Minting: How all Kinds of Coins are Produced
Mint is a word that a lot of people know about. Of course, not everyone knows what this word means to the world of coins and custom coins. This article aims to discuss what a mint is, the idea of minting, the evolution of minting technology, as well as known mints throughout the world.
Mint and minting defined
A mint is a facility which manufactures coins for currency. It’s not the mint that people use for flavour or collector-speak for something that’s in perfect condition. Minting, therefore, is defined as the process of mass producing coins as directed by government authority. The origin of the word mint associated with coin production is said to have come from Juno Moneta, the protectress of funds.
Minting through the ages
Coin production started off in Lydia (present day Turkey) around the 7th century BC. Coins were then made out of gold, silver and electrum (a naturally occurring amalgam of gold and silver). These ancient coins were either casted out of clay moulds or hammered between engraved dies. This method of production lasted until the Middle Ages. However, both hammering and casting had a downside which meant it would not last that long. That downside lies in the inability to produce a lot of coins in a relatively short time. With the introduction of the screw press, coin production skyrocketed. The screw press worked by using a screw to drive the press for striking coins. Combined with rolls to reduce cast bars and machines to punch out disks from metal sheets, coin production was at an all time high. This method would persist as the best in minting until a man named Dietrich “Diedrich” Uhlhorn came up with something better: the Uhlhorn Press. The Uhlhorn Press, or a knuckle-joint action press, worked in the same way as a screw press, but without the screw mechanism itself. Its success paved the way for today’s standards in minting.In today’s world, minting coins is a tightly guarded process. Today’s coins are so well-made that they’re sometimes considered works of art.
Modern Minting Process
The modern minting process starts the same way it did thousands of years ago. The process starts with an artist creating a sketch of the design to be minted. Once approved, moulds or dies are prepared to accommodate the design. To do this, the design itself is transferred onto a plastilene model that’s five times the size of the actual coin. This design is then transferred onto a rubber resin mould that is used to make a mould out of epoxy resin. From here, the familiar process of using melted rubber (a standard in making any kind of mould) to form silicone rubber is performed. The epoxy mould is then mounted onto a pantograph which reduces the size of the design to the actual size, although that size is not reached until a few machines later. Once finished, this master punch is used to create coining dies which will then be used to strike the coins. Once these coining dies are ready, the process of actually making the coins can start. All coins, whether they are used for currency or as custom coins, start off as blanks and planchets. A blank is an unfinished planchet that has not been processed for coin making; a planchet is a blank that has gone through the necessary process of making the metal suitable for striking. From planchets, the mint then strikes these metal pieces into the coins we know and love. The process of minting for coins used as currency is a long and complicated road. Custom coins, on the other hand, go through a much simpler process, although it is quite similar to how normal coins are made. Designs are sketched out, dies are made, and blanks are eventually turned into planchets which will then be struck into the design of your choosing. The process itself is quite expensive, which is why there are dozens of minting companies have sprung up for people looking to make custom coins. There are a lot of ways to go about making custom coins, and choices range from do-it-yourself guides to minting companies that offer such services.