Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cleaning Ancient Coins Using Various Methods

Ok, you have purchased your ancient coins and whether ancient Roman coins or ancient Greek coins, you most likely have a handful of objects you cannot identify! What now? First of all, don't panic. Please follow my instructions and let's see how we can resolve the problem. My name is Jerry and I have cleaned thousands of coins. I have dipped coins in almost every imaginable solution known to man. I do not encourage this because there are dangers inherit in ALL cleaning methods. I am willing to share with you what I have learned and will caution you as we share information. Why am I doing this! Very simple. I love people and I love to teach. In fact, I am a retired college art prof who was bitten by the ancient coin bug a few years ago. I enjoy both ancient coins and ancient artifacts. I clean ancient coins of all varieties but ancient romans is really my bag as they say. Now. let's get started.(1) Ancient coin (DW) distilled water soak. Whether Roman coins or Greek coins, the simplest method I know of is the DW (Distilled Water) soak. Purchase the cheapest ( WalMart?) gallon of DW you can find and allow your coins to soak in the DW for a few days. Some of the coin's encrustation may be loosened with the DW. This is worth trying because it will work on a few coins on occasion. I wish this method worked on all dirty Greek and Roman coins. It is by far the safest technique. (2) Ancient coin scrubbing. The second simplest method I know for cleaning ancient coins is to scrub with a toothbrush and a bar of soap. I have found that quite a few coins will clean up by applying a bit of elbow grease to the old toothbrush loaded with soap. Try this method after you try the DW soak. If you succeed, then soak the coins for several hours in clear clean water. Change the water several times. After the soak be sure and dry the coins with a soft cloth. I hope this method works because it is also safe and easy to perform. (3) Ancient coin olive oil soak. Olive oil? Yes, olive oil. The theory is that the oil permeates the ancient coins and softens the encrustation. How long should I soak the ancient coins? Begin by soaking for at least 12 hours. Remember that all coins will not relinquish their encrustation at the same rate. Remove each coin, one at a time, and apply method one and see if the encrustation has loosened. Some people allow their coins to soak for weeks. I simply do not have this kind of patience. (4) Ancient coin cleaning with TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate). Sounds like something that would kill an elephant and would in the proper quantity! Avoid inhaling and PLEASE read the container precautions. TSP can be found at the larger building supply stores and is used for cleaning, etc. Again, read the precautions! Mix about one tablespoon of TSP to one pint of water. Be sure and use a plastic or glass container. Place 1-3 coins in the container and allow the ancient coins to soak for about 10 minutes. If you have success then you can increase the number of coins and you may want to adjust the strength of the mixture if the coins appear to be eroding. Follow the containers directions and repeat the process until the coins are clean. Do Not leave the coins in the solution too long! The degree to which the coins can be cleaned using any method is contingent on the quality of coins you have purchased and the degree of encrustation. When and if successful, you will still need to perform element #2 above. Please do not allow any of the ingredients to remain within the reach of children or pets.(5) Ancient coin electrolysis cleaning. Electrolysis? As in electricity? Yes! This is the method I like the very best and employ in cleaning about 99% of my coins. ANOTHER WARNING! I am speaking of DC only! Not AC! Electricity will kill you dead in rather small amounts. Here, I am going to depart to some degree and ask you to visit another site to learn more about electrolysis. I created the site about two four years ago and the degree of interest has increased to the extent that we now have over 625 members and that includes electrical engineers and electricians. We have plenty of information about electrolysis with illustrations. We have Greek coin enthusiasts as well as Roman coin enthusiasts. The URL is as follows: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CoinZappers You will find a plethora of information as well as the friendliest members you have ever encountered. At CZ (CoinZappers) you can ask ALL the questions you wish. See you there! .

