If you are a collector of Ancient Roman Coins, whether just starting out or in possession of a full collection, you know how important it is to ensure that your coins are clean and ready for display. It’s not always easy to clean these coins, especially when they’re coated with thousands of years of dirt and grit, but a few simple steps will set you on your way.
When you begin to clean your coins you should use a simple and easy first step: soap and water. This step will get a good bit of the loose dirt off, and should allow you to start making out the details of the coin. It is ideal to use your kitchen sink and a colander for this step, along with liquid soap and a good stiff brush, like a brass brush or firm toothbrush. Place the coins in the colander, cover with soap, and run warm water over them for a few minutes, allowing the water to dislodge much of the looser material. Then take each coin and using the brush coated with soap, give it a good scrub.
When your coins have been given a thorough initial scrub, they are ready to put into a soak. You have a couple of good options with this step, and it’s up to you which method you choose. You may use plain distilled water to soak the coins. This method takes patience, but is all natural. Or you can use a long-term soak product like Gringott’s #1, which has the added benefit of treating bronze disease. The choice is yours, but with either method you will need to allow the coins to soak from several days to a couple of weeks. Use a covered container, anything from a jar to a plastic bucket, but make sure that there is enough room for each coin to soak without touching others. Place the coins in the container and cover them with one to two inches of either the distilled water or Gringott’s #1. And wait.
After a couple of days, check on your coins. You should see loose particles of dirt floating around, and be able to scrape extra grime off the coins with your brush. Change the water or solution, then replace the coins and leave for another couple of days. Repeat this process until you’ve gotten all the results you think the soak can bring. At this point, you’re ready for more detailed scrubbing with a wider variety of tools.
Depending on the coin you’re cleaning, you might use softer toothbrushes, dental picks or cotton swabs. With each coin, do a hard scrub, then employ each of your other tools. Use dental picks and softer brushes for detail work and cotton swabs for grooves and ridges.
When you’ve finished this step, you should have clean coins ready to be dried. Drying is an extremely important step, and can be accomplished several ways. You can use a hairdryer, your oven, even a heat vent in your home. The most important thing is to make sure each coin is completely dried. When each coin is cleaned and dried, they are ready for display.