ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to clean Roman, Greek or Byzantine coins

Updated on November 23, 2014

When you buy unclean coins whether being Roman, Greek or Byzantine (this are the ones I know by experience), most of the time you will have to put a lot of effort to remove the hard crusted dirt formed from being underground for several hundred years.

There are several ways to clean coins from excavations, but I will explain you the method I use in order to avoid to ruin the patina.

As soon as I receive the coins, I wash them with warm soap and water to remove the first layer of dirt. You should use a soap with a neutral pH that does not contain lemon or vinegar, to avoid damage. Allow the coins to soak in the soapy warm water for about 30 minutes. During this time, you have to brush the coins with a toothbrush with hard bristles and you will notice immediately that much more dirt will come off already with this system.

Dry the coins thoroughly with a soft cloth without scrubbing them and then divide those that are already clean enough. You can repeat this process several times until the dirt and deposits continue to come off the coins.

At this point pour olive oil in a plastic container and immerge the coins that need further treatment. Let the coins soak for 5-7 days until the oil softens the remaining dirt on the coins.

After 5-7 days of soaking, remove the oil, wash and then brush the coins again; you must repeat this passage for as long as the dirt attached continues to come off.

At this point, some coins will be well clean, while others will still have hard dirt plates attached and will need a more drastic approach. You need to remove these patches of hard dirt using first a toothpick and then, if it’s not enough, a sharp metal tool like a scalpel. Using this tool very gently, apply a lateral pressure on the hard dirt plates, being careful not to damage the patina.

I usually use this last process only as a last resort for coins that are really in bad shape because it’s really easy to ruin the patina of the coin and personally I scratched several coins with this method; don‘t use it unless you really have to.

The patina is the oxide layer that has formed over the centuries; a coin with a patina intact is a must for a collector, and therefore more valuable.

You can also use ultrasonic cleaners such as those for cleaning jewelry, for good results and to speed up the cleaning process, of course, we must consider the costs of such equipment.

Once the coins are finally clean, treat them with “Renaissance wax” to protect them from the degenerative processes of the metal.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)