On this page you can purchase accessories that are useful in the field of numistmatics. Eye loupes allow the finer details to be seen
and can be particularly useful in determining the legends and mints on smaller coins. Additional merchandise is designed specifically for
the manual cleaning of coins. To order any accessories listed please email us.
|10x magnification eye loupe with a 21mm focal length.
Aluminium construction with good optics. Comes housed
in a protective plastic case.
|Dual magnification eye loupe. Aluminium construction with
good optics. Comes housed in a protective plastic case.
Has 20x magnification with 12mm focal length, and 10x
magnification at 18mm focal length.
|30x magnification eye loupe with a 21mm focal length.
Aluminium construction with good optics. Comes housed
in a protective plastic case.
|30x magnification eye loupe with a 21mm focal length and
built in LED. Shines a bright light on the surface of the
coin. Foldaway plastic construction.
|Coin Attribution CD-Rom - £3
If you are interested in attributing many of the coins we sell we highly recommend this CD. On the CD are over 100 references that
are no longer in copyright and as such can be freely compiled and sold on disk. There are many disks like this available on the web
but what we have done is compile all the most relevant and useful publications so that you don't have to trawl through hundreds of
pages of irrelevant data or through articles written in languages that are unfortunately very difficult to translate into English. Some
foreign language articles are included as they may have particularly good plates plus they are in languages such as French or
German that can easily be translated in Google Translate.
Included on the disk (and this is just a short list) are:
1.) All 10 volumes of the Catalogue of Oriental Coins in the British Museum published between 1875 and 1890. The total length is
around 4000 pages of text and 70 plates covering all the major Islamic groups.
2.) Both volumes of the Catalogue of Byzantine Coins in the British Museum that contains 800 pages and 77 plates.
3.) All 5 volumes of Roman Imperial Coinage by Mattingly with 4,000 pages and over 100 plates
4.) The classic Ptolemaic Coinage (in Greek but with plate translation in English) with 75 plates
5.) All 3 volumes of Catalogue of Greek Coins In The Hunterian Collection, consisting of 2,000 pages and 100 plates.
6.) The comprehensive Coins of the Jews by Madden with 350 pages and hundreds of illustrations
As you can see from the list, all the major coin types are featured, and even though we have greatly culled the available references to
a more manageable number there are still thousands of pages and hundreds of plates illustrating thousands of coins.
|Brass Pen Brush & Refills
For some coins it is going to be necessary to use tools that are more aggressive than the brushes. These steel probes are good for
removing the upper layers of thick encrustation that can then be further cleaned with the brass/steel brush. These probes are most
effective when used by gently dragging them towards you. It is possible to get straight probes, but when using the straight type there is
a tendency to apply great pressure away from you to dislodge encrustation. The greatly increases the risk that when something finally
gives the probe is going jump away from you, possibly putting a scratch right across the coin. Gently scraping towards you reduces the
pressure and the potential for damage.
We definitely recommend some kind of magnification when cleaning coins if you decide to use steel tools. A stereo microscope (this is
one with two eye pieces) of any make or model is an excellent choice as long as you can get a magnification of at least as low as 10x.
You don't need a high magnification for coins and we find 7x to 15x is optimal. Basic microscopes are cheap these days and if you are
going to clean a lot of coins they are a must have.
If you have read our guidance on cleaning you will know we recommend wearing a face mask. These face masks offered here are dual
layer surgical face masks. They have elastic ear loops to hold the mask in place and a nasal wire that you can mould around the
contours of your nose to get a tight fit. This is the type of mask we use whenever we dry clean coins. One size fits all.
The steel pen is the most abrasive brush we offer. Not for the inexperienced as it can damage a coins surface if you are not careful. Use
these on tougher encrustation before moving on to the brass and then fibre glass brush. The steel probes we offer below can also be
used to remove tougher encrustation but some people prefer a steel brush. As with all cleaning slow and steady is the best way to go.
Each pen contains about 1.5 inches of usable steel fibres, which is sufficient to do many hours of cleaning.