Monday, February 19, 2007

5 Stars For This Ancient Coin Cleaner

Before I begin my review of the Dremel Stylus 1100-01 I should state the company gave me the unit at no cost to review for ancient coin cleaners. I cautioned management that I would have to be completely honest with my coin-cleaning friends and that is what I have tried to do. In fact, after reading so many positives I had made up my mind to find something wrong with this little beauty!

Alas, it is as I had read. The 1100 is a great piece of technology in my opinion. It is definitely a 5 star unit! But let’s go back to the cons before we get too carried away. I thought I was going to have to borrow a chainsaw to get into the package. It was almost as difficult as opening a bag of potato chips! WalMart’s price is 69.95 and one would think at this price Dremel would include all four of the collets but no, only two. I think that is being a bit cheap!

The balance of the unit is wonderful. It is more akin to holding an artist’s brush than holding a powerful little tool. It is so pleasing to be unattached to a cord. It actually gives one a sense of freedom. I discovered that I could hold the unit somewhat as I hold a pencil or a small pistol. I discovered a third way of holding the unit and that is what I would call a “knife hold” as one would hold a pocketknife while carving a piece of wood.

The 1100-01 has a speed range of 5,000 to 25,000 rpm and is powered by a 7.2 lithium-ion battery. I can recall when my cordless power drill had about the same power. I was unable to “bog” the unit down even at slower speeds. The handsome 1100 sits in a docking station that takes care of recharging. The docking station also serves as a holder for a variety of tools.

The lithium-ion battery technology, once charged, can hold a charge up to two years. Also, there is no “memory” problem with the battery and one can constantly return the 1100 to the cradle without fear of damaging the battery. This is information I gleaned from Dremel. I allowed the unit to run for extended periods of time and the unit maintained plenty of power.

I must admit I have long been a fan of Dremel. The oldest unit I have dates back about 35 years and I also have a flexible shaft unit my wife bought me about three years ago. I would be lost without any of the units I own but I would love a six-pack of the 1100 hundreds with a different tool in each!

In addition to the 1100 one receives the following with the Stylus: docking station, #191 high speed cutter, #194 high speed cutter, #106 engraving cutter, #7144 diamond wheel point, #84922 silicone carbide grinding stone, #403 bristle brush, two #414 polishing felt wheels, two #429 polishing felt wheels, #425 emery impregnated wheel, #421 polishing compound, #512 abrasive buff, #430 sanding band, two #438 sanding bands, five #412 sanding discs, #401 mandrel, #402 mandrel, 3/32 collet, wrench and plastic case.

In summary, I have attempted to be as objective as possible. In all honesty I cannot say enough about the 1100-01. It is more than I expected. Drop by your local Wal-Mart and fit one to your hand. You will be sold! If you purchase or if you have purchased, please share your opinion with me.. Thanks and God Bless.. Jerry..


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ancient Coin Patinator Schematic

Please ask all the questions you like. I am sure there will be some things I did not include you will need to know. After working on the patinator for such an extended time, I am sure I must have overlooked the obvious!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Jerry's Ancient Coin Repatinator Revealed!

After a year of research I am very happy to reveal my new "Ancient Coin Patinator." I think all will be surprised at the simplicity of the unit and how easily the unit can be built. I am now working on a schematic to release to my groups and the drawing should be ready by late next week. I have repatinated a coin to share and if you look at the top right you will see the obverse and reverse of the coin. I stripped the coin down to the bronze surface and made certain no patina was on the coin before repatinating.

