms the wire and crimps each piece carefully before soldering to the wire. The clips and wire are actually miniature works of art. I am a bit hesitant to place them in solution! I almost feel that I should mat, frame and hang them on my gallery wall. Thanks Chuck and a great big thank you for being a member of our groups.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Monday, September 3, 2007

Zappers: A Couple Of Very Useful Tips

This article is directed specifically to those who zap coins. Zappers, it is wise to keep your zapping equipment clean. Be sure and drop your alligator clip(s) and hanging wire in white vinegar after each zapping session. The vinegar neutralizes the sodium carbonate and helps prevent SC buildup. Leave the clip(s) in the vinegar until all fizzing ceases.

Next, rinse the clips and dry with a paper towel or cloth. If non-copper clips are not dipped in the vinegar and rinsed the clips with erode over a period of time. I use solid copper clips and I use the vinegar rinse. The cleaning vinegar can be saved in a separate container and used until the vinegar loses its strength.

One other very important thing you should do is clean the surface of the cathode before zapping. A Dremel with a stainless or brass brush will do the job. In addition, always clean the hanging wire on your clip really well. The copper wire oxidizes and makes for very poor contact if not clean. I use my Dremel with a stainless rotary brush to clean the “crook” where the copper wire comes in contact with the cathode.

One can also use a fine grit sandpaper to lightly sand the area that is in contact with the cathode. A nifty little tip is to use a ¼ inch length of dowel and wrap with sandpaper and use to reach into the crook of the hanger. My tips are based on experience and I can assure you the tip I am sharing is one of the most important. Thank you for reading. Please bookmark my site and take a look from time to time.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Magnificent Beauty On A Small 13MM Format

The small 13mm coin to the left possesses all the qualities needed to truly be a work of art. Does the fact the coin was used as economic exchange diminish the coin's integrity as a work of art? Does the small size have anything to do with the inherit beauty of the coin? I love the organic quality of the piece with a touch of rectilinear imagery. Just enough of the rectilinear in contrast with the curvilinear to make for a very exciting and aesthetically pleasing work of art.

I am surrounded with these little jewels and I have within arms reach a plethora of what should be museum pieces. I have been blessed by my discovery of these coins and I have been blessed by my exciting journey into a world of art I did not know existed ten years ago. I have no idea what one calls the coin but until I do learn I will live with the joy of the image! Thank you for allowing me to share. God Bless.. Jerry..

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Interesting Greek Coins Found During Zap

I have been zapping for about seven years now and I think my zapping has turned into an addiction! If the wife and I are out of town for a couple days I can hardly keep my mind off my crusties. I continue to think about what may be hidden beneath the crusty surface of a particular group of coins.

My attributing skills have suffered greatly as a result of my orientation towards the image. This is particularly true with Greek coins. I am making and effort to learn more but I am still having to rely on the Coin Scholars at Ancient Peddler to help with most coins. Boy, these guys are great and they are also very kind. I don't think I have ever seen them refuse to help a member with an attribution problem.

Back to my zapping. Some days are much more productive than others and recently I pulled several Greek coins from a zapped batch and I was delighted to see the three coins posted above. Right now I have no idea what I have but I do love the images. I am still getting an aesthetic high from viewing the group. Let me know what you think and please let me know if I have found anything terribly rare! Thanks for allowing me to share my love with you.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Ancient Coin Rummage" Announces New Free Coin Classifieds!

We are very happy to announce a new free ancient coin classified site. The site is very user friendly and it is free! One only has to join "Ancient Coin Rummage" to participate and have full selling and buying access to the new site. The site is called "Ancient Peddler" and is located at the following URL:

The new classified site was developed and donated by We are very excited about the new coin classified site. We believe it will be well used and we believe it will bring together the ancient coin community as a Coin Family. Ancient Coin Rummage is the site from which one joins and ACR is also the site for open discussion relative to all matters concerning "Ancient Peddler." One must first be a member of ACR in order to join the free site.

The URL for Ancient Coin Rummage is as follows: Please join and let's all begin to post our duplicate coins and whatever items we wish to sell. Of course, one can use the site to buy, trade and seek particular coins or artifacts. The site will continue to be free to all ACR members and we encourage you to join now and login to the new site. If you have any questions please ask. God Bless.. Jerry..

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rusted Fibula: Tough Zap!

A friend of mine and a member of one of our ancient coin groups, Shay, asked me to zap a fibula for her and I agreed. The fibula arrived in the mail this afternoon and I busied myself with setting up one of my special zappers. The pin was"locked" in place and I really wanted to salvage the pin. I was intent on shooting for a functional, working fibula. The hinged area of the fibula was the most heavily encrusted and it was of the concrete variety!

You can see the from the photos above what I saw when the unit arrived. The coin has nothing to do with the exercise other than to hold the fibula in place. I worked for hours and slowly pushed and prodded with my bamboo skewers until the crust slowly gave way with the exception of the hinged area. I encountered something really strange as I reached the hinged area of the pin.

I used a small grinder to remove some of the heavier protrusions and the rock-hard substance had the scent of epoxy. The degree of harness in that area was unlike anything I have encountered in all the zapping I have done. I slowly rotated the fibula through the solution and back to my bamboo sticks and reluctantly the coin finally gave up the last bits of crust.

The fibula works really well and appears to be in the same condition it would have been in hundreds of years ago. All in all the experience was very satisfying and I hope Shay enjoys the piece. The "plastic" or "epoxy" experience was something new for me and I will add it to my list of unknowns. Thank you for allowing me to share and please bookmark my blog.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fast Track To Zapping!

Fast Track To Zapping

If you use these instructions and the schematic you
Should be effectively zapping within 24 hours


Electricity is very dangerous and if you are
not familiar with electricity, please seek
help from a skilled individual.

