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NGC Ancient Grading Question

I have seen any number of ancient coins in NGC holders with the notation "brushed" but never any with the notation "cleaned". US coins with NGC details grades may note "cleaned" but I have never seen one with the notation "brushed".

The NGC Details Descriptions Glossary included the following descriptions:

BRUSHED - A coin that has been wiped with an abrasive materials.

CLEANED - A coin exhibiting abrasive or chemical cleaning.

Does anyone know why "brushed" is the favored term for NGC ancients?


  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,959 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Because every single ancient coin has been "cleaned", so using the word "cleaned" in the description would be redundant, and not very helpful.

    There's no such thing as an ancient coin that has been kicking around in coin collections for 2000 years. Not even the Vatican's coin collection is older than AD 1300. Neither have ancient coins simply "remained in circulation" anywhere since the time of their issue.

    That means that every single ancient coin in collections, museums and dealer shops today was lost in ancient times, buried in the soil or sand, sat there in the dirt for 2000 years or so, then dug up again. Copper coins come up out of the ground looking like little green rocks, and need a skilful hand, not entirely unlike the skill of someone who extracts fossils from rocks, to remove the encrustation and turn them back into something resembling a coin. Silver coins are often crusty as well and will also likely need treatment of some kind. Even gold will need at least a wash and brush-off of adhered dirt.

    All of these cleaning methods would disqualify a modern coin from being graded, but all are acceptable on ancient coins.

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

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