Greek Tetras of Sicily

About the coin

NOTE: Mistakes were made in the cleaning of this coin. From an educational perspective, I would recommend not using the pin tool as much as I did for the mechanical cleaning. Longer distilled water soaks + bamboo skewers should have been included prior to the diamond pin tool. The Diamond Pin tool has its use cases on this clean, but it should not have been the sole tool.

Luckily, the result was good and the damage was very limited, but I would not recommend replicating this process.


This is an image of the coin before I purchased it.

I purchased this Ancient Greek Coin from Auction for 15$ in February 2023.

Sicily, Gela, c. 420-405 BC. Æ Tetras (18mm, 5.87g, 9h). Bull standing l.; three pellets in exergue. R/ Head of horned river god r., wearing tainia. CNS III, 14; HGC 2, 379. Good Fine / near VF

As the Auction description suggests, the coin is Bronze and minted between 420-405 BC on the island city of Gela, Sicily.

When I got the coin, and looked at it under magnification I saw that it had potential to be cleaned properly and bring out more details than previously visible.

Before Cleaning Photos

Before Cleaning, First Image under Microscope.
Reverse of the coin before cleaning.

The cleaning process

I recorded the whole process in this video

I recorded the process of cleaning the coin via my stereoscope camera. I uploaded a 15x speed version of the process to YouTube.

The Tools

Some of the tools I use are a:

  • Nylon Brush
  • Curved blade scalpel
  • Diamond dusted pin mult-tool
  • Diamond dusted pick

As for this clean, I almost exclusively used the Pin tool.

A stereo microscope is a must for cleaning an ancient coin. Without it you are almost certainly scratching and damaging more than what is necessary.

The Results

Below is the images after cleaning. To watch the process of cleaning, checkout the YouTube video linked above.

Obverse After Cleaning.
Reverse After Cleaning.

Here are some comparison views of Before and After of the Obverse.

Comparison of the Reverse

Thanks for reading! If you have any comments or questions leave them below.


One response to “Greek Tetras of Sicily”

  1. Fantastic work! Really enjoyed the video as well as your articles and looking forward to more blog posts – definitely recommending this site to my website readers 😀

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