Dick Johnson submitted this entry from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. Thanks. -Editor
Colorize. Coating by colored pigments. There are three ways to add color to metal as a medallic (or numismatic)
item. The oldest method, and with the most successful application of color, is with enamel. A second method is with a patina finish (where metal
surfaces are chemically altered). The third method is coating with a pigment on the metal's surface. The first two are not colorizing, the third
method is called colorized.
Colorizing is, in effect, painting an object. organic coating, as most paints, have been tried in the past and rejected. Painting numismatic
objects is unsatisfactory because of the tendency of any coating to chip on the high points and near the edges of a coin or medal. More recently
acrylic coatings have been employed, as they meet the requirements of adhering to the metal surface with a fairly thin coating.
Since metals in which numismatic items are made are one color, monochrome, the preferred method, of course, is a patina finish on the metal
surface, which is not only permanent but also impervious to chipping. Or color may be added by enamel, enamelling, as evidenced by orders and
decorations. Metal objects can also be plated but this is replacing one metal color for another.
Colorized Coins. A fad created in the 1990s was to colorize coins and medals. This appealed to the public more so than collectors or
numismatists and met with some acceptance.
Colorized medallic items. An example of painted medallic items are the Iron Cross of Germany in the lower grades. These were painted black
and after some use it is easy to observe that the black paint chips away exposing the under metal. (Higher grades of the Iron Cross use black enamel,
which of course, does not damage so easily.)
The Fairmont Park Act Association Medal of Honor, 1937, was issued with a black paint finish; since it is not intended to be worn it is less
susceptible to wear but has been observed with a chipped coating. Other examples are painted plaques and plates made by medallic companies, one
example of each are the Theodore Roosevelt Plaque painted brown (see illustration under quotation) and a Panda Plate made by Medallic Art Company
painted black and white.
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.
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster