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Foray into uncleaned


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My order from dirtyoldcoins arrived remarkably quickly!  It was less than a week.  They did goof on one thing, I ordered 2 nylon brushes, not one.  That's fairly small.

My hands are too wet to attempt to safely photograph the coins, I just looked at them through the baggies.

I ordered 2 'large' imperial AE's (Sestertii)?

4 'high quality' middle eastern LRBs. one's a Gallienus, another seems to be a Jupiter reduced follis (probably Licinius). I'd rate them as partially uncleaned.  The fields are full of sand/clay.

2 European medieval

1 Umayyad Dihrem (not uncleaned)

2 Byzantine (bloody heck, they're trachea). I guess it's my fault for not requesting flat coins.

Since I'm incompetent at cleaning and the middle eastern ones don't need cleaning really, I think I'll just keep them as-is, as illustrations of what coins look like in the pre-cleaning stage.

One of the European medieval AE's has a large "BX" on the reverse (about the size of a Constans II era follis) and is clipped into . I wonder what that can be?

I took another look at the 'large' imperial AE.  I don't know, maybe it isn't a sestertius.  They're thicker than Asses or Dupondii, though.  Perhaps some kind of larger provincial issue? They're a teensy bit smaller than Severan Sestertii (I held it up to a Caracalla Sestertius) but round and less thick. I never got around to investing in a coin scale so I'd guesstimate the weight to be 15-20 g each.  They're almost exactly the size of a Byzantine reduced standard Class A2 follis, only thicker. The tag says the A2 is 31 mm.  I can't make out any detail through the baggie.

I'm intrigued by the large AE. The LRBs are nice for the $12.50 price, but LRBs don't do much for me. The surprise favorites are the European medievals.  I thought I'd just get some decrepit deniers.

My 2004 foray into Balkan 4th century LRBs was a disaster, they looked like floor sweepings both before and after (olive oil method) and I didn't really do anything to the few higher quality uncleaneds I once ordered from Dr. Fishman.

I learned not to do the olive oil method.  I was following 'best practices' at the time.

Most of the coins are better than expected.  Perhaps I shouldn't even bring up a trifling $2.50 brush.

I'm not comfortable about opening the baggies until later tonight, even wearing cotton gloves. I had just gotten my hands wet before checking the mail.



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The trachea seem obscured by dirt but are smaller than Alexius III era trachea. One's slightly smaller than Alexius III and the other smaller yet, but not tiny. I'm guessing Latin era or Bulgarian imitatives.  The slightly smaller of the two is an oblong shape.

What's a decent but not hideously expensive coin scale?  I never invested in one because the great majority of my coins are already weighed by the dealer.

There's quite a bit of heft to the 2 large imperial AEs.  They could very well be large module 1st century Asses/Dupondii, but my gut feeling is that they have a different feel.  Roman republican era?


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I went back to get some more big uncleaneds and they're sold out!  D'oh!

Oh well, I guess they'll have to do.  Keeping them uncleaned will probably be more interesting.  There are plenty of decrepit classic Roman imperials around but how often do you see uncleaneds? Cleaning would probably reveal a Fair to good example.

Ditto for everything else.  The others are of varying quality, from bold to completely obscured. The 'high quality holy land' LRB's are identifiable bold fines to VF.

Would someone mind looking at https://dirtyoldcoins.com/? 

What is the thick, squarish coin with rounded edges in the forefront of the uncleaned holyland photo?  The heck with the rest of them, THAT looks interesting!

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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I took a look at the large AE.  I'm fairly sure one is a Gordian III (the shape of the head) and the other is in worse shape, but I get the vibe of Antoninus Pius or Commodus.  The 'Gordian' has latin legends (one letter is a B on the reverse) and I can't tell anything about the other.  They're in Fair to Good condition currently.  I'm no expert, but I'd warrant a guess that cleaning them would make them look worse.  I have the vibe of c. 30 mm provincials.

Both European are Spanish, probably 17th century.

The high quality middle eastern ones are a mix of AE3 sizes; one seems to be a Crispus, one's a Licinius left, two are post reform radiates (at least, they have radiate crowns), although I think some reduced folles have these.  The other is a smallish Gallienus.  All have a uniform orangish sand/clay reminscent of Zurquieh, with the exposed part being black-ish/dark.  I wonder if he's the supplier of the 'high grade' ones?  All of those are identifiable, if I had taken a closer look.  I didn't want to handle the coins too long.  Those are half-cleaned, with the busts, designs and letters being exposed.  Aren't the Samosata/Antioch Gallienus AE ants of a larger module?  This is a smallish one. DId the western ones even make it to Syria?