Materials List

Container: You need an approximate 5 cup container. The container can be purchased at a Dollar Store or one can use an empty margarine tub.
Power Supply: I like the Universal Power Supply Wal-Mart sells. The unit is AC/DC and has a DC output of up to 12 volts. Remember, we are interested in DC output! The unit plugs into an AC wall unit and converts the power to DC. The Universal Power supply also has plenty of amperage for zapping 1-5 coins with a 600mA output.
Cathode: Item #7 is the cathode. I suggest you go to an electrical supply store and purchase a 1-foot length of #4 solid copper. #4 is used for ground wire when wiring new houses and one foot will be very inexpensive. The #4 is about ¼ inch in diameter.
Anode: Item #8 is the anode and can be made of several materials. At this point I suggest you use mild steel. One can buy a short length of rebar from Lowe’s or Home depot. You will need a 4” length of ½” diameter mild steel (rebar.) You will most likely have to cut with a hacksaw or if you know someone at a muffler shop they may cut to length with their chop saw.
Alligator clips: You will need 4 alligator clips 1 and ½ to 2 inches in length. These can be purchased at any electronic store including Radio Shack. If you do not know how to solder then I suggest you buy the clips that have a small screw on the side for attaching wire.
#12 single strand coated copper wire: You will need about 2 feet. I doubt you will need more than 16 inches but let’s stick with the 2 feet.
#12 multi-strand coated copper wire: You will only need about 18 inches.
Sodium Carbonate: Sodium carbonate can be bought in the detergent section of Wal-Mart and most other large stores that carry detergent. Most likely the SC will be called “Washing Soda.” If you have trouble finding the SC try an Ace Hardware store. Pool supply stores carry SC by other names. However, you want 100% sodium carbonate. Let me know if you have trouble locating the SC.
Distilled Water: One can buy an inexpensive gallon of distilled water at Wal-Mart. Last time I looked I think it was 69 cents per gallon.

Assembling The Zapper

Examine the wiring on your power supply. You will see one wire has a white line on it. This indicates the positive power lead. You will always need to know the positive from the negative. Next, you will need to clip the small connector from the tip of the wires. You will then see that it is very easy to separate the wires from one another while leaving the plastic sheathing intact on each wire. You will need to strip about 1” of sheathing from the positive and about 1” from the ends of eah wire. Select one of the alligator clips and attach the clip to the positive lead (the one with the white or light colored stripe) using either solder or the screw on the side of the clip.

Next, attach one of the clips to the negative or black wire. Do not plug the unit in until we are ready. If you have a small bit of red tape, red fingernail polish or red acrylic paint available, place a dab towards the top of the positive clip. The dab of paint will serve to always remind you which wire is positive. Remember the clip with the striped wire is the positive.

The cathode (item #7) needs to be cut to a length that causes the cathode to hang over each side of your container by about ¾ “. Let’s take a look at item #8, the anode. When zapping, the POSITIVE lead always connects to the anode.

We will now address the multi-strand wire connection to the anode. The other connections are made with the single strand wire. The anode requires the multi-strand wire. Remove about four inches of coating from the multi-strand #12 wire. You will need a pair of pliers for the following. Please observe the wire is center fed into the anode. This simply means the multi-strand wire is connected very tightly to the center of the anode. Twist the wire very tightly around the anode and give it a good tight final twist with the pliers until you are convinced the wire and anode are in snug contact with one another.

The anode and the wire must be in very good contact. Now, I need for you to take a small tube of silicone and cover just the bear areas of the twisted wire and any other stripped wire shoing on near the anode. Do not spread the silicone loosely about the anode. This procedure is done to cover the copper wire so it will not interfere with the zapping process. Please look at the schematic and you will see the wire extending above and out of the container. Please strip about 1” of coating from top end of the wire and create a twisted loop. This provides contact for the alligator clip that is connected to the positive lead on your power supply. You have an alligator clip attached to the lead and that clip is attached to the top exposed end of the wire leading from the anode.

Back to the cathode. The alligator clip that extends from the negative lead of the power supply is clipped to one end of the cathode wire that extends above the solution. In fact, it is a good idea to bend the wire to the side on the container. Please pay close attention to the positive and negative leads and pay attention to what goes where. The negative lead from the power supply goes to one end of the cathode. The positive lead of the power supply goes to the bare part of the wire that extends above and to the side of the container and the solution. Allow the rest of the wire to remain coated.

A very inportant part of your zapping has to do with the zapping solution. There is no better elerolytic solution than that crated with sodium carbonate. I want you to forget any preconceived notions you have about zapping and forget what you have been told about solutions and follow my guide. I have zapped over 5000 coins and my method works. Please take a look at the coins on our home page and you will see coins I have zapped using the method I am sharing. Back to the sodium carbonate. Mix 1 and 1/2 teaspoonfuls of sodium carbonate to one quart of water. No more and no less. This is the solution that works. You will not use all the sodium carbonate solution so keep a lid on your container so it will not evaporate.

OK, let’s create the coin holder(s). If you plan to zap more than one coin at a time then you will need the appropriate number of clips. Snip about 4 inches of single coated wire for each coin holder. Completely strip the coating from the wire and form a small curve to fit under the alligator clip screw. Of course if you are soldering, do so. You may have a friend who knows how to solder and will be willing to help you.

Do not plug the power supply in but I do want you to determine the length your wire and clip should be. As you learn to zap try to grasp no more than 1/8” of the coin near the rim and try to have no more than 1/8” of clip beneath the water. The coin needs to be completely immersed with as little clip in the water as possible. Once you have attached your clip hanging wire you need to place the cathode across the center portion of the container. You may need to cut a small “V” shape in the container on each side to help hold your cathode in place without rolling off.

Very carefully hand place the clip and wire in position to determine how low your clip should hang. Once you have done this then you will need to curve the copper back over the cathode so the clip and wire will hang by the cathode #4 wire. At this point I need to caution you to be sure and arrgange the anode and the catode in such a way that prevents the two from coming in contact with one another. Continue to build your hanging clips until you have 1 to 5 units made. Place a clip and hanging wire on the cathode and fill with water to see if you have all the clips adjusted properly. The copper can be bent and adjusted again until the clip hangs just under the surface of the solution.

Ready to zap! Begin zapping with your “culls” and you will worry a lot less about the damage you are doing to your coin(s). One thing I want to emphasize. I have experimented with my zapping techniques for years and one cannot melt, pit, or harm a coin in any way with 12 volts and 6 amps! One would be violating the laws of physics to do so. Remember we are working with only half an amp or so at this point. I have zapped coins for hours at 15 volts and 12 amps with no harm whatsoever to the coin! I still have naive zappers tell me they "melted" a coin using a zapping technique. Impossible!

I think you should begin zapping with one coin. Hang the coin on your cathode wire, fill the container to the proper level with your sodium carbonate mixture and plug the unit in. Make sure you have the positive wire connected to the anode and negative connected to the cathode. You will begin to see activity in the form of bubbling around your coin. The encrustation is actually dropping into the solution! This is an incredibly exciting moment in the life of a zapper. Most likely you are hooked!

