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A Brief History Of Coin Production

A Brief History Of Coin Production

 When it comes to the process of making coins there are three methods that you will hear of in Numismatic circles.

 These are as follows:

  •  Hammered coinage.
  •  Cast or casting coinage.
  •  Milled coinage or machine struck coinage 

 These names directly refer to the production methods and processes used to create a coin. These techniques and methods used to create and shape coins have evolved throughout human history as we have became more advanced in our knowledge of manufacturing processes. With these changes came a range of benefits, leading to more elaborate coins and higher quality productions. Many of these advancements came about to make it harder to produce counterfeit imitations and to secure currency, as well as make coins in greater levels of abundance.

 Coins have been used as a method of currency for a considerable period of human history, the oldest surviving example we currently have on record is over 2,700 years old.


Hammered Coinage

 The first coins that we know of were produced using the hammered coinage techniques. These coins were made manually by hand and hammered and struck using a die, this gave every coin produced distinct individuality and would have been a laborious and time consuming process. The dies were hand crafted by artisans and the designs would have been created using the process of engraving. The first coins that we know of were also only one sided due to the use of primitive techniques available at the time.

 The blanks or flans themselves that the dies would imprint upon were prepared by hammering metal in to shape, or they would be cut from a moulded strip.


Cast Coinage

 As well as hammered coins many early coins were made using a mould and they are known as cast coins. This technique of casting coins is predominantly associated with ancient China and Asia.

 Coins were made in batches, by pouring liquid metal in to moulds. These were created in strips that would be broken and cut down in to individual units. The word cash is thought to come from a number of different sources, one of which was a word used in China when referring to the currency at the time.


Milled or Machine Struck Coins

 It was in 1550 that coinage techniques used in European mints advanced in to milled or machine struck methods. Before this time coins were predominantly hammered within Europe, some examples of casting coins can be found prior to this date but hammered coins were definitely more prevalent.

 Milled or machine struck coins were revolutionary and brought with them a great change in monetary production. This new advancement in the production of coins required mechanisation and new advanced systems of manufacture.

 The first country to develop this technology was France and the process of production was guarded and the methods were cloaked in secrecy.

 There were many benefits that came as a result of these new methods of production.

 For instance coins could now be produced with a uniform thickness, perfectly round blanks could now be cut from rolled metal and the speed of production increased. The ability to consistently produce well struck coins made it harder for counterfeiters to replicate coins and ensured a more stable economy.

 It was under Elizabeth I in the year of 1560 that England saw the first use of milled coin production. Tower Mint, the English mint, employed the skills of the French and the era of the great recoinage began.

 Machined coins have advanced over the years and have come along way from the original minting systems, from the use of hand rolled or pressed coins, to steam powered production in the industrial revolution and eventually to the fully automated presses that we use today.

 Obviously advancements in technology have meant that modern day coins are far more elaborate than their humble predecessors. However there is a beauty to be seen in all types and levels of production and from all eras. Coins have and continue to hold a fascination and the details found on any coin continue to attract attention, retain authenticity and hold a great deal of information.

 Here's a video of the Royal Mint at Tower hill in 1956:

Posted by AJW Coins on 06 April 2017 00:00

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