The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 49, November 26, 2017, Article 16


Dick Johnson submitted this entry from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. Thanks! -Editor

Dick writes:

Last week we listed the shortest entries in my Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology. This week we have the longest.

Engraving. Preparing a surface with incised lines or cavities – by hand, machine or computer – to create a design in metal, often to prepare a die for reproducing that design in struck objects. A three-dimensional image is required for every coin and medal, thus engraving in some form is the only method (except chemical etching) of creating that image and has been employed for every coin and medal ever created for all time! The first coin 640 BC was struck with a hand engraved die and engraving is still used today for the millions of coins and medals produced worldwide every day. Engraving creates the image we see, the lettering we read, the design we view, the entire surface reproduced by any item produced by die striking.
CLASS 04.1 16 pages, 6,300 words

Coins and Coining. The objects used in trade, buying and selling, plus the process of producing struck pieces in a press with dies imparting a design on both of two sides. Coins, made since 640 B.C., touch the daily life of every person on earth involved in commerce since that time. Even with substitutes for coins – paper money, checks, credit cards, or even electronic transfer of payments – the requirement for coins is so enmeshed with every transaction that their need continues into the third millennium.
CLASS 06.7 13 pages, 5,000 words (estimate)

Dies and Diemaking. Tools for impressing the relief design into a blank during striking and creating these tools by any method – cutting by hand, milling by machine (including pantographic reduction), or by hubbing. Dies are made by creating the cavities and surface contours in a prepared piece of iron or steel. They are used in pairs to stamp a coin or medal, to impress specially prepared blanks (of proper thickness, shape and composition) by pressing both sides of the blank at one time in a press. The blanks are not heated, but struck at room temperature by dies in a process called cold coining.
CLASS 06.4 8 pages, 4,300 words

Pantograph, Die-engraving Pantograph. A machine for reducing three-dimensional bas-relief designs while simultaneously cutting a steel die. The mechanical engraving machine, which was early called a portrait lathe and later called a reducing machine among other names, eliminates the requirement of manual labor to meticulously cut dies by hand engraving. It had the further advantages that many dies could be cut from one pattern, more than one size die could be reduced from the same pattern, the pattern could be seen complete before being placed into production of diecutting, and the ease of which design errors could be corrected.
CLASS 06.4 6 pages, 3.600 words

Edge Lettering and Numbering. Marking of any kind – letters, symbols, figures or ornaments – which is placed on the edges of numismatic or medallic items to add decoration, security or additional information about an item. This information may include such data as the identity of the artist, issuer or maker (often in the form of initials, hallmark or logo), the fineness, composition, serial numbering, maker’s location, size of edition, copyright, data omitted from the design, the recipient’s name or a variety of other facts or symbols.
CLASS 06.4 5 pages, 3.100 words

Electroform, Electroforming. A metal object made by electrodeposition, a galvano or electrotype, and the process of its creation. Electroforming, like electroplating, is a form of the electrolysis of metal. The two processes differ in that electroplating coats an existing object with metal, electroforming creates a complete, newly formed object. Electroforming requires a matrix or pattern, upon which metal is deposited, building up in time the required thickness of the object.
CLASS 07.4 5 pages, 2,950 words

Finish and Finishing. Any process that is performed to a medallic item (coins have no applied finish) after it is struck or cast; including antiquing, patinating, enameling, plating, fabricating, lacquering, edge stamping, mounting, other. At a plant that manufactures medals, other than the pressroom, the finishing department is the second largest department. Every struck piece, other than coin finish and proof surface, must pass through this finishing department for a number of processes to be applied to each piece, giving every medallic item its final color, appearance, protection and, often, its mounting.
CLASS 07.1 4 pages, 2,750 words plus 79 word list

Medal Manufacturing. The production of medallic items, usually diestruck on presses (larger items are cast or electroformed), often smaller medals are made at mints as an ancillary activity to coin production. Medal making as an industry, with separate companies specializing only in making medals and similar products, did not exist until the early 19th century in Europe and not until 1892 in America.
CLASS 12.4 4 pages, 2,459 words

Mints and Minting. The factories and the procedures that create, that produce coins and medals. Mints and minting have flowed closely the rise of industrial activity of any country. Along with an increased industrial activity comes an increasing need for coins; this brings pressure for any nation to manufacture their own coins and medals. Prior to this, of course, countries obtain their coins and medals from custom mints, either private mints or the national mints of other countries.
CLASS 12.2 4 pages, 2,400 words (estimate)

Medal Collecting. Acquiring and bringing together a number of medallic specimens of some related theme, as a topic or thematic. Unlike coin collecting, which is dominated by dates and mintmarks within series, at least in the United States, medal collecting is far more dramatic. It encompasses a universe of varying designs, larger sizes, higher relief, more artistic treatment, far more topics to collect, and better condition of specimens (since, unlike coins, medals do not abrade by circulating). Once only royal families collected medals, exchanging gift medals among themselves. Today medal collecting can be enjoyed by people of all walks of life. However, it does require immense curiosity and a strong intellect for the art and history that medal collecting entails.
CLASS 13.1 3 pages, 2,350 words

Looking for the meaning of a numismatic word, or the description of a term?  Try the Newman Numismatic Portal's Numismatic Dictionary at:

Amazing. Dick's work is a lifetime effort, and it shows. What a great reference! -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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