The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 21, Number 38, September 23, 2018, Article 14


Dick Johnson submitted these great entries from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. Thanks! -Editor

Dick writes:

This is the second week for terms on copies and replicas; four terms all beginning with letters RE.

Reissue. A second or repeated issue, after a lapse of time, by an authorized issuer, with only a slight change, if any, in form or composition. A reissue occurs when a need or demand exists, as the reactivation of an award program where the original award medal is again produced. Or perhaps, a once popular medal is issued again after the death of the artist or copyrights have expired and the design is in public domain. COPY DIES are sometimes made to strike these reissued items if the original dies are no longer available. A reissue can be reinstated by the original sponsor or publisher, or by some new issuer who does have authority.

A reissue is not to be confused with RESTRIKE (issued without authority from original dies) nor is it to be confused with REVISION (a second or repeated issue requiring a change in dies) by the same issuer. See COPIES AND REPLICAS.
CLASS 11.9

Replica A copy of a numismatic or medallic item, similar to but differing somewhat from the original piece. A replica is a copy and while the terms are not that precise in their difference from each other, a replica is somewhat more liberal in its exact replication; a major portion of the original design must be used for the replica. Most replicas are made after the death of its original artist and the art work is in public domain.

While a COPY is generally an exact duplication of the original (often with malicious intent), there exists a large body of replicas, most of which are highly legitimate and issued in good faith. A coin example would be the silver dollar bullion coin of 1986 which replicated Adolph Weinman’s Liberty Walking design of the 1916 half dollar; or the St-Gaudens' gold bullion American Eagle, a replica of his 1907 gold eagle coin.

Medal examples are more varied. All six medals made for the fledgling American states, authorized by Congress and struck in France before 1800, were replicated by the Philadelphia Mint and issued anew, even as late as 180 years after their first issue. The United States Diplomatic Medal, originally engraved by Augustin Dupre and struck in 1791, was among this group. It was reissued in 1876 (illustrated under the entry on REISSUE).

The Botetourt Medal, originally issued in England in 1772, and engraved by John Pingo, was given to students of William and Mary College in Virginia. It was so rare no description could be given by Betts in his work on American Colonial Medals (#528). In 1941 the College of William and Mary (who had one of the medals, of course) asked Medallic Art Company to replicate it. (It is discussed by Brown in his book, British Historical Medals, 1760-1960.)

In 1959, another medal by John Pingo was replicated and reissued. His Gibraltar Siege Medal of 1782 was struck by Medallic Art and issued by Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Other replica examples are illustrated under entries on CONTRAPOSITION (a replication of a Pasteur Medal) and AFTER (a replication of a 200th anniversary medal for a 300th anniversary). Thousands of replica examples exist. See COPIES AND REPLICAS.

In layman’s language the words “copy” and “replica” mean the same. Both terms cover all forms of copies in everyday language. Numismatists should use the exact terms listed in this encyclopedia.
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O2 {1894} Betts 528, p 234.
O40 {1980} Brown 154, p 35; 248 p 58.

Restrike. A numismatic item struck from original dies but at a later time than the original issue – coins struck in a year later than the date they bear, medals struck after an interval of time and regular issuing has ceased. Restrikes are often by dies in deteriorated state, usually (but not always) the restriking is unauthorized and mostly surreptitious.

A restrike denotes the use of at least one original die; if a replacement or COPY DIE is used (of the exact same designs but not made from the original hub or model) it is termed a NOVEDEL. The term restrike is not to be confused with REISSUE (which implies a proper authorization for use of the old dies) nor with REVISION (which implies the use of new copy dies or reworked old dies).

Restriking from old dies present several problems: rusting in the dies if improperly stored (dies will pit irregularly) and brittleness of the dies (may cause cracking, breaking or shattering of a die). Also old dies may exhibit a degree of SINKING. Pressmen must exercise great care during setup and striking to prevent breaking old dies. See COPIES AND REPLICAS.

The Paris Mint has restruck old dies for a series it calls “Original Dies” through their Le Club Francais de Medaille. Dies as early as mid 1600s have been struck side-by-side in soft tin rectangular plates. Each piece is serially numbered in a series limited to 300 such strikes. The soft tin is capable of obtaining an impression from the old and brittle dies, however, the tin is not a medium for creating permanent specimens. The tin is so soft a fingernail will dent it deeply; extreme care must be exercised in handling these pieces as anything heavier than a paper clip dropped on them – or dropping the item itself – will damage it extensively.

The French word for restrike is refrappe.
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NE42 {1982} Doty, p 279-280.

Revision. A second or subsequent design replacing a prior design not considered satisfactory for further reproduction. Revisions of coins occur to change designs for better wearing qualities (as lowering of lettering on the reverse of the 1913 Buffalo nickel). Revisions of medals occur for a variety of reasons:

(1) Correcting errors of design or inscription.
(2) Change in sponsor’s name or title.
(3) Correcting mechanical errors.
(4) Change of seal or trademark.
(5) Addition of lettering.
(6) Removal of lettering.
(7) Modernizing design.
(8) Reinstating medal or sponsoring program.

Revisions almost always require reworking the original models or patterns and cutting new dies. See COPIES AND REPLICAS.
CLASS 11.9

Book lovers should be word lovers as well.

Looking for the meaning of a numismatic word, or the description of a term?  Try the Newman Numismatic Portal's Numismatic Dictionary at:

Or if you would like a printed copy of the complete Encyclopedia, it is available. There are 1,854 terms, on 678 pages, in The Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology. Even running two a week would require more than 19 years to publish them all. If you would like an advance draft of this vital reference work it may be obtained from the author for your check of $50 sent postpaid. Dick Johnson, 139 Thompson Drive, Torrington, CT 06790.

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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