CLEANING COINS & ARTEFACTS: Conservation; Restoration; Presentation





You’ve worked hard to recover your finds, the last thing you want to do is to throw them in a box and leave them to corrode to dust, for if you don’t take a few basic precautions that is what is likely to happen.  I know the problem, I searched high and low for simple practical information on cleaning and conserving coins and artefacts and kept being told to take them to a conservator.  That’s great advice if the find is rare, valuable or historically important but most finds are worth little more than scrap value and who is willing to spend tens of pounds to save a pound?  Now you don’t have to!  You can quickly and easily learn simple, low-cost techniques to turn your sow’s ear finds into silk purses – stable and great-looking finds you can proudly display and so much more…

  • My financial advisor is one smart cookie, he buys uncleaned Roman coins for £1 each and using some of the simple treatments in Cleaning Coins and Artefacts, spruces them up and sells them for 10 times that amount.
  • I shouldn’t tell you this but I get great bargains on Ebay by bidding on items with lousy pictures.  Close-up photography of small objects is the most difficult to master…unless you have Cleaning Coins & Artefacts to guide you every step of the way.  As well as raising a good price if you do sell your finds, you can profit while keeping your finds by selling the photographs to magazines as part of an article, for example.
  • Another way of keeping your finds and sharing them or selling them is to make replicas.  Replica parts can also be made to replace missing pieces of finds.  There are several replicators, including at least one detectorist, who make good money replicating finds and selling them to museums and collectors.  I paid more than the price of Cleaning Coins & Artefacts, several years ago, just to get this valuable information on replication.  I tested it out and couldn’t believe how easy it is.  Now you can reap the benefit.
  • I’ve seen very experienced detectorists get in a real muddle over displaying finds vertically as until now, no one has been able or prepared to suggest a suitable adhesive or simple alternative method.  One dyed-in-the-wool detectorist, in frustration, suggested using an aquarium sealer as it didn’t harm fish.  I admire the logic but unfortunately, it is flawed for not even goldfish are made of metal.  When you read Cleaning Coins & Artefacts you won’t believe how simple it is to make great low-cost vertical displays for your own pleasure or as a gift that really keeps landowners happy.

Corrosion waits for no one, so don’t delay, get your copy of Cleaning Coins & Artefacts today.  The book your finds would want you to have and some great opportunities for profit too.


  • Introduction
  • In The Field
  • Map Reading
  • Safe Storage
  • Identification & Assessment
  • Introduction to Cleaning Finds
  • Mechanical Cleaning
  • Electrolysis
  • Chemical Cleaning & Conservation
  • Repair, Restoration & Replication
  • Photographing Your Finds
  • Storage & Display
  • The Treasure Act
  • Bibliography and Suppliers

“This new Greenlight Publishing book titled Cleaning Coins & Artefacts by David Villanueva (the celebrated author of many detecting related titles) really is yet another “must have” literary mine of information. In fact, one might say the title is a little bit of a misnomer as in truth the book is stuffed full of not just this, but also many closely associated topics as well.

As most detectorists realise, we are only the custodians of our finds for a relatively short time. This book ensures that once having found these historical coins and artefacts every reader will be made aware of the precise varieties of cleaning and conservation that are available to them. Some people argue that such conservation methods should only ever be undertaken by qualified experts. Well, reading this book could make you into that qualified expert!

One thing I particularly liked was the section on display – covering a wide variety of options and styles. This can be a much-neglected section of our hobby. If you are intent on keeping your finds, care and display are both vital and the latter also has many educational advantages.

There are still some detectorists out there who go out, recover items and then store in an un-cleaned condition in plastic bags scattered all over the house. In my book these finds are only marginally better off than if they had never been recovered.

This book is so useful, that I don’t think that I have ever met a fellow detectorist who knows so much about cleaning, restoration and conservation procedures. Many people know about rubbing a silver coin in tin foil etc, but this book educates us all to some degree and serves to destroy some of the myths.

Its clear precise layout and information will hopefully avoid things like part truths such as “wrap a discoloured denarius in tin foil and leave by a heat source such as an open fire grate until glowing” a friend once did this resulting in the denarius exploding; sadly bits of a smoking coin of Vitellius adorned the living room floor.

The trouble is there are often many half-truths to certain cleaning rumours; however Cleaning Coin & Artefacts eliminates all the potential damage to finds through dealing only in established successful methods.

This book is very well illustrated with plenty of full-colour images, particularly useful are the “Before and After” photographs, allowing the possible and potential results to be seen. It is packed full of good tried and tested procedures, highlighting pitfalls, possible variations in results and the “should never do”.

In essence, this publication will be a leader in the responsibilities of preserving for tomorrow the history of yesterday that is unearthed today.

It may be a small format book but along with all the identification guides etc, it will rank as one of the biggest and most important detecting publications on your bookshelf.

The reader will find sections on Probe Usage, GPS Recording, Map Reading, Safe Storage in the Field, Mechanical Cleaning, Corrosion of Metals, Ultrasonic Cleaners, Barrelling Machines, Electrolysis, Chemical Cleaning, Photography, Display, Replication and so much more.

The section on Replication is little short of brilliant in its own right. How to make and where to get copies made is fully covered, and how to make cast copies of your finds is fascinating and expertly described.

It really only has one remaining category in relation to being bought by a detectorist or for one and that’s “essential’.

Credit to all involved in bringing this book to the detecting world, I’m sure it will be recommended world-wide.” Julian Evan-Hart in Treasure Hunting ( January 2009. Reproduced with kind permission.


Soft cover, 210mm x 146mm, 110 pages, (Greenlight Publishing, 2008)

ISBN 978 1 897738 337 – £12.95 GB Pounds


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