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This paper describes a simple and cheap solution specifically designed for monitoring the degradation of thin coatings employed for metal protection. The proposed solution employs a commercial photo camera and a frequency-domain-based approach that is capable of highlighting the surface uniformity changes due to initial corrosion. Even though the proposed solution is specifically designed to monitor the long-time performance of protective coatings employed for the restoration of silver artifacts, it can be successfully used also for assessing the conservation state of other ancient metallic works of art. The proposed solution is made tolerant to exposure changes by using a procedure for sensor nonlinearity identification and correction, does not require a precise lighting control, and employs only free open-source software, so that its overall cost is very low and can be used also by not specifically trained operators.