Steel tools are a moderately aggressive form of cleaning but diamond tools offer yet another degree of hardness and durability. There
is no question that improper use will damage the coin. We recommend you get a worthless coin or cull and practice using these
diamond tools before moving onto your good coins. What you want to do is deliberately apply different pressures and cleaning motions
to see just how they affect the coins surface. If you use a microscope or other magnification when doing this you will really be able to
see any micro damage and will know how to proceed as you gain experience.
The diamond tools we offer are interchangeable so you can move from a wider to narrower tip at will. Just unscrew the vice nut, remove
the old bit, and add the new one. It takes a matter of seconds.
These diamond points are not suitable for detailing work. The nature of there manufacture means fairly coarse microdiamonds are used
and embedded in the surface of the points. We estimate they have a grit size of around 180, which is good for abrading but not
detailing as the diamond surface is not continuous enough. If you look at the points closely you can see there are spaces between the
diamonds which would give unpredictable results on fine detailing work. If you want to shift some tough encrustation though then these
are the tools to use.
|Coin Cleaning Accessories
|The following items are ones we use to clean our coins. Not all coins should be cleaned, but in many instances if a coin isn't cleaned
you are never going to see any of the details. Some people will argue cleaning a coin reduces its value, but as we a referring to only
average quality coins from hoards the effect is actually going to be negligible and can often actually increase the value. For example, if
you have a coin that is so encrusted you cannot see anything it is worthless, but if when you clean it there is a nice bronze Ptolemy
coin underneath then it is going to be worth a whole lot more. You should never clean off the patina on a good quality coin, but with
lower grade coins that have had a lot of wear without some judicious cleaning you are never going to see the details. We recommend
you read around the subject and decide what you are happy with.
For those with an interest, you can read about the processes we use for cleaning coins here.
These tools are something we have had great success with when it comes to cleaning the finest details of coins. The points are
interchangeable stainless steel and brass, and are extremely fine. Being so fine you cannot apply great pressure as they will bend, but
this is good as it forces a lightness of touch that will not damage the coin yet still be effective at cleaning.
At the present time we offer two types of points and the vices:
1.) Straight points.
These come housed in a plastic vial for safe storage and you get 10 in each vial. They are particularly good at getting into the nooks
and crannies of portraits and legends. We have both brass and steel points available in different gauges. The points are all a couple of
cm long but very thin so we include a small magnet in each vial to help keep all the points together. The magnet is also of useful for
picking up or holding the points when putting them in the vice. We have modified some of the points to make their design optimal for the
2.) Drill bits
We offer drill bits as we find that the rotational cleaning you can apply is useful. These too are available in different gauges for finer and
more precise cleaning requirements.
It can also be tricky at times to get the points aligned in the vice as they really are extremely thin. However, all you need to do is wrap a
little bit of paper, tissue, fabric or tape around the base of the point, which makes the base wider and therefore much easier for the vice
to hold. The payoff is worth it as these tools are great for fine detailing.
The vices themselves are double ended and if you take the screw cap off you can turn the jaws around to accommodate thicker or
thinner points. The vices will hold points from <0.3mm to <3.0 mm. They will not however hold the diamond points we sell.
Two other coins, this time Byzantine folles, that were gently prepared with a brass brush are featured below. Each one of these was
cleaned for just 20 seconds. You can see how the coins have cleaned up nicely and that there is only a little polishing to the coins.
Again most light areas are due to camera flash. The brass brush is the one we personally use the most.
This pen contains a fine brass wire bundle that can be used to remove dirt and encrustation from coins. This is typically used after
washing and olive oil treatment to manually remove any material that still remains. As with any coin cleaning you use only a light touch.
The goal isn't to bore a hole in the coin but to just gently abrade away the encrustation. It will not remove thick encrustation, but works
wonders on thinner layers. We recommend cleaning all coins under magnification, then you can really see where the encrustation ends
and the coin begins. With care you can quickly and efficiently remove much of the material obscuring the coin and you will only be
abrading the areas of the coin that actually need it. Provided you use a light tough this brush will not damage the surface of copper and
The images below shows average quality Islamic copper coins after olive oil cleaning that we cleaned in about 20 seconds with the
brass brush. The first three show the progression of the cleaning, the final image shows the contrast between a cleaned and uncleaned
coin surface. The brass brush will give the coin surface a light polish, but this can be kept to a minimum or avoided all together by using
a light touch. If a little more time was spent on the coins they would look even better. Most of the light areas showing on the coin are
due to reflection of light from the microscope light source and not excessive polishing.
This pen is for an even gentler clean than the brass brush. It is designed to remove the lightest encrustation and will cause no damage
at all to the coin surface. One point of note is that as the brush is quite dense and the bristles soft their cleaning is largely confined to
the high relief parts of the coin. What this does is highlight the legends and busts while leaving the interspaces with some encrustation.
This gives a nice contrast between the cleaned and uncleaned areas but it can sometime look a little too polished if you go too far. As
with all cleaning, though, practice and experience will let you know the right tool for any task and how much cleaning a coin actually
needs (if any).
This is important, when using these brushes (in fact when you do any dry cleaning) we highly recommend you wear a face mask
so that you do not inhale the dust. Fibre glass wears down gradually as you use it as an abrasive and will release tiny glass particles
into the air. These should not be inhaled. When we clean coins we have a small desk fan blowing gently across our work surface and
wear a face mask (offered below). It is much better to be safe than sorry (you can read about silicosis on the Internet). Also, when you
have cleaned part of the coin you will find an inclination to rub the coin with your finger so you can see where you have been. Do not
do this as small glass fragments can embed themselves in your fingers. Use a small brush, cloth or wear surgical gloves.
The images below show another coin from the same batch as that illustrated above. This time all the cleaning was done using the
fibreglass brush alone. You can see how the high points really stand out. The second image shows the coin after a few seconds of
cleaning. The high relief is already quite prominent. The final image shows the coin having been deliberately cleaned until the polished
finish is evident and even some interspaces are clean. The final finish you desire is purely a matter of choice, but we would recommend
keeping the polished look to a minimum, especially on better quality and higher value coins (which shouldn't really be cleaned anyway).
With coins of the quality of that shown below and the degree of encrustation it wasn't really necessary to even clean the coin. We just
cleaned it to show the efficacy of the fibreglass brush.
|Double ended vice - £3.00
|Fibreglass Pen Brush & Refills
|Single ended vice
(not shown) - £2.00
These brushes have a cleaning head that is 3cm long and ~1cm wide. They are not
suitable for small coins, but if you have some larger Roman or Greek coins then they are
a handy addition to your arsenal. They are good at quickly removing encrustation and
with 3 different levels of hardness can offer aggressive to gentle cleaning. At the present
time we have these in steel, brass and nylon. The nylon brush is a nice one to compliment
the smaller fibreglass pen brushes as it will not damage the coin and the large cleaning
surface allows for some pretty brisk and rapid encrustation removal. As always, try any
new tool on a poor quality coin first so you can see how it reacts and wear a face mask to
prevent inhalation of the dust.
If you do not wish to purchase a separate brass pen or micropoint we offer brass brushes and points that will fit the diamond vice. The
brushes are rigid, but if you find the bristles splaying out a little too much during use you can simply put a bit of tape around them to
hold them in place. We find these brushes work just as well as the pens, plus they are cheaper.
|Brass brush for
diamond vice - £1 each
We sell the tips and grips separately so you can customise the items you need. The tips illustrated above are typical of what we have
available and may change slightly but basically there is a wide and narrow tip for the abrasive removal of encrusting matrix.
One final time: diamond tips will damage your coins if not used properly and are for initial cleaning stages only, not finishing stages.
The diamond vice is designed for points and bits with an ~3mm diameter, so the smaller micro drill bits and points offered above will not
fit properly and vice versa.
|10 Steel points 0.5mm - £2
10 Brass points 0.7mm - £2
|6 Micro Drill Bits - £2
Two each of 0.4, 0.5 and 0.7mm
|0.3 mm Micro Drill Bit
for diamond vice - £1