OK, so how long do I allow the coin to “cook” as we say? Zap until the encrusted coin is clean. I check the coin about every 15 minutes for the fist hour or so then allow the coin the coin to cook for a while. I am going to reveal a secret I discovered a few years ago. Bamboo sticks! Bamboo who? Yep, the old 200 for a buck at Wal-Mart. Actually they are small diameter (about 1/8") bamboo skewers. I cut them in half and that gives me a blunt end and a sharpened end on the other. Please search the archives of my blog and you will find an article describing how to make a set of bamboo tools. Very easy to do too! Each time I lift the coin from the solution I prod and push the surface with one or both ends of the bamboo stick to see if I can remove a degree of encrustaion. I have had some coins open right up just like an oyster and reveal a beauty. I really encourage you to use the bamboo sticks. I avoid hard tools. Hard tools scratch the surface of the coin(s)

I am sure I have not answered all you need to know about zapping so feel free to ask all the questions you like. I have zapped over 5000 coins and I have experimented all the way. I love to teach and we have a wonderful group and wonderful Moderators. The group and the Mods are always ready to help newbies. Please be careful and I implore you to ask a professional person who works with electricity if you have any doubts.. God Bless.. Jerry.. PS: I post coin cleaning tips on my blog and I also have many tips in archives. Please bookmark my blog and use for reference:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Zap Coins And Save The Patina

I am posting a coin I recently zapped and saved the patina. I have been working on this technique for a couple of years and I have developed several methods. The simplest is to zap and check the coin every 15 minutes, prod the crust with a bamboo stick and pull the coin from the solution at the earliest possible time.

The coin you see pictured above was pulled at precisely the right time. Please observe the nice rich patina. I am now working on patinating silver and I happy with the results but have had a could of failures. I am not totally satisfied but I think I know what the problem is.

Te first thing you need to do is join our coin group, Coin Zappers. You have a standing invitation and just say Jerry invited you. I think you will find zapping to be the kindest and most gentle of all cleaning techniques. Come aboard and give it a try. The URL is as follows: Thank you and God Bless.. Jerry.. PS: Please take a look at my blog and you will find coin cleaning tips as well as tips for photographing your coins.. bookmark and check in often..

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Pile: Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Holy Land And Arabic Ancient Coins

Hi! I have been very busy zapping for the past several weeks and I am sharing some of the products of my efforts. I learned it is very difficult to create a pleasing photograph with so many values and intensities of coins.
If you have suggestions for creating a more pleasing photograph, please share. If you want to learn the techniques I employ in cleaning these coins please join us at Coin Zappers. You have an open invitation. The CZ URL is as follows: Please feel free to make comments on or off blog. I really enjoy reader's comments.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ancient Greek And Ancient Roman Coin Collectors: Three Musts!

In this article I am listing my “Three Musts” for ancient coin enthusiasts. Please read and then download each FREE utility if you have not already. First on my list is Tiny is a freeware utility that allows one to shorten long, cumbersome URL’s to short and concise URL’s. Please click on the following Tiny URL and you will see an illustration of a very long URL and the results once it has been converted into a Tiny URL:

Next, I think every ancient Greek and Roman coin enthusiast needs a good photo manager and flickr is just that. Please go to and see how easy it is to become a member and see how easy it is to manage your coin photos. I can only say great things about this utility. Flckr speaks for itself!

And then we have Irfanview. Irfanview? Yep, As in, “have you Irfed” your coin photos. I only use Irf to “stitch” my ancient coin photos and I think the same is true of most other ancient coin vendors and collectors. Often we need to share our ancient coins with others and that is when we need to use the stitch or panorama program of Irfanview. The panorama program allows us to show the obverse of the coin right beside the reverse. Irf also allows us to show the obverse above the reverse. I would be lost about this little jewel of a freeware utility.

I am somewhat notorious amongst my coin friends when it comes to linear exercises. I think all my friends will agree that if old Jerry can perform the necessary exercises to operate these three utilities then anyone can! Please download (or is it upload?) the utilities and let me know what you think. Please bookmark my site and please share my blog with your friends. I am hot on the heels of developing what appears to be a great way to tone silver coins. Please watch for this one! God Bless.. Jerry..

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ancient Coins: Photographing In The Shadows

Recently I have purchased several coins that were not as they appeared when I bought them. I am aware of some of the things being done to enhance the appearance of a coin and will address a few.

Most of the “bad” deals I have encountered came from Ebay. One silver coin I received looked great on Ebay but when I had the coin in hand there was an obvious flaw in the coin and the “hole” had been filled with a light gray metal that appears to be JB Weld. I received this coin from one of the Big Name dealers. I have written them and will be interested in seeing what they have to say.

One obvious ploy is use of a photo editing program to enhance the appearance of a coin. After receiving one coin I was able to go back to my Ebay records, view the image, and match it against what I had in hand. It is very obvious there had been touch ups. I call the next the “camera shake.” I found a silver denarius on Ebay I really liked with the exception of the photograph. The reverse photograph of the coin was great but the obverse had that blurred and “shaky” look.

I decided to fore go my reluctance to bid, and I won the coin. I soon found why the obverse was shaky once I received the coin. The shaky photo covered flaws on the obverse. I call the following “Photographing in the Shadows.” I was visiting a site and saw a coin with which I was somewhat enchanted. The coin images were great with the exception of one thing. The bottom edge of the coin was in heavy shadow.

I was a bit suspicious, wrote the dealer and was told by him I was looking at a VF coin in great condition. With a suspicious mind, I decided to save the photograph to my computer. I received the coin and sure enough, I found a pea-sized gap where the coin was in deep shadow. This cover-up was done really well too!

The following happened last week. Boy I got a bargain on Ebay of an AR Alex III! Or so I thought. Once the auction closed and I received my notice I took a closer look at the coin. I was surprised I had won an AR Alexander The Great for 30 bucks! Boy, great looking coin with no flaws whatsoever! Was I lucky? Wait, for the first time I noticed that in a very light gray font underneath the bold header the word ”Copy.” I had bought reproduction! Nah! That sounds too kind. I had bought a forgery!

I can’t be too hard on the seller in this situation but it does serve to remind me that we must be on our toes as we make our purchases. Since the last mistake I made, I look everything over very carefully and make sure I read all copy! However, I am sure I will be bitten again by some unscrupulous dealer eager to make a buck. I wish it was not this way but I guess we have all types attracted to the hobby we love so much.

I imagine many of you have stories of bad deals I would never dream of. If so, please share them with us on our coin sites or post directly to me. I will be happy to listen. I think the unloading helps a lot.. God Bless.. Jerry.. PS: Be sure and bookmark my blog..

Monday, July 9, 2007

Photographing Silver Coins: A Problem?

A group of my friends and I have been discussing the difficulty of photographing Silver. I have a very bright mirror finish Grosh and I decided to work with it this evening. Actually it is 2:50 AM in the morning and that is when I am most creative for some reason.

