Cleaning in the field

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thefiggis
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Cleaning in the field

Post by thefiggis » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:19 pm

With comments being made in another thread regarding how coins are cleaned in the field I thought a specific topic on the subject might be in order.

Some maintain that no cleaning is done until they have access to proper cleaning equipment for fear of damaging/scratching the object. Others give it a good wipe/trouser rub without any concern for any possible damage that might cause.

For myself, I have no qualms whatsoever about rubbing off some dirt for a proper butchers once I've got it out of the clod as I can't see how I'm going to do it any more harm, but other views would be interesting.


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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by king of the swingers » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:31 pm

you can tell if its something special pretty quickly i often use moss or grass for a quick clean ::g
If i thought it was valuable just a quick rinse at home then pic to flo

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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by chip » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:43 pm

I have one of those coinpad plastic boxes with a sponge with slits in it for your coins.
I give the sponge a good soaking at the start of the day. So I pop my coins in there pretty grotty until I get to the car where I keep a hozelock 0.5l spray bottle filled normally with mineral water, which I use to give them a good blasting.
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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by Zyrbalax » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:02 pm

I might pull off excess dirt but I don’t rub or wipe them in the field, I pop them in little plastic bags and wait till I get home to give them a proper clean.

I like my milled coins, and I’ve discovered that sometimes the dark green patina is actually very delicate and it can break away leaving pale green verdigris underneath. So I wait, to avoid the risk of damaging them especially if they look like they’re in nice condition.

I’ve only found 4 hammies so far so I’m still at the stage of being very careful with those - if I was finding dozens maybe I’d be a bit more blazé about them!

Each to his own - I just know how gutted I’d be to ruin a nice coin through impatience.

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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by f8met » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:25 pm

If anyone can really tell a coin, when cleaned has been rubbed in the field over the soil rubbing against it for 600 years then they are a better man (or woman or non-specific gender) than me.
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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by Zyrbalax » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:50 am

f8met wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:25 pm
If anyone can really tell a coin, when cleaned has been rubbed in the field over the soil rubbing against it for 600 years then they are a better man (or woman or non-specific gender) than me.
I'm not sure coins do get much rubbing while in the soil. Probably more on ploughed land where the soil gets disturbed a few times every year, but on pasture? For example my second hammie, found in an area that had been heavily disturbed by JCB, was firmly embedded in the middle of a lump of clay. I doubt that had been moved about pretty much since the soil first encased it.

In comparison, firmly rubbing (forward, back, forward again?) the face of a coin that has soil particles on it seems to me to be much harsher treatment.

All my opinion of course, and no, I don't think I'd be able to tell the difference either, but I don't want to risk damaging what are to me still rare finds!

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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by littleboot » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:34 am

I never ever clean anything in the field. If its a coin I can generally tell its approximate vintage from its size and thickness. That is all I need to help me know what is coming up. I don't need to know the precise details until I can get home.
I don't agree that coins are necessarily always knocked up in the fields...depends on the field I suppose, or how long they have been in the loose plough. (Even so, I don't see how it helps matters to 'polish' em with the equivalent of tumbler-grit for want of a bit of patience.)
I dug a couple of lovely silver five franc pieces on pasture and they had dark tarnish on them. I resisted the urge to do the dreaded thumb rub. Got them home and wiped it away with a spectacle cloth and they were in top condition.....so much so that a few extra scratches would have knocked off a lot of value. I also dig quite a lot of old low-grade silver hammereds and they are very brittle when first removed from the ground. Doing the thumb dance over them would definitely result in a mini-jigsaw of billon. I put them straight into cotton wool until they have adjusted and dried out.
I quite enjoy waiting till I get home....it means I can share the fun with Pete. We have had some nice surprises revealed that way.
Artifacts are always best left until you get home.
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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by Pete E » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:15 am

f8met wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:25 pm
If anyone can really tell a coin, when cleaned has been rubbed in the field over the soil rubbing against it for 600 years then they are a better man (or woman or non-specific gender) than me.
I am very much a beginner at all this, so not really sure what I should be doing.

However I did find a ship half penny that was pretty toasted but I could see enough detail through the crud to ID it...

I then proceeded to give it a spray of water and give it a "vigorous" clean with a cloth to remove the remaining dirt and perhaps some of the "green"...

I removed a layer of "green" ok, but also all the remaining surface detail! I could not have got it smoother with Wet and Dry rl; rl;

I am a lot more careful now although still not really sure the best approach is....
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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by Digger Drew » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:30 pm

I spray item with water untill all of the c4ud is off in the field and also use a soft tooth brush for those not so easy cleaned ones not had a problem doing this
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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by Me and my boy » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:38 pm

As per hammered silver coins, if they have a nice grey/ black patina, this can be rubbed off to silver again ifvtge soils rubbed off. Leaving a shinny part and the rest with remaining patina. Which I personally don’t think looks right.
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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by thefiggis » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:39 pm

While the abrasive properties of various soil types might come into play, here's what several hundred years of being in the soil (and circulation before that, of course) does to coins round these here parts...
scratchy eddy.jpg
So I don't think my giving them a wipe in the field is going to do much if anything to add to that :)

Each to their own, of course, and I must confess to the allure of leaving the crud on and revealing all later, but further damaging/rubbing off patination on silver doesn't concern me. It hasn't happened yet though I might well be changing my mind if it ever does ::g
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Re: Cleaning in the field

Post by littleboot » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:58 pm

I like that piccy Fig, Very atmospheric.
Most common or garden hammereds are rather naff value-wise anyway. Of course if you get a valuable one then its a different thing. Saxon coins can be brittle. And so can some of the older ones I dig over here in La Belle Whatsit.... I learned the hard way not to handle them anymore than absolutely necessary.
Of course Milled is a different thing.....condition is everything with silver and gold milled stuff. A few extra scratches and it puts it down a grade and can halve the price quite easily.
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