I also arranged two photographs to illustrate the "before and after" of the coin. Please click on the following URL to see the stripped obverse in contrast to the patinated obverse: http://tinyurl.com/2fuyvp I think the photograph illustrates very well what we are now able to do. I also have a stitched photograph of the reverse before and after. Please click to view: http://tinyurl.com/33a6tl

I used a 600 mA AC adaptor and left the coin in my solution for about 30 seconds. One can vary the values of the patina by leaving the coin in the solution for a longer periods of time. I am very happy with the results I have been getting and I think this is the answer to our repatination process. I would like feedback please. A friend and I are looking at the possibilty of a patent.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

"Coin" Reverse Revealed

I am revealing the reverse of the "coin" photo I posted yesterday. Please take a good look and see if you can determine the origin of the object. I will provide as much information as I can read. I think I can read the word "ORANGE" at what I will refer to as the bottom. Above I think I can read "RICH." On either side and in bewteen the words are stars. There appears to be a broken stud on the reverse. Could it be from an old pair of coveralls? I know the coins came from abroad and the item appeared to be just another deeply encrusted coin. Why the english verbage? I find the anomaly to be very interesting. Perhaps it is the artist within me that begins to create a mulitiude of possibilities. What do you think? What is your opinion?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Can You Name This "Coin"

I found the coin you see attached to this article in a rather large mix. The item was deeply encrusted and took quite a bit of zapping to remove the encrustation. I think it is a beauty and I have decided to see if anyone can guess the item or "coin." I will show only the obverse now and will reveal the reverse at a later date. Perhaps only a day or so from now. One other thing, I can't be certain the reverse will tell us everything but there is evidence for certain. I will not reveal the precise size but I will say it it rather small. I hope we can have some fun with this one. Jump in and join in the fun my friends! God Bless.. Jerry..

Thursday, February 1, 2007

My New "Natural Patination" Process Completely Revealed

I have developed a method for expediting the repatination of coins after electrolysis and I am sharing with you. I call the technique “Natural Patination.” The photo of the coins you see included with this article are coins I have patinated using this technique. Please pay close attention to my instructions and you should get the same results as I do. I have worked for months on this process and I think I have the method perfected.

First, the method only works with coins I have zapped with sodium carbonate. Other electrolytic solutions may work but I have only worked with the SC. After your coins are completely clean and you have finished with the zapping process are you ready to begin. Pull the clean coin from the solution and wipe with either a soft cloth or soft paper towel. Do NOTHING other than wipe the coins dry. I am assuming your coins are completely clean at this point. In other words, there is no encrustation remaining on the coin.

Allow the coins to dry with the SC still on the coin. You do not perform the vinegar dip nor do you wash the coin. The SC remaining on the coin causes a more rapid oxidation of the coin and what would normally take weeks will take only hours to days using my new technique. I am getting wonderful results as indicated by the coins you see in the photograph. I place my coins in small plastic containers and go through the coins every day or so to see which coins are ready to “seal.”

At this point, when the coin has the patina value I want I place the coin in white vinegar for about three minutes. The vinegar halts any additional toning of the coin. Pull the coin from the vinegar, wash with a mild dishwashing liquid and water, wipe the coin dry and allow to dry overnight or for several hours. You may want to expedite the drying by using a hair dryer or heat gun. Allow me to caution you to make sure the coin is thoroughly dry. The next step is to seal the coin with wax and if wax or any sealant is placed on a damp coin one will get a “blushing” effect. The blushing effect is the result of sealing moisture under the wax or other sealant. I am sure you have seen the effect if you have cleaned coins for any length of time. The damp coin effect leaves the coin with a cloudy look. It is very obvious at its worst.

I ask that you follow all my instructions for cleaning coins in order to obtain the wonderful results I get. I work very hard at mastering my craft and I cannot be responsible for any deviation from what I ask you to do. That includes the SC and the mixture ratio I ask you to use. I am a bit perplexed when I get an offline question about how much vinegar one should add to the sodium carbonate or how much salt goes in the solution. We all need to be on the same page as we work though these coin cleaning techniques. Thanks for allowing me to instruct you. Please bookmark my blog and check back often. I will begin to instruct in photographing with artificial light pretty soon and if you love our hobby as much as I do you will find the photography to be very exciting. The URL of my blog is as follows: http://ancientpeddler.blogspot.com/ Be sure and look at the various articles I have included for the benefit of our ancient coin enthusiasts. God Bless.. Jerry..