About Ancient Coins



Where does Scylla & Stone get their ancient coins?

Obviously being here near Seattle, I am not going to find any ancient Roman coins in my backyard. All of my coins come from verified dealers and historical estate sales. However, because I want a "treasure hunting" experience, I do purchase all my coins uncleaned and unidentified.

Most of the coins are found by European farmers when they till their soil. Why? Because banks didn't exist back in ancient times! So, ancient people would bury their money before going off to battle, for safe storage, etc. And, many of those people did not come BACK for their cash caches... (or they just forgot where they were buried, who knows!).

What is an "uncleaned" coin?

Imagine a dusty, flat rock; That's what my coins look like when I get them. Oftentimes, there are NO identifiable features at all, and unless you knew they were coming from a coin cache, you might think someone is legit trying to sell you a small river rock. 

How do I clean them?

This is a LENGTHY process of soaking, scraping, and brushing. It takes MONTHS to safely get off 2000ish years of dirt and grime! The trick is to preserve a coin's patina.

A patina is the natural, colorful coating that develops on metal over time. For example, the Statue of Liberty used to be copper-colored; The green is a patina! Depending on what the coin is made out of and where/how it was buried, the patina can be green, blue, black, or brown.

Sometimes the patina is unsalvageable/overgrown, and sometimes the coin suffers from something called "bronze disease" which is a corrosive chemical reaction requiring the removal of the patina. 

Once my coins are cleaned, I polish them with Renaissance Wax and move forward with identifying them!

How do I identify them?

For coins that end up having identifiable features, I painstakingly run the information in a numismatics database. It's helpful to know some Latin and motifs of various figures! 

What happens if a coin isn't identifiable?

It's still cool and I will still use it in my pieces! 

Why is there a difference in price/coin setting?

Just like gems, coins come in different grades and rarities. For low grade and/or common coins, I set them in a way that makes them more accessible to you, the buyer! For rare/good grade coins, the cleaning and restoration time takes much longer, and I try very hard to not damage the coin in any way, including in the setting. I also base prices on how much an identified coin is selling for by itself on other platforms. 

Do you sell just the coins?

No, I am not a coin dealer. These coins become part of my art!