I used one light to photograph the coin. I held the light at 11 o’clock left and at a distance of about 18”. I used a 15-watt fluorescent spiral bulb I buy at Wal-Mart. I was getting a bit of shadow on the right so I placed a white mat board to the right and it reflected just enough light back to the coin to lighten the area. Please see coin photo above.

I wanted a strong contrast with silver so I used a very dark color. I think the dark negative space works really well in the composition. I am not quite satisfied with the coin “glare” though. I think I will photograph again and change my f-stop. I shoot in manual mode with my Fuji S3000 and enjoy being able to make the change as opposed to the auto mode. Please let me know if you think the coin is too bright. Also, I will be most happy to hear what you have to say about photographing silver.

I am going to live with this photo for a day or so and see how I feel about the values and intensities. If I decide to revisit and photograph again, I will share. Thanks and I hope this article causes you to get out your digital and try a few “silver coin” shots! I would love to see what you come up with.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Who Says Zapping Does Not Work?

Who says zapping does not work? I released the beautiful Roman Carinus Antoninianus you see above from a deep rock-hard encrustation just a few days ago. As with many of my zapped coins I was able to maintain much of the patina. I think it is a beautiful coin.

We become somewhat accustomed to making the statement that “the photo is not as good as the coin” and in this case it certainly is true. The obverse in slightly off center but I can find no other fault with this coin. I encourage all those engaged in zapping to continue to work at our craft and if you are not zapping then you should join us!

We have a great group with wonderful members at the following URL: You have a standing invitation to join us. We will have you cleaning coins in a new and expeditious way in no time. I truly think zapping is the kindest way to clean coins. I would never subject my beauties to hard tools as many do. I think ancient coin enthusiasts are an opinionated bunch and I know we all have our preferences. If you have tired other methods and are a bit frustrated, please give zapping a chance. I think you will enjoy.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mosopoli's Abridged History Of The Kushan Empire

Moses Wildermuth is a great friend and I think most of us know "Moe" from one of the ancient coin groups we belong to. Moe, has a deep interest in Greek and Roman coins. He has now added another dimension to his repertoire and asked that I share it with our groups and readers. I readly agreed and I commend Moe for the great job he has done with his presentation.

Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) was a state that at its height, about 105–250, stretched from what is now Tajikistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan tribe of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin and Gansu, China, possibly related to the Tocharians. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China, and for several centuries were at the center of exchange between the East and the West.

Chinese sources describe the Guishuang, i.e. the “Kushans”, as one of the five aristocratic tribes of the Yuezhi, a loose confederation of Indo-European peoples. They were driven west by the Xiongnu in 176–160 BCE. The Yuezhi reached the Hellenic kingdom of Greco-Bactria, in northernmost Afghanistan and Uzbekistan around 135 BCE, and displaced the Greek dynasties there, who resettled in Indus basin (in present day Pakistan) in the western part of the Indo-Greek Kingdom.

A multi-cultural Empire
The Kushans adopted elements of the Hellenistic culture of Bactria. They adapted the Greek alphabet (often corrupted) to suit their own language (with the additional development of the letter Þ “sh”, as in “Kushan”) and soon began minting coinage on the Greek model. On their coins they used Greek language legends combined with Pali legends (in the Kharoshthi script), until the first few years of the reign of Kanishka. After that date, they used Kushan language legends (in an adapted Greek script), combined with legends in Greek (Greek script) and legends in Pali (Kharoshthi script).

The rule of the Kushans linked the seagoing trade of the Indian Ocean with the commerce of the Silk Road through the long-civilized Indus Valley. At the height of the dynasty, the Kushans loosely oversaw a territory that extended to the Aral Sea through present-day Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan into northern India.The loose unity and comparative peace of such a vast expanse encouraged long-distance trade, brought Chinese silks to Rome, and created strings of flourishing urban centers.

Contacts with Rome
Several Roman sources describe the visit of ambassadors from the Kings of Bactria and India during the 2nd century, probably referring to the Kushans.
Historia Augusta, speaking of Emperor Hadrian (117–138) tells:
“Reges Bactrianorum legatos ad eum, amicitiae petendae causa, supplices miserunt”
“The kings of the Bactrians sent supplicant ambassadors to him, to seek his friendship.”
Also in 138, according to Aurelius Victor (Epitome’ XV, 4), and Appian (Praef., 7), Antoninus Pius, successor to Hadrian, received some Indian, Bactrian (Kushan) and Hyrcanian ambassadors.

The Chinese Historical Chronicle of the Hou Hanshu also describes the exchange of goods between northwestern India and the Roman Empire at that time: “To the west (Tiazhu, northwestern India) communicates with Da Qin (the Roman Empire). Precious things from Da Qin can be found there, as well as fine cotton cloths, excellent wool carpets, perfumes of all sorts, sugar loaves, pepper, ginger, and black salt.”

The summer capital of the Kushan in Begram has yielded a considerable amount of goods imported from the Roman Empire, in particular various types of glassware.

Contacts with China
The Kushan Buddhist monk Lokaksema, first known translator of Buddhist Mahayana scriptures into Chinese, circa 170. During the 1st and 2nd century, the Kushan Empire expanded militarily to the north and occupied parts of the Tarim Basin, their original grounds, putting them at the center of the profitable Central Asian commerce with the Roman Empire. They are related to have collaborated militarily with the Chinese against nomadic incursion, particularly when they collaborated with the Chinese general Ban Chao against the Sogdians in 84, when the latter were trying to support a revolt by the king of Kashgar. Around 85, they also assisted the Chinese general in an attack on Turfan, east of the Tarim Basin.

In recognition for their support to the Chinese, the Kushans requested, but were denied, a Han princess, even after they had sent presents to the Chinese court. In retaliation, they marched on Ban Chao in 86 with a force of 70,000, but, exhausted by the expedition, were finally defeated by the smaller Chinese force. The Yuezhi retreated and paid tribute to the Chinese Empire during the reign of the Chinese emperor Han He (89–106).
Later, around 116, the Kushans under Kanishka established a kingdom centered on Kashgar, also taking control of Khotan and Yarkand, which were Chinese dependencies in the Tarim Basin, modern Xinjiang. They introduced the Brahmi script, the Indian Prakrit language for administration, and expanded the influence of Greco-Buddhist art which developed into Serindian art.

The Kushans are again recorded to have sent presents to the Chinese court in 158–159 during the reign of the Chinese emperor Han Huan.
Following these interactions, cultural exhanges further increased, and Kushan Buddhist missionaries, such as Lokaksema, became active in the Chinese capital cities of Loyang and sometimes Nanjing, where they particularly distinguished themselves by their translation work. They were the first recorded promoters of Hinayana and Mahayana scriptures in China, greatly contributing to the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism.