All other coins look like they came out of the ground.  The trachea are covered; no guesses on those.


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I took some pictures. You know me and coin photography.  Each foray into it makes me want to give up.  I took multiple shots, pro mode, ISO 125, on my Note 20Ultra.  Here are the least terrible results.

'high quality holyland' uncleaned.  They look better in person




large uncleaned.

I think the one on the left is a Gordian III, Viminacium Sestertius.  No idea on the right one.  The right one is decrepit enough where the reverse is placed randomly.  No idea what's up or down on the reverse.




Gordian Rx situated at a proper angle:


Umuyyad Dihram (not uncleaned). Can anyone id this from the cruddy picture?


I think the right image, the one with less squiggles, is the obverse.

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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I have so few of them, I didn't realize that post-reform radiates were so small. I thought they were bigger than an AE3?

The Constantine II, Caesar AE3 has an upside down reverse in the pic, but it looks like S gamma in the exergue. Is that Rome mint?

Do you think the gallienus says [SALV]SAVGG?  Perhaps minted right before the Valerian disaster?

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My second, and probably final (I have enough uncleaned now) order arrived.  I'd recommend their 9 buck Roman provincials, although they're not uncleaned (but I could tell that from the picture).  One was kind of a dud because of the beginnings of bronze disease (maybe 30 mm and c . 15-20 g) seems to have a temple or an arch (looks more like the latter, the obverse is too decrepit to make out), but the other I'm guessing is a Philip Zeugma and a halfway decent Augustus or Tiberius? smallish (provincial as?) Antioch SC issue.

My photographs aren't up to snuff, or else I'd post the 'arch' one for ID. 

Although also not really uncleaned, the 3 buck Holy land ones had some enigmatic coins.  Did any ancient/medieval coins have the Star of David?  I'd class these are more like pick bin coins, as are all the non-uncleaneds mentioned, although they're listed as uncleaned.

The large AE this time was a Sestertius of Severus Alexander.  Uncleaned?  Not really, but it was only $12.50.  It's not too bad for a 13 buck sestertius. No bronze disease.  Identifiable and maybe a conservative VG+.

The only uncleaned ones were a couple of somewhat larger module Ants and the medieval European.  Not sure what the European are this time.  They're not 17th c. Spanish, like the last time. I'd say something around the 12th or 13th c.

Perhaps only 15% of this order were actually truly uncleaned but I'd say that each category was worth the asking price.

I think I can say mission accomplished and perhaps end (or at least slow down) my foray into uncleaned. The actually uncleaned ones make a good conversation pieces/learning tools.  If I attempt to clean the two from the previous order (even if I didn't botch it) I'd end up with a couple of decrepit coins.  They're much more interesting in an uncleaned state.

After I study some how-to videos, I might actually attempt to conservatively clean the two trachea from the previous order. They're covered in dirt, but it doesn't look rock-hard.

Of all the uncleaned stuff ordered I'd recommend the 7 buck provincials and the medieval European.   By the way, 2 of the 3 provincials were pretty large.  None were teeny.

Depending on teh category (small sample size, only two orders) it seems somewhat random if you'll get an actual uncleaned or a pick bin type coin.  I received uncleaned in both medieval European orders.

I think the only main categories which I didn't sample were the uncleaned Balkans (I'm pretty sure I ordered a couple of Spanish, I'll have to look through the bags) and uncleaned French (LRB's).  The Byzantines (non-scyphate) I received this time certainly weren't bad for the price (4 bucks), but they weren't uncleaned this time.  There was a Justinian 16 nummi and I forget what the other one is.  Pretty sure I ordered Spanish lrbs. I think those were actually uncleaned.

I would consider all of the 3 buck 'uncleaned' holy land ones I ordered to be pick bin coins and not uncleaned per se, but there were many varied and kind of interesting types, most being AE3 size with one or two slightly larger ones.  Most weren't LRBs.  I don't know what some of them were. Maybe a Zangid? I have no clue what the small (maybe size of an AE 3 and thin) star of David one is.

All in all, interesting and fun if one likes attributing stuff.



Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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