Thursday, February 3, 2011

Detergent: Ancient Coin Easy Clean

Are you looking for a kind and gentle way to clean stubborn dirty ancients? If so, I have a solution I consider very kind and gentle. You may know by now that I discourage all from using what I call "hard tools." A hard tool is a dental pick or anything harder than wood.

There is no doubt one will end up with a scarred and scratched coin if hard tools are used. I am an advocate of archival Zapping but that is another story. This is my solution to those of you who are timid about using my Zapping approach.

This is step one so let's get busy cleaning your coin or coins. Purchase or pilfer a bit of dishwashing detergent from mom or from your spouse. Be CERTAIN you use a detergent with grease remover. In fact, I suggest you use a detergent with an extra heavy degreaser. My theory is the degreaser makes for better penetration through the crust.

Begin with a simple scrubbing. I still believe in the good old toothbrush with the shortened bristles. The clipped toothbrush tool will provide one with more leverage. The good old stiff bristled brushes are difficult to find so I suggest the following. Remove, with scissors, about 3-4mm of the bristle length.

OK, I want you to do the following to clean the coin. Place the coin on a bath cloth or towel to help hold the coin in place. One can use the eraser end of a lead pencil to help hold the coin in place. Place a small amount of detergent on the coin and dip your toothbrush in water and scrub away. Please hold your brush parallel to the coin so as not to dig the plastic into the coin's surface. You WILL remove some dirt. Repeat as often as necessary to clean the coin or repeat until you realize your efforts or fruitless. In other words we want a clean coin or we want to move to step two.

Hello! This is step two. I see you failed to clean the coin satisfactorily in step one. Don't despair. Please follow directions and select a small plastic tub about 3" to 4" in diameter. It should be about 2" to 4' tall. Choose a container with a lid. Place about 1 tablespoon of the same detergent liquid in the container and fill the remainder of the container to within 3/4' or so of the top with water.

Place a reasonable number of coins in the container and set aside. Perhaps 1-7 coins. We want the coins to soak for a few days. Place the container and coins in a place where you will see them several times a day. Don't forget the lid! Lift the container and swish about for several seconds. Please swish and don't bang the coins about. Swish has a nice and gentle sound and that is the movement we want.

As you watch TV there is no reason not to swish the coins. I think any agitating action must help. What do you think? Don't expect the coins to be cleaned overnight. Please be patient. The encrustation is being softened and lifted. All depends on how hard the crust is.

When the water is dirty you may want to change water and detergent. I am not sure this helps but I think it is encouraging to see dregs and dirty solution poured off the coins. Patience is what we need using this method of cleaning.

I have one more application for you. If you look at my blog, and I will share the URL: you will find an article I published about making Jerry's Bamboo Tools. The Bamboo tool(s) are invaluable to me. I use the 1/8"diameter Bamboo skewers.

Just as shown in the blog article, cut the skewers in half length wise and create several different kinds of points to aid in probing and prodding the coins surface. We are attempting to loosen as much crust as possible. As the coins are soaking remove the coins periodically and prod, push and loosen whatever dirt or crust will fall away. This really expedites your cleaning and makes for greater success. You may want to "Bamboo" the coins once a day or once a week. I hope this method helps you clean your coins and I would love to hear from you and I would enjoy learning about the degree of success you have. Please bookmark my blog and join if you like.

This method will clean the coins. It is simply a matter of how long and could become a generational thing! God Bless.. Jerry..


Alfredo De La Fe said...

Jerry, the only way to clean some types of encrustations is to use VERY hard tools while viewing under a microscope. It takes practice, but 90% of my professional cleaning is done using a slightly dulled Exacto knife under a stereo microscope. I rarely scratch the patina, if I do, a good brush "buffs" it out because they are very lite scratches.

Cooldude said...

while my coins aren't that ancient and i'm not a pro in this, i usually use toothpaste to clean all my coins.

Wahnfried Duke said...

Im new to cleaning coins but have you thought about using a blood tubes "rocker"? Unattended back and forth rocking. If you can find a good cheap model.