There is a whole art and established practice behind cleaning and restoring ancient coins and artifacts. In fact, there have been decades of tools, tips and tricks, rubs, solutions, and waxes used to clean old coins on one’s own but with professional quality – especially coins that are no longer issued. Here are some tips to consider and start with.
Use mild solutions
In cleaning and restoring coins, you shall need basic tools and materials, such as a polishing wheel and water in a spray can. Simple preparation involves using a weak soap – anything that isn’t detergent – solution in distilled water to remove dirt and grease from an encrusted coin. The goal is not to inflict any damage on the upper-grade coins, especially when using harsh chemicals. If a coin is heavily encrusted, it can be soaked for a couple of months in olive oil, which won’t damage the coin further but instead dissolve the undesirable crust.
Avoid destructive cleaners
These solutions use abrasives or acids that clean and actually alter the coin surface. Widely advertised metal cleaners, for instance, are likely acid-based ones that remove some of the surface metal in the cleaning process. Avoid them to preserve the coin’s collector value. It’s also best to avoid over-cleaning so as not to diminish the coin’s value, and to stick to the least abrasive techniques.
It will take time to clean ancient coins, and those that have more difficult deposits will require further work. There may also be multiple methods to get them sorted out. Soaking the coins in distilled water, for instance, may be a slow process and can take months, but will loosen dirt effectively without introducing damage. When in doubt, seek professional help for coin cleaning and restoration.
Sadigh Gallery in New York City specializes in the handling and selling of ancient art, artifacts, and coins from all over the world. The family-owned business handles each interaction with their customers with utmost importance. For related reads, visit this page.