Ancient Coins: How To Clean Them Without Damaging Them

Ancient coins are very delicate, and rash operations, even if done in good ways to clean them, might compromise their value. Therefore, always wash your hands, handle them with care. Here are some more tips on how to clean ancient coins.

Don't clean old coins!

Do not clean old coins seems to be the motto of numismatics admirers. The patina of the coins, in fact, gives it value and denotes its circulation and antiquity. Indeed, coins that are too clean and shiny risk irremediably losing their value.

So, if you think you have a piece in your hand that could have a certain value, avoid intervening and possibly contact an expert.

Ancient Coins: How To Clean Them Without Damaging Them
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When it comes to cleaning an ancient coin without damaging it, evaluation is fundamental, to know what metal it is made of, to guess if and what value it could have, to understand if the forced removal of encrustations risks scratching and damaging it.

How to clean old coins without damaging them

You have documented yourself, you have evaluated your coin, you have considered the risks deriving from an incorrect intervention, and you are still determined to clean it without damaging it. In this case, consider the composition and state of the coin's conservation.

In general, for surface dirt, use a small brush very gently, rinse it with water to remove any further dirt, and dry it with a soft cotton cloth (not paper). If you are not damaging your specific coin, wash it with soap and water and dry it. In any case, do not rub and do not exert too much force.  

Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff

Sources: Donnad