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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 24, June 13, 2010, Article 17

WERE ANCIENT COINS WERE STRUCK HOT OR COLD?

Last week George Cuhaj forwarded an announcement about an interesting experiment planned for the upcoming Summer Seminar at the Colorado Springs headquarters of the American Numismatic Association. -Editor

Dan Demeo writes:

George Cuhaj et al. would do well to read about the experiments conducted in the early 1980's by Alvin A. Kleeb (1910-1994), editor at the time of SAN, the Journal of the Society for Ancient Numismatics. These were reported in SAN, Vol. XIII, No.3 and SAN, Vol.XV, No. 2.

Alvin found that ancient coins were struck while the blanks were hot, but the wedge-shaped splits found sometimes on the edges of ancient coins were caused by flans being struck while too hot. He also considers the practical matters of handling hot flans, freshly struck coins, and the dies while using a sledge hammer to strike his tetradrachm-sized "coins".

No, I don't know where one might obtain these issues, perhaps the American Numismatic Association Library. At one point, SAN had transferred their back issues to John Bergman, but I have no idea where they might have gone after his death. Dr. Lawrence Adams was the editor of the last issue of SAN I received, some 8 years ago

Tim Grat, Production Manager, Sunshine Mint, Inc. writes:

Where to begin on the Badger Mint Experiment...

First, I will leave it up to your more well-researched readers to cite the volumes of available material categorically describing the process of hot striking coins and the development into cold striking of blanks, which I can briefly describe as being parallel to the advancement of tool steel and the ability to harden to varying tempers. Which really brings me to some basic questions regarding the experiment.

I should probably say I do not disagree with the exercise at all. Many individuals will be duly educated by this and will get living information in real time, so kudos to the Badger Mint for providing the Summer Seminar with working tools in the craft! And supporting the project financially is something I hope those involved and interested in the project will fulfill. Now back to the questions...

What period of time is the project looking to recreate in terms of available tooling? Will the dies be made of bronze, and if so what alloy? If not, what type of iron/steel alloy will the dies be made of? Will the dies be hardened and/or tempered?

As you can see the question of hot vs. cold strike lies mainly in the preparation of the dies...with a few variables in the purity of material/alloy being struck.

I know all three individuals and certainly could ask these questions privately, but then the readers might lose the public exchange of ideas that we all enjoy!

Thanks again to Scott, George, and Joe for providing living history resources to the ANA and the collecting public and the E-Sylum forum for the exchange of ideas.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: EXPERIMENT: WERE ANCIENT COINS WERE STRUCK HOT OR COLD? (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n23a16.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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