Emperor Claudius Bronze Dupondius

NOTE: This is also a story of going too far in the pursuit of removing deposits. Trying too remove encrusted deposits, I inadvertently and ignorantly tooled the legends/portrait and smoothed the fields. Many experts and professionals would consider this going too far and damaging the numismatic value of the coin.

This is not an uncommon issue amongst cleaners. However, my mistakes can be learned from to avoid tooling in the future.

I am leaving this blog up as a lesson to others who are interested in learning about the cleaning process, what it means to go to far.

I purchased this Bronze Claudius Dupondius from an uncleaned bronze coin dealer in 2022 and saw it a good candidate for cleaning.

Dupondius as a denomination usually were Copper and depreciated the emperor with a radiate crown, but earlier imperial Dupondius, such as this example under Claudius (45 AD~) were struck using Bronze and saw no such crown on the Emperors head.

I have identified it as RIC I (Second Edition) 95


A nicer example from American Numismatic Society

Before and After

First few months water soaks, bushing and light tooling

Between post soak image, and next before image I spent a lot of time working with a diamond dusted pin clearing out deposits. The last challenge remaining was the thick deposits in the fields of the legend which reads TI CLAVDIVS CAES/AR[off flan]

Before and After

Removing deposits from fields

Almost done


Before and After comparison

This is also a case study in learning. Nobody learns to clean correctly without first destroying a few. As you might have noticed, I have accidentally tooled the coin in the wake of cleaning.

The definition of tooling in this case is smoothing surfaces, and sharpening details that may or may not have existed before. It also means removing corroded metals that were originally part of the coin. By doing these things in the pursuit of removing deposits, I have tooled the coin.

I will leave this up on the blog only to shown an example of going too far with a cleaning look like.


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