The Rise of the Great Emperors (all dates are uncertain)

Heraios (1-30): Heraios was probably the first of the Kushan kings. He may have been an ally of the Greeks, and he shared the same style of coinage. Heraios was probably the father of Kujula Kadphises.

Kujula Kadphises (30-80): According to the Hou Hanshu: “the prince of Guishuang, named Kujula Kadphises attacked and exterminated the four other princes. He set himself up as king of a kingdom called Guishuang.”

He invaded Anxi (Parthia) and took the Gaofu (Kabul) region. He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda, and Jibin (Kapisha-Gandhara). Kujula Kadphises was more than eighty years old when he died.”

These conquests probably took place sometime between 45 and 60, and laid the basis for the Kushan Empire which was rapidly expanded by his descendants.
Kujula issued an extensive series of coins.

Vima Taktu (80-105): alias Soter Megas or “Great Saviour,” Vima Takt[u] (or Tak[to]) expanded the Kushan Empire into the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. The Hou Hanshu says: “His [Kujula Kadphises’] son, Vima Taktu, became king in his place. He conquered Northwestern India and installed a General to supervise and lead it. The Yuezhi then became extremely rich. All the kingdoms call [their king] the Guishuang (Kushan) king, but the Han call them by their original name, Da Yuezhi.”[3]

Vima Kadphises (105-127): Vima Kadphises added to the Kushan territory by his conquests in Afghanistan and north-west India. He issued an extensive series of coins and inscriptions. He was the first to introduce gold coinage in India, in addition to the existing copper and silver coinage.

Kanishka I (127-140): The second great Kushan emperor, fifth Kushan king, upon his accession, Kanishka ruled a huge territory (virtually all of northern India), south to Ujjain and Kundina and east beyond Pataliputra.

His territory was administered from two capitals: Purushapura (now Peshawar in northern Pakistan) and Mathura, in northern India. He is also credited (along with Raja Dab) for building the massive, ancient Fort at Bathinda (Qila Mubarak), in the modern city of Bathinda, Indian Punjab.
The Kushans also had a summer capital in Begram (then known as Kapisa), where the “Begram Treasure”, comprising works of art from Greece to China, has been found.

Huvishka (140-183): Huvishka was a Kushan emperor from the death of Kanishka (assumed on the best evidence available to be in 140 CE) until the succession of Vasudeva I about forty years later. His rule was a period of retrenchment and consolidation for the Empire. In particular he devoted time and effort early in his reign to the exertion of greater control over the city of Mathura.

Vasudeva I (183-225): Vasudeva I was the last of the “Great Kushans.” Named inscriptions dating from year 64 to 98 of Kanishka’s era suggest his reign extended from at least 191 to 225 CE. He was the last great Kushan emperor, and the end of his rule coincides with the invasion of the Sassanians as far as northwestern India, and the establishment of the Indo-Sassanians or Kushanshahs from around 240 CE.

Decline of the Empire
From the 3rd century the Kushan empire began to fragment.
Kanishka II (c. 226 – 240)
Vashishka (c. 240 – 250)
Kanishka III (c. 255 – 275)
Vasudeva II (c. 290 – 310)
Vasudeva III reported son of Vasudeva III, a King, uncertain.
Vasudeva IV reported possible child of Vasudeva III, ruling in Kandahar, uncertain
Vasudeva of Kabul reported Possible child of Vasudeva IV, ruling in Kabul, uncertain.
Chhu (c. 310? – 325?)
Shaka I (c. 325 – 345)
Kipunada (c. 350 – 375)

Around 225 Vasudeva I died and the Kushan empire was divided into western and eastern halves. Around 224–240, the Sassanids invaded Bactria and Northern India, where they are known as the Indo-Sassanians.
Around 270, the Kushans lost their territories on the Gangetic plain, where the Gupta Empire was established around 320 and to the Sassanians during Shapur II’s reign, notably the area that comprises Afghanistan.

During the middle of the 4th century a Kushan vassal, named Kidara, rose to power and overthrew the old Kushan dynasty. He created a kingdom known as the Kidarite Kingdom, although he probably considered himself a Kushan, as indicated by the Kushan style of his coins. The Kidarite seem to have been rather prosperous, although on a smaller scale than their Kushan predecessors.
These remnants of the Kushan empire were ultimately wiped out in the 5th century by the invasions of the White Huns, and later the expansion of Islam.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Alexander Not So Great?

I was sifting through a few ancient Greek and Roman coin articles and encountered the following story written by Lee Dye, writer for ABC news. I was immediately intrigued by the article as I think you will be. Mr Dye suggests the young Alexander's accomplishments may not have been as great as the name implies. Please click on to read the article in its entirety:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ancient Coin Undermines Legend Of Cleopatra's Beauty

I stumbled across the following article issued by the Associated Press and I thought you might find it as interesting as I did. I give full credit to the AP for the article. The article did not contain the writer's name.

So maybe Mark Antony loved Cleopatra for her mind. That is the conclusion being drawn by academics at Britain's University of Newcastle from a Roman denarius coin which depicts the celebrated queen of Egypt as a sharp-nosed, thin-lipped woman with a protruding chin. In short, a fair match for the hook-nosed, thick-necked Mark Antony on the other side of the coin, which went on public display Wednesday at the university's Shefton Museum.

"The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton," said Lindsay Allason-Jones, director of archaeological museums at the university, recalling the 1963 film "Cleopatra", which ignited the tempestuous romance between the two stars.
The notion that Cleopatra was not in Taylor's league was hailed as a revelation in British newspapers on Valentine's Day, though the image is hardly a discovery.
Replicas of the denarius can be found on eBay, and images on other ancient coins are no more flattering.

Plutarch, in the "Life of Antony" written a century after the great romance, said of Cleopatra: "her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compared with her."
"But the contact of her presence, if you lived with her, was irresistible; the attraction of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation, and the character that attended all she said or did, was something bewitching. It was a pleasure merely to hear the sound of her voice..."
Chaucer, writing in the 14th century, described her as "fair as is the rose in May."

Shakespeare outdid them all: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety; other women cloy the appetites they feed, but she makes hungry where most she satisfies."
I hope you enjoyed the article and I invite response.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Friday, June 15, 2007

Do Your Know Your Roman Gods and Goddesses? Take This Little Quiz

Here is a little true and false test I created to see how well you know your gods and goddesses. You will find the answers at the end of the test. Do not peek! I have established a ranking for you. Less that three missed: go to the Head of the Table. If you miss five or less you receive an honorable mention. Miss more than five.. well you need a bit of work on your Greek/Roman history!

