Guest Post: Crud Covered Discs

17th Century Trade TokenMany of us detectorists experience what we call ‘crud covered discs’ from time to time, mostly from Roman sites. It may be time consuming, but it is well worth checking these discs because you never know what that coating could be hiding.

I recall in my innocent years, selling all my so-called ‘grots’ to a dealer. Then one day, I was just washing them to make them more saleable when I dropped one. The flaky green covering partly came off, revealing a lovely Julia Domna denarius. My first thought was how many such treasures I had sold on unwittingly. From that moment I have always carefully examined every single ‘crud covered disc’.

A friend and fellow detectorist had a small disc with a very green crust in his grot box that upon closer inspection turned out to be a rare Saxon Sceat, worth over £700. Silver was rarely if ever pure when ancient coins were struck. In many cases it is the impurities such as copper, that leak out as crusty corrosion deposits often hiding the true nature of a coin.

Of course not all discs or coins are silver. Crud-covered copper or bronze discs are far more common as many detectorists well know. That said, it is always worth checking what you find by holding it up to a good light source – even the faintest remaining details can lead to the discovery of something special.

Jettons, card counter tokens and also very rare, sometimes unique 17th Century trade tokens have all been unearthed in this way and are of great value. Roman sites are renowned for yielding vast quantities of ‘crud-covered coins’; but again, do not dismiss anything. The late 3rd and 4th Centuries produced several rare Emperors issues that could easily slip by unnoticed.

The photograph here shows what is quite a scare 17th Century trade token, relating to the Old Bailey area of London. When first found, this appeared to be nothing more than a horrible looking little disc covered in a thick crust. Meticulous examination and cleaning exposed its true nature.

The lesson is then, whatever state your findings are in, take some time to really care for them and who knows what secrets will be revealed.

by Julian Evan-Hart

About Julian Evan-Hart
Julian is from Hertfordshire, England and has always been interested in fossils and antiquities. Julian has written a number of books on metal detecting, and is an avid user of Minelab products.

2 Responses to Guest Post: Crud Covered Discs

  1. moxeyns says:

    How do you clean grots, with home equipment?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: