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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 29, July 16, 2006, Article 23

GOLD TOKEN STRIKING AND ENGRAVING INFORMATION

Dick Johnson writes: "Dick Hanscom?s problems with striking gold
can be resolved by Heat Treating. This is a concept that is so
little understood in the numismatic field but so universally
important to any step of metalworking (including the fabrication
of gold which is usually so easy to work with).

Frankly I don?t know how you heat treat gold. My experience is
with iron ? as with dies ? or copper, bronze and silver ? as for
struck medals. Heat treating can be done to harden or soften iron
or steel at will. You can soften a die or die blank to engrave it
by Annealing. This is accomplished by heating the steel die in
special annealing ovens or dousing it in a pot of molten salt.
Temperature is critical. Then it must be allowed to cool slowly.
Another name for this is Normalizing.

To harden steel you heat it and quench it rapidly. Again temperature
is critical. There are two kinds of steel. Oil hardened or water
hardened (depending upon the amount of carbon in its manufacture).
The die must be quickly immersed in the proper liquid. This is called
Quenching. If this is done a subsequent time or two it is called
Tempering.

Striking medals (or almost any metalworking step) WORK HARDENS the
metal (copper, bronze or silver). To strike it again, as for higher
relief, the medals can be heated in an oven and allowed to cool
slowly. This can be done on a continuous belt. The medals can then
be placed back on the press for another blow.

Treatment by Annealing relieves the Stress built up in the internal
structure of the die. It changes the physical property of metal.
(Think of it as loosening up the molecules that have gotten bunched
up by, say, striking).

When the U.S. Mint began operations in 1792 they had tremendous
problems making dies and striking coins until they understood Heat
Treating. Coiner Adam Eckfelt solved these problems by conducting
experiments until he got it right. It is understandable Dick
Hanscom has similar problems.

In regard to "engraving how to," no such website exists. I have
been collecting this information for forty years. Only recently
have I been able to write a 6,100-word essay on "Engraving" as
an entry for my encyclopedia of coin and medal technology. If
the information was easy to find I would have been able to write
it much earlier.

Dick, you don?t pull your own teeth or perform your own surgery.
My advice is to hire a professional coin die engraver. I can
recommend three in the field who are quite knowledgeable for the
dies you need (in alpha order): Ken Douglas (dieman@midsouth.rr.com),
Virginia Janssen (virginia@smallreliefs.com), and Ron Landis
(gmmrl@arkansas.net)"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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