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Striking-coin Process
by Claudia Perassi

Casting and striking are the methods used to mint coins in the ancient world. Gold coins are usually struck. The minting process follows three stages:

  1. Preparation of blank metal discs (flans) by pouring metal in moulds for casting or, rarely (in Athens for example), by sawing them from cylicndrical rods.
  2. Preparation of dies (metal punches on which the images and inscriptions that have to appear in relief on the coin are engraved with small drills and burins). Bronze punches were supposed to be used to strike gold coins. Every issue required the use of several dies, which could be produced by more than one engraver. Therefore, coins of the same series may differ significantly in style. Very few ancient coins bear the name of the artist who engraved the dies. Among the most famous examples are those in the series minted in Sicily and Magna Graecia during the Classical period - e.g. the coins struck in Siracuse during the reign of Dionysius I (405-367), which were signed by Euainetos and Kimon.
  3. Striking of flans. The obverse die (or fixed die) is set into an anvil. The metal disc - held by tongs and slightly warmed to make it more malleable - is then placed over it. The reverse die (or mobile die) is then superimposed upon the flan and is struck by a heavy hammer blow that impresses both sides of the flan.

Click on the images of the coins to enlarge them

Denario di T. Carisio
Denario di T. Carisio
100 litrai di Siracusa
100 litrai di Siracusa
© 2008 UCSC Milano