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The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 33, August 15, 2004, Article 22

COUNTERSTAMPING TRADE SECRET (NOT REVEALED)

  Dick Johnson writes: "Medal makers have been using
  punches to place dates, names, other lettering, on existing
  medals for hundreds of years.  They all face the problem
  of mashing the detail on the opposite side of the item being
  punched, as will occur when the piece is laid on some hard
  surface.   (Something in physics about ?an equal and opposite
  reaction? I suppose.)  The suggestion in last week?s E-Sylum,
  of using hard woods, oak, iron wood, ebony, are just not
  realistic.

  Every medal manufacture has a thick piece of ..............
  in which he places the item to be punched to add custom
  lettering if this has to be done by punches (instead of, say,
  inscribing with a motorized engraver or engraved with a
  burin).  .............  is sturdy enough to hold the piece
  intact while the blow is imparted to the punch to sink into
  the surface of the piece, yet this material is resilient enough
  to ?give? and not damage the piece on the opposite side
  (at the contraposition location).

  This is one trade secret I refuse to reveal. I?m just not
  going to tell you what  ........... is.  I personally dislike
  unauthorized counterstamping on coins, medals, tokens,
  whatever.  Yes, I know this was done in areas of the
  world where coins were scarce and counterstamping
  was done to identify pieces for use in local areas.  That
  was in the far past. Today we have enough mints
  around the world to strike coins for circulation without need
  for usurping another country?s coins by counterstamping.
  Or irrationally punching your own country?s coins.

  I will reveal this, however. For creating repousť a thin
  copper sheet is laid on a tub of tar and pitchblend. It is
  tapped with a punch to form a design.  This is the nearest
  thing to ........... being used in modern times.

  Since The E-Sylum goes on the world wide web, I don?t
  want this secret to get in the hands of hundreds of
  schoolboys who get their mitts on a punch or two and add
  their own brand of graffiti on any coins or medals. (Okay,
  you juvenile delinquents, go get a tub of tar and pitchblend
  and punch away. You didn?t learn about it from me.)"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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