1) T or F: Jupiter was the Roman counterpart of Zeus?
2) T or F: Titan was the father of Uranus?
3) T or F: Ops was the goddess of Wisdom?
4) T or F: Persephone in Greek and Roman religion mythology was Queen of the underworld?
5) T or F: Pluto was the Greek god of death?
6) T or F: Cupid was the goddess of love?
7) T or F: Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione?
8) T or F: Apollo was the Geek son of Ares?
9) T or F: The Roman counterpart of Pan was Mercury?
10) T or F: Bacchus was the son of Semele?
11) T or F: Mars was Roman mythological god of war?
12) T or F: Neptune was the Greek god the Sea?
13) T or F: Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture?
14) T or F: Hestia was the goddess of the hearth?
15) T or F: In Roman religion Ops was the goddess of harvests?
16) T or F: Ares was the Greek son of Zeus and Hera?
17) T or F: Diana was the goddess of hunting?
18) T or F: Saturn was a Greek god of harvests?
19)T or F: Eros was the Greek god of love?
29) T or F: Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and fertility?

Remember, don’t read this part until you have finished the True and False questions above. I hope you enjoyed. Please let me know and bookmark my site please.

(1 T) (2 T) (3 F) ( 4 T) ( 5 F) (6 F) (7 T) (8 F) (9 F) (10 T) (11 T) (12 F) (13 T) (14 T) (15 T) (16 T) (17 T) (18 F) (19 T) (2o F)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Myth Of The Melted Coins!

Once and for all I want to quash the myth that one will or can “burn” ancient coins using electrolysis. I will qualify this statement by saying that I can assure you your coins will not be “burned” if you follow my directions as outlined and communicated by our Coin Zappers group. The URL is as follows:

I have had people tell me they knew someone who told them that “zapping” ruins coins. I state emphatically and without equivocation that this has never happened to me. I have zapped between 5000 and 6000 coins at this point and I still zap almost every day. I have worked for years developing the best method I know for cleaning coins and that method is electrolysis. I have never scorched or “burned” a coin.

I have no interest in ruining my coins so I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours experimenting with electrolysis. I have had individuals tell me they have melted coins using electrolysis! Cannot happen if you follow my directions. What kind of heat would one have to create using a 12-volt DC power supply in order to melt a coin? The act itself would violate all known laws of physics! Click on and take a look at the pile of coins I cleaned using my zapping techniques: They hardly appear to be melted, scorched or burned coins.

I will qualify the above by saying that I am sure there are those who have exposed profound pitting beneath the surface of an encrusted coin. If the coin has “rotted’ in the ground then there is no way to restore the pitting and that includes zapping.

If one joins Coin Zappers and follows all the directions as outlined, I can assure you that you will get great results. I repeat- “use our methods!” If you want to have success and clean ancient coins using the kindest method I know then join us at Coin Zappers. This thing about melting coins with 12 volts DC has become somewhat of an urban legend in the coin world. It is tiem to put this myth to bed. I would love to see feedback from those who know something I don’t know. You have a standing invitaion from me to join us at CZ. Just say, “Jerry sent me.” God Bless.. Jerry..

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Collecting Silver Coins: Nice Site

Hi! I found a site I am enjoying very much and I think many readers will enjoy also. Please take a look and let me know what you think. God Bless.. Jerry..

Collecting old and rare gold and silver coins is a hobby for many people worldwide and because of this fact there are also many rare silver and gold coins for sale
in numismatic marketplaces like eBay and other sites where sellers and buyers meet.

Unfortunately there are also many counterfeit coins worldwide for sale who are mostly made in various Asian countries. These counterfeit coins are sometimes from such a good quality that it is very difficult to identify them as a counterfeit coin
if your not a real coin expert. Please click on to continue reading:

Monday, June 11, 2007

"Ancient Rome Returns To Life"

Full credit is given to Mr. Stephen Brown and to Yahoo for the following article. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Shawn, thanks for bringing the article to my attention.

By Stephen Brown Mon Jun 11, 10:17 AM ET
ROME (Reuters) - Tourists puzzled by the jumble of buildings in classical and modern Rome can now find their bearings by visiting a virtual model of the imperial capital in what is being billed as the world's biggest computer simulation of an ancient city.
Rome Reborn" was unveiled on Monday in a first release showing the city at its peak in 320 AD, under the Emperor Constantine when it had grown to a million inhabitants.

Brainchild of the University of Virginia's Bernard Frischer, Rome Reborn ( will eventually show its evolution from Bronze Age hut settlements to the Sack of Rome in the 5th century AD and the devastating Gothic Wars.
Reproduced for tourists on satellite-guided handsets and 3-D orientation movies in a theatre to be opened near the Colosseum, Frischer says his model "will prepare them for their visit to the Colosseum, the Forum, the imperial palaces on the Palatine, so that they can understand the ruins a lot better."

"We can take people under the Colosseum and show them how the elevators worked to bring the animals up from underground chambers for the animal hunts they held," he said, referring to the great Roman amphitheatre inaugurated by Titus in 80 AD.

Frischer's model is sourced from ancient maps and building catalogues detailing "apartment buildings, private houses, inns, storage facilities, bakeries and even brothels," plus digital images of the vast "Plastico di Roma Antica" model built from plaster of Paris in 1936-74, which measures 16 by 17 meters.

The "reverse modeling" by Frischer and the Politecnico di Milano and University of Florence enables scholars to populate ancient monuments with virtual reality figures for experiments on practical details like ventilation, capacity or acoustics.

"For example, in scholarly literature the Colosseum has a great reputation for being a great people mover where people could find their seats very quickly. But estimates of the carrying capacity vary wildly from 35,000 to 78,000," he said.

Engineers have populated his model with virtual spectators to narrow down that estimate to 48,000-50,000 people.

The model can also show how the Romans, who worshipped the sun and moon, aligned their buildings with the summer solstice.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ancient Coin Enthusiasts: Please Try Photobucket

I shall try to keep this simple for people who do not know who or what is all about. Photobucket is a user friendly video and image hosting service. I had no problem joining and uploading images. This alone speaks volumes about the ease of use! is a totally free site for your use, although if you wish to upgrade you can, but that will cost. I will only address the freebie side of the program. The first thing to do is to go to and sign in. Signing in is a very simple and painless procedure and once done you can easily use this site for many different purposes. I will discuss a couple now.

