This information was received by email but I cannot find my original source.  Essentially, an organization is offering free ancient coins for classroom use.  I am reprinting the rest of the information as received.  Augur Editor

                ACE  BASIC INSTRUCTIONS    2002

Upon receiving a request from or a nomination for a specific teacher / school,  whose students  would like to take part in the ACE Project, the teacher is sent and completes an application form so we at ACE have some basic information about the school and its facilities, the ages of the students to participate, etc, etc    Then  the next steps are, providing, of course, that the criteria are met and we have the donations to fill the application

The Coins & a CD or a Book, which are sent FREE to the participating schools

The teacher  has returned the application form.

ACE sends by UPS or USPS the following

a) 45-50 Uncleaned Ancient Roman Coins, sometimes, by agreement, more for a large class..

b) 2 or 3 cleaned and Identified Roman coins as a visual sample

c) Various Lesson Planning aid documents

d)  A book or CD  about ancient Roman coins


We estimate 45 uncleaned coins as needed for a class of about 25 students - each student gets a coin - we suggest that these are picked by them, sight unseen, as some coins are in much better condition than others ( this, of course, is normal in uncleaned coins).

The cleaning and identifying

The students then follow the basic cleaning instructions -

What each student needs for this cleaning process is :

1 cleaned small glass jar with screw top, i.e. baby food size or smaller, or cleaned RX container.

1 cleaned old toothbrush or denture brush

Wooden toothpicks and/or bamboo wooden skewers, and Q tips

Distilled Water,  which can be purchased for around 70c a gallon and which can be shared amongst the students.


Distilled Water Cleaning is our recommended Cleaning Method  - it is both Safe and Cheap.

The theory is that distilled water will, because it is hungry for minerals, remove the ion particles attached to the coin,  which in turn loosens the dirt. (Some people have noted that when using olive oil, that some encrusted coins become more difficult to clean and even turn a darker color.)

First step is to clean the coins using a toothbrush, water and soap or Dawn-type dishwashing liquid. The Soap must be well removed as any remaining on your coin will reduce the effectiveness of the distilled water soakings which come next, and can cause a white film to develop on your coin while soaking.     Sometimes this first step alone can reveal enough detail to attribute a coin, which is when they say you should stop cleaning.

Next comes the distilled water soak. Ensure that you don't have too many coins in the container (plastic or glass-  a good clean baby food jar or prescription bottle does the trick ) as it is easy to dilute the power of the water by having too many coins throwing off ions. Next, you need to change the water frequently if not daily. If the water becomes cloudy or discolored, with bits of dirt in it, then it is overdue for a distilled water change.

Every couple of days, remove the coins and give them another toothbrush scrubbing.

 Some people prefer using denture brushes, as they are harder and remove more than normal brushes. It is important to make sure that you rinse the coin thoroughly. This is where a fine mesh strainer comes in handy!  Then, the coins go back in the little containers with fresh distilled water.

Silver or silvered coins, (if you have received any !!!) should soak by themselves in individual containers. Apparently they don't get along with the other coins. Monitor them closely!

Further cleaning instructions available at the ACE Web site

At some point during the brushing and soaking cycles, some features should start to appear on the coin.    Students who have picked coins, which appear featureless are then allowed to pick another coin. Those who have picked what appears will be a good coin, stick with their one good coin.    Not every coin will turn out to be identifiable.

 Then with the aid of the CD or book, and the various links in the Bookmarks section at the ACE sites:   and

the  students should start trying to identify the emperor on the coin, fill out their Coin Information sheets (sent with the coins) , etc. They should be positively encouraged post questions to the above site for members to answer and help them.   The first student in each school who correctly identifies his or her coin, as confirmed when posted to the ACE site, will receive a special ACE Certificate.

 In some cases, in arrangement with the teachers, a local ACE Donor or Member visits the school to talk about the coins.   This can be used as an occasion for publicity in the local press.

The Contests held this past season,( which will probably change somewhat  in the Fall season)

There were 2 contests: -

The initial Level of these contests were within the class/school  :

 1st was for the best cleaned and identified coin, combined with a test sent by ACE (with Right/Wrong answers, not subjective – and the teacher gets the answers)  This test was given to do over a weekend since some research was required for the students to answer all the questions.

 2nd was a Report/Essay, which would take as its subject

 either the student's coin, the emperor concerned, that period in history etc.,

  or should highlight some aspect/s of life in Roman times - - this choice we felt enabled research and creativity at different ages.

We compiled some images at the ACE site, as well as detailed instructions, which  helped teachers to select the best cleaned and ID'd coins within their classes/school for the 1st contest at the initial “Within the school” level.    For those schools with active donors or friends of donors or University connections  The two winners at each school for the first round received small prizes nearby, the teacher can get help from those local sources   The Test part of the 1st contest   counts for 50% of the judging marks, and the coins 50%.

Regarding the 2nd competition, the Report/Essay, we asked that these Essays be computer written, and saved in PC format such as Word or Wordpad files, showing the name, age of the student, as well as the special Reference No for  each school allocated by ACE for the  contest since the winners from each school would be going on  to submit their essays for the second level, Final inter school/ state contests

Then the winners of the 2 contests at each school submitted their entries into the overall Finals;  these Final entries,  which were posted at the Web site, were judged by  Donor Members, and Prizes were  awarded  to the winners of the overall Inter School/State Final contests, -   there were 5 categories and a couple of runner up prizes..      Remember that the students also get to keep their coins.  The Deadline for the receipt by us of entries into the overall Final contests was Wednesday, May 15th 2002 , and we received the results from the Judges the following week, and thus  were  able to send out the prizes promptly to the winners before the end of May.

The winners are shown at our Web Site