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How Long Too Soak In Olive Oil?

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Pillar of the Community
United States
767 Posts
 Posted 12/26/2014  8:11 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add scottk to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've never done this before. I got 10 uncleaned Roman coins in the mail today. I read that some people here only use distilled water, and others use olive oil. It seemed appropriate to begin with olive oil since the coins from an Italian city .

I've had them soaking in a little glass with about a centimeter of olive oil in it for 5-6 hours now. Should I wait til tomorrow to try toothbrushing them? Several days? Weeks?

Also, how bad would it be to use tap water on them instead of distilled water?
Edited by scottk
12/26/2014 8:20 pm
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22904 Posts
 Posted 12/26/2014  8:23 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It all depends on the about of dirt on them, If not too much a few days or so. If a lot than it may be months. I'm one of those that prefer to use olive oil over distilled water. Overall I say the the olive oil is faster than the distilled water. The only draw back if you want to call it that is that in olive oil the coins tend to darken a bit. Over the years I experimented with different grades of oil. The best is the high grade extra virgin type.
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 Posted 12/26/2014  8:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Medieval to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you use tab water to wash the olive oil off, just be sure that they are totally dry afterwards.
For soaking tab water is useless because it contains minerals.

Otherwise your question "how long to soak" is like asking "how long is a piece of string".
It really depends how quickly some of the dirt/encrustation dissolves and what result you want in the end.

Btw, don't use (extra) virgin olive oil - not enough acidity (non virgin olive oil has an acidity level around 1%).
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 Posted 12/26/2014  8:43 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have to disagree about the extra virgin olive oil, I've had the best results with it, or maybe I was just lucky.
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 Posted 12/26/2014  8:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Medieval to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Best you experience with various types of olive oil 'scottk', Australian extra virgin olive oil has usually a very low level of acidity it might be different with the olive oils on the market in the USA. Btw as a side note on cooking/food quality, Australian olive oils are highly valued in Italy.
Edited by Medieval
12/26/2014 8:49 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
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 Posted 12/26/2014  10:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kanga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Using olive oil is a VERY slow process.
You're likely talking months.
Describe it as if there were no picture.
Picture it as if there were no description.
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 12/26/2014  10:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scottk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well this is them...

I guess I'll just leave them in the oil, take them out every once in a while, wash them off, toothbrush them, then return them to the oil, and repeat the process until they're all clean.





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 Posted 12/26/2014  11:14 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Let them sit for a week or so and than pick at them with a tooth pick and see if any of the dirt pops off. Brush them off with a sot brush and put them back in the oil, no need to wash them until your done with the oil.
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 12/26/2014  11:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scottk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, so I don't have to change the oil like a deep fryer. That's good..

Hhahaa...
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 Posted 12/26/2014  11:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Medieval to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I don't have to change the oil


If it has absorbed a lot of dirt you have to, but that might take some time.
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United States
767 Posts
 Posted 12/26/2014  11:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scottk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Right. I took them out just a few minutes ago, washed them off, toothbrushed them a little bit, and then dried them. On a few of them, I noticed some flecs of stuff coming off on my fingers. I guess that was good to get the loose dirt and crud off of them and expose the harder stuff. Now they're back in the oil, where they'll sit for a week or so like echizento recommended. I mainly just washed them off and dried them to get a better look at them, and to keep from getting olive oil all over everything I was touching.

Two if them I noticed looked quite nice. I could easily read "CONSTANTIN.." (last two letters covered) across the top of one. Another two or three looked pretty burned up. One looked almost like just the thin plating off of one side of a coin with alot of corrosion and verdigris surrounding it.
Edited by scottk
12/26/2014 11:43 pm
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 Posted 12/27/2014  4:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chuy1530 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yeah no matter what you soak them in you should brush them off first so that you get the easy to remove dirt off. You could take a couple out of the oil, clean them, and stick them in distilled water so you can compare the methods. I prefer water because the oil does darken them a bit, but I've used oil as well.
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 Posted 12/28/2014  9:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chrsmat71 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
those coins have quite a bit of loose dirt on them. I would have given them a distilled water wash and clean first to get rid of that loose stuff, but it doesn't matter, you can't really go wrong with soaking them either way...I've done and do both. I usually break out the olive oil for the long term soaks (months) with really stuburn stuff.
Pillar of the Community
United States
767 Posts
 Posted 12/31/2014  12:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scottk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This was so much fun I ordered 3 more "large sized" 24-31mm uncleaned coins just now.


http://www.ebay.com/itm/16117617135...199308106006
Edited by scottk
12/31/2014 12:19 pm
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
3626 Posts
 Posted 12/31/2014  12:32 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pishpash to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There is no point in putting them in distilled water after you have had them in oil. You would need to remove the oil first, using something like acetone. Putting them in oil after initial soaking in DW is fine. I would always start with DW first. I try and avoid oil because it is too gunky.
Valued Member
Canada
242 Posts
 Posted 12/31/2014  1:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add markbaer to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
pishpash - I've realized that I've made this mistake!
I have 2 decent-sized 'batches' of coins, both in distilled water. One of them was first in oil (for about 6-9 months). By touch, I can tell that batch that was first is oil is still coated fairly well... I've tried heating them with hot water, and using soap to try to remove the oil layer, without much luck.
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