Adding Pictures

When you have signed into photobucket you will be on the home page and this is where you start to make photo albums by adding pictures you want. Click on Browse, it will take you to your folders. Choose the folder you want and the picture you want to upload. Click on your chosen picture, click open, and this will now show back to the home page. At this point you can add a description to your picture, so once you have typed in your description click submit. The upload takes place and if you have proceesed properly, you will see * Photo Successfully Uploaded. *

Image uploading

You can do a single image upload or Multiple image uploads from computer, uploading with the windows upload tool, and mobile/Email, including FTP and windows XP Publisher. I created an album for test purposes and everything went as smooth as silk. I think you ancient coin hobbyists will really appreciate the program. One can create different albums to meet different needs.

I have been using but there is something I really like about Photobucket. For one thing, I think flickr is a bit glitzy for my taste. has much more of a "bread and butter" feel. Please load it up, give it a try and let me know what you think. Thank you for reading.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And You Think Your Ancient Coin Is Old?

Money And Its Origins

Do you know what the world’s oldest coin is? If you’re not sure, don’t feel bad — the book is still open on what exactly represents the “first” money. Some early forms of primitive money were mostly objects used to barter for other goods. These included such things as bronze necklaces, pieces of gold and silver, gold dust and nuggets, sea shells, pressed blocks of tea, rings of silver, slaves, tobacco, cattle and much more. As far as money made from precious metals is concerned, ring money, developed by an Egyptian Pharaoh thousands of years ago, was the first. This Pharaoh made sure his “money” was made of gold and was relatively uniform in size and weight. Most importantly, especially if you were some poor granite carver working on a pyramid, was that the Pharaoh said that it was money and his subjects either had to accept it or they ended up on the wrong end of a spear.

Electrum and the First Coins

What’s generally accepted as the world’s first coins were struck more than 2,500 years ago in the kingdom of Lydia, a small but wealthy state in Asia Minor, in what is today part of modern-day Turkey. The reason for Lydia’s prosperity was its vast amounts of electrum, a very scarce natural alloy that is essentially the combination of gold and silver found in the silt along the shores of the Pactolus River. In fact, according to legend, these special gold deposits originated when King Midas washed his hands in the river to rid himself of his “golden touch.” It was Electrum that made the kings of Lydia the richest and most powerful rulers of the ancient world. King Croesus of Lydia was the first person to mint gold and silver coinage and played a pivotal role in developing the world’s first monetary system based upon precious metals. Electrum was the key instrument in this development. Croesus had his underlings shape electrum into bean-shaped lumps each with a fixed weight and purity. Then, each was stamped with an official symbol. By 550 BC, the practice of striking coins was established in all the important trading cities throughout the known world.Electrum remains a rare metal alloy today that’s even scarcer than platinum. Although very rarely used in the striking of coinage, it’s no stretch to say that every coin collection around the world is based on electrum, the first precious metal used to strike coins. If it weren’t for electrum, we might not be collecting coins today! More importantly, this first coinage allowed mankind to move away from barter and to expand throughout the known world. No other invention can compare to this one, for without coinage, we’d still be stuck in a barter economy. Bartering may be all right for trading a sandwich for a bag of cookies in grade school, but not for a civilized global economy!

Enter the Greeks

The rise of the Greek city states brought with it a marvelous development in coins. The Greeks took striking coins to a whole new level. Featuring exotic images of gods, goddesses and winged creatures, Greek coins had a beautiful visionary quality that would not be matched for another thousand years. The coins of Greece, and in particular those of some of their city states, such as Syracuse, are amazingly beautiful miniature works of art. No people in the history of the world have ever truly exceeded the beauty of their coins. When Alexander the Great conquered the known world from 336 to 323 BC, he not only spread the Greek Hellenistic culture throughout his empire, he also spread the concept of coinage. It was an idea that lived on even after his death as his generals and successors founded the great Hellenistic empires. These successors introduced realistic portraits as a regular feature of their coinage. The true visages of world rulers were recorded for posterity. Many of these rulers are unknown to history except through their coin portraits.

When in Rome

The Roman Empire continued the Hellenistic tradition of realistic portraits on coins. The emperor’s family was also frequently depicted on the coinage — the ancient world’s version of the newspaper tabloid that kept track of the royal family. In this way, the progression of some emperors can be seen on their coins from boyhood through maturity. With no television, newspaper or internet to spread news, Roman coins were frequently the main propaganda tool used by the emperors. Besides telling citizens in no uncertain terms who was in charge, Roman coins also publicized the achievements of the emperor, such as key military victories and important architectural works like the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus. Even important events such as the assassination of Julius Caesar or an alliance between cities, were recorded on the coinage. Unsurpassed in their quality and completeness, Roman coins are like a portrait gallery that tells the long history of the world’s greatest empire. These coins were so important that even usurpers to the throne, who would otherwise be unrecorded in history, struck coins with their names on them as their first rule of business after seizing power. Besides needing the coins to pay their army, which allowed them to proclaim themselves emperor, the coins bearing their image legitimized their rule to the masses. Today, many of these usurpers are known today only through their coins.

How the Fall of Rome Affected Coinage

One can see the decline of the Roman Empire on its coinage. In the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117), the standard monetary coin was a large Silver Denarius. In the mid-200s, the coins shrunk in size to a small Silver Antoniananus. By the late 200s, the coin became a Bronze Antoniananus, which was silver plating over bronze. Finally, by the 300s and 400s, the coins became solid bronze, indicating the depths to which the Empire had fallen.When the Roman Empire collapsed in 476, most of Europe was thrown into the era known as the Dark Ages. Yet many of the barbarians who conquered Rome were half Romanized. The remains of Rome’s greatness were all around them. They strode along her roads. Many became Christians. Roman law, literature and architectural remains are still studied, and our calendar is based on the Julian calendar of Julius Caesar. Roman roads paved the way for the spread of these ideas. The roads traveled to foreign lands and established cities that are still in existence today — London, Istanbul, Paris and Lisbon to name just a few. In the East, Constantinople kept Roman ideas, culture and laws alive well into the Renaissance. Though the Roman Empire was no more, the mints it had established in the far-flung corners of the world lived on. No longer glorifying the “Eternal City” of Rome, these now served their tribal leaders and warlords for several centuries until a renaissance in thought, culture and technology could effect a change.

At a later date I will add date about the Byzantine Empire and Subsequent coinage. The information I am sharing can be found at the following URL: I give full credit to the site and to the writer of the article. Thank you for reading and God Bless.. Jerry..

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Picasa 2: Great Free Picture Host

I have used Picasa in the past and I think it is one of the finest free hosting services on the web. Read Google's review of their service.

