Hot Pot Method
Patina: Generally removed
This is the fastest way of cleaning Crustie coins but is pretty aggressive. We would always recommend using the less aggressive techniques first if you want to retain the Patina. But after repeated failure to get your Ancient Coins cleaned this will give you fast results if followed correctly. Any Patina is generally removed but as you will see, on most Bronze coins you will get a very pleasing finish. It is really a weigh off between seeing what lies beneath thousands of years of stubborn crustacean or leaving it as it is. In these circumstances it is always nearly always better to remove it and be able to see what you have rather than assign them to the junk pile.
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Metal Sieve
- Liquid Beeswax
- Wooden Spoon
- Towels, Cloths
- Baking Tray
- Access to oven
- Disposable rubber gloves
- Washing up liquid
- Saucepan (Stainless Steel preferably)
It is good practice to wear rubber gloves when using any chemicals, even household ones. The chemicals can irritate and the Wax being used here can make your hands pretty dry. Also getting the dirt out from under your nails can be quite frustrating!
You should always do this is a well ventilated area, if you use a stove in a Kitchen open the doors and Windows. I generally do this in the Garden on a camping stove or on the heating ring on my Gas BBQ as it can get a bit dirty and smelly. Please remember the Oil and the coins get very hot, so Children should be supervised at all times.
1 Put the coins that you want to clean in the pot, cover them in Olive Oil so they are just submerged, and then add around 10-15% Lemon Juice. Remember to do this when the solution is cold otherwise the lemon Juice will spit all over the place.
2 Bring to the boil then simmer and frequently stir for about 30-45 minutes. The heat expands the coins helping to loosen up the crusty coating while the Lemon Juice goes to work. The olive Oil keeps it all at a higher temperature than using water alone and acts to soften the coating as well as trap the dirt and lime scale as it breaks free.
3 Keep stirring the coins and liquid with a Wooden Spoon, you will see it go green and then black and will be amazed at just how well this works.
4 After you can see mainly clean looking Bronze coins you know that it has worked. It generally takes me around 30-45 minutes to get the best results.
5 Now pour them out through the metal Sieve and leave them to cool in the sink (so they do not spit when they are washed in cold Water). At this point I often use some washing up liquid on them to remove as much of the left over loose dirt and Olive oil as possible and rub them together between my hands then rinse them again in the Sieve.
6 Dry them all on a Towel or Cloth and then sort out what coins look like they have come up well, and what ones still need more cleaning. The stubborn ones at this point I tend to put back in Olive Oil and Lemon Juice for a few more months then repeat the process if required.
7 All the ones that you are fairly happy with now place evenly on the baking tray and place on the top shelf of the of the oven for 45 minutes at 250 degrees centigrade.
8 Remove once baked then allow to cool, when just luke warm liberally apply Beeswax in some kind of container, then pour out and rub any surplus off with a towel of cloth.
NOTES This process can be followed in exactly the same way for the very worst of coins using a Liquid Descaler as a replacement for the Lemon Juice for even more powerful results. This should certainly only be done outside and a protective mask must be worn.