Simple trick to help IDing grotty copper coins

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figgis
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We all get our fair share of knackered coppers which are hard to ID and we need to tease out as much detail as we can. You can take a light abrasive such as wire wool to them to highlight any remaining detail, though this will alter the coin dramatically, but there is a very good and non-invasive method which does no damage whatsoever. All you need is a pencil.

Simply go over the surface of the coin with the pencil and rub it in with your finger. It gives the coin a shiny surface and if you angle it to the light the slightest detail will stand out really well.

Pencils come in various degrees of hardness and a softer lead seems to work better, so I'd suggest HB or softer.

The beauty of this method is that no damage is done and you can remove the lead coating easily if you want to return the coin to its original look :thumbsup:
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Bors
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figgis wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:16 pm We all get our fair share of knackered coppers which are hard to ID and we need to tease out as much detail as we can. You can take a light abrasive such as wire wool to them to highlight any remaining detail, though this will alter the coin dramatically, but there is a very good and non-invasive method which does no damage whatsoever. All you need is a pencil.

Simply go over the surface of the coin with the pencil and rub it in with your finger. It gives the coin a shiny surface and if you angle it to the light the slightest detail will stand out really well.

Pencils come in various degrees of hardness and a softer lead seems to work better, so I'd suggest HB or softer.

The beauty of this method is that no damage is done and you can remove the lead coating easily if you want to return the coin to its original look :thumbsup:
That be grotty, I take it ? :lol:
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Oxgirl
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Good tip Figgis! I’ll try that on a couple of coins I have that I’d like to just ID by monarch if nothing else!
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Easylife
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If the grotty coppers are pretty much blank then is it really worth going to the trouble? Okay, I did when I started out but don't bother at all now if there ain't much of a decent hint to start with. But it is quite surprising what detail you can glean from an otherwise seemingly blank coin. :D
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Easylife
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Oxgirl wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:07 pm Good tip Figgis! I’ll try that on a couple of coins I have that I’d like to just ID by monarch if nothing else!
So we'll know you by your black fingers? :D
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Easylife wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:55 am So we'll know you by your black fingers? :D
Lol I’d quite enjoy the novelty if they did go black. Sadly pencil lead doesn’t stain but anyone having a try best not do any crimes straight after cause they’d leave a lovely fingerprint :lol:
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figgis
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Easylife wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:53 am If the grotty coppers are pretty much blank then is it really worth going to the trouble?
Depends on the type of copper coin and the needs of the finder, I suppose. I've used this method on very worn post-medieval coppers I was curious about and once discovered a very faint second portrait, turning a William into a William & Mary :thumbsup:

But where the method really comes into its own is with Roman coins where the slightest previously unseen detail can deliver a definitive ID.
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Useful info, John.
Will find my stash of Georgian Halfpennies and see if i can reveal any dates.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
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Roughwood
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Top tip!
Thanks John.
:thumbsup:
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