Transfer, find, organize, edit, print, and share images, all with this easy-to-use product. Watch Picasa automatically organize all your pictures into elegant albums by date. Having all your photos in one place means no more time wasted searching for folders or files. The program works with JPEG, GIF, BMP, PSD, and movie files and is compatible with most digital cameras; it detects your USB driver and imports pictures into albums. Editing tools include cropping (standard or custom), removal of red-eye, and enhancing--even switching from color to black and white. Create slide shows set to your MP3s. Integration with Picasa's free Hello instant picture-sharing software lets you share hundreds of photos in seconds and chat in real time. E-mail photos with Picasa's built-in client to take the guesswork out of compressing images, and order photo-lab quality prints or print at home with no mistakes. You can also make instant backups to CD (or to other hard drives) of your photo collections, to organize your photos using labels and stars (just like with Gmail), to write captions for all pictures, and to organize videos as well as pictures. Picasa is owned by Google.
The latest version of Picasa adds Web-based features in the form of Picasa Web Albums.

I am providing a link for what I consider to be an easy download. Please let me know if you like this free host. The URL is as follows: Thank you and God Bless.. Jerry..

Friday, May 25, 2007

Zapping Crusty Coins On A Budget

Dear readers, I am addressing the increased cost of living relative to our interest in cleaning coins. First and foremost I want you to know that one can easily assemble a zapping unit for $5 dollars or less that will do just as good a job as my “Super Zapper.”

I have schematics for building a very simple zapping unit under the “Files” section of CoinZappers. The URL is as follows: One must join our group to have access to the schematics but that is not a bad thing either. You will find some of the friendliest members you have ever met. We will be happy to walk you through the building process and we will be there for you as you learn the “kindest method” for cleaning crusty coins.

The coins you see in the picture above right are coins I cleaned using my zapping process. I invite you to join our group and learn our process. The learning curve is nominal and it certainly is not rocket science. I venture to say that we can have you zapping coins within a week and that includes assembling the unit.

There has been much talk recently about the escalating costs of power supplies. I have an AC/DC power supply that can be purchased at WalMart for a bit under or over $10 dollars. I get great results when cleaning no more than three to five coins with my WalMart power supply and a small zapping unit. My interest is to continue to make this an affordable hobby! We will lose many potential zappers if the initial outlay is close to 200 bucks to get started in our hobby.

One thing I want readers to understand is that one has sacrificed nothing when making the choice to use the smaller assembled homemade zapping unit. The quality of cleaning is still there. It is only the quantity of coins one can clean that is being “sacrificed.” With the increased cost of crusty coins I think there is something to be said about making the choice to clean 1-5 coins at a time as opposed to using a Super Zapper like mine and cleaning twenty coins at a time.

I suggest you go for coin quality and buy quality crusty coins if a buying choice needs to be made. I will state what I so often say and that is that I have now zapped about 6000 coins and I know what I am talking about. I think the proof is in the picutes of the coins I am more than willing to share with all. Please give us, the members and moderators of CZ, an opportunity to help you learn the most exciting ancient coin cleaning method I know of. God Bless.. Jerry..

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Roman Toga: Who Wore Togas?

What do you think of when you think of Roman clothing? The toga? Actually, the toga was worn by males only and was the equivalent of a suit and tie we see men tearing today. Most Roman citizens wore a tunic, which was a kind of long shirt with a belted waist and short sleeves. If a male was engaged in heavy labor he wore a tunic with one sleeve. Men wore either shoes with laces or sandals.

Women wore long, loose fitting dresses fastened at the shoulders with fibulae and was the counter part of contemporary safety pins. These were also belted at the waist. Married women wore an extra piece of fabric over their dress called a stola. That was not all; over their heads they would wear another piece of fabric called a palla, a combination shawl and veil. If you can add to my limited knowledge of Roman dress, please do so. I am sure our readers would enjoy.

The written material in the article above was paraphrased from a handout I received at the Pompeii exhibit in Mobile. The handout is entitled “A Day in Pompeii.”

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Graphite Cleaning: A Major Coin Cleaning Breakthrough?

I think I have discovered a method of cleaning ancient coins that will meet the needs of all who clean regardless of cleaning techniques. I am just short of amazed at what happens when I employ my new method. Please allow me to preface my data by stating that the method does not replace the cleaning techniques you now employ but it enhances your ability to better clean your coin.

For some time I have been looking for a gentle method of removing the omnipresent “dirt” and stains found in around the legend and features of the coin’s image. I will not bore you with all the cleaning media I have tried. I went so far as to apply harsh chemicals as I continued to search for a vehicle to lift the tiny particles found in the ancient coin’s crevices.

I recalled my dad and I used graphite powder as a lubricant whenever I helped him restore player pianos and that I had added the powder to my repertoire of art mediums. Almost as a lark I chose a 5mm mechanical pencil and began to draw in and around the legend of a coin. The coin was already clean and I was highly satisfied with my product. As I applied the pencil I immediately saw small residues of dirt begin to roll up into tiny balls and I could gently blow the tiny balls away. I worked on one letter of the legend and then another. I could not believe what was happening! I only thought the coin was clean!

The “dirt’ continued to roll into tiny balls in and around the legend as I continued to draw along the coins surface. I could not believe the cleaning results. I drew all over the coin and the graphite was obviously picking up the infinite specks of crust from the tiniest orifices of the image to the small “o’s” of the legend. The graphite was actually working as a binder! However, I now had a gray coin. I wiped the coins surface with a dry towel and the coin was clean but I could still see the gray deposit left by the graphite.

I tried a damp towel and easily removed most of the graphite. I tried a bit of hand soap with water and the remainder of the graphite easily floated away! The coin was the very same color I had before the graphite application! I knew graphite was used as a lubricant but I was still concerned about the abrasive characteristics. I chose the hardest graphite pencil I had- a #2B- and I really bore down on one of the coins I was working with. I continued to work in a small area of the coin with very hard and rapid strokes. I wanted to be sure about the abrasive qualities of the graphite. I washed the coin with soap and a soft toothbrush and the coin had no abrasive marks at all! Not a scratch!


I repeat. The new method is an enhancement to the cleaning method you are now employing.
I found that a #2 lead in a 5 or 7mm pencil works the best.
The graphite is not abrasive.
The graphite will not clean crusty coins.
The graphite method enhances what you have already cleaned.
I am sure there are many unanswered questions but I need to know what you don’t know.
I think this is the genesis of a technique that will be used for decades.
I think the graphite enhanced the visual quality of my coins by as much as 25-40%.

I want many of you to try the method and let me know what you think. If you do not get good results the you are doing something wrong. I have now cleaned dozens of coins to some degree and I am very, very excited. Ask Shawn if he got a 3 PM call last night! Thanks for reading and I look forward to feedback.. God Bless.. Jerry..