Most of the ancient dies that have survived are of bronze, although iron dies are thought to have been widely used besides. Lower dies seem broadly to have been discoid so that they could sit in a recess on an incus. In some instances the design may have been cut directly on the anvil. engraving of the details was carried out using small steel tools ( scorpers ), or designs were drilled out using corundom dust. It is possible that major elements of the design were inserted by a “ hub, ” or master punch stamped into the die, but not all scholars accept that this method was employed in antiquity.
Reading: coin – Ancient minting
Blanks or planchets ( i, the small metallic element disks from which coins are made ) seem first gear to have been cast by pouring the melt alloy from a crucible onto a categoric surface, where they cooled into the characteristic lens human body. late the metal was poured into molds, which sometimes consisted of two parts so that the metal was completely enclosed ; traces of the “ flash, ” or joining line, can distillery be seen on surviving coins. At Alexandria in the Ptolemaic period ( 323–30 bc ), open molds were common ; in these a sequence of discoid impressions in the mildew were connected by channels, and a number of blanks were frankincense obtained at one decant. The amphetamine surface of the blank, where slag and oxide accumulated, had to be “ turned ” off, or drilled out, presumably by a tool like a carpenter ’ mho bit, and the center punch scratch to accommodate the creature bespeak is feature of Ptolemaic, Seleucid, and Greek imperial coins. contemporary issues in India were much feather in outline and were cut by cheat from metallic sheets. many greek and Roman silver coins were plated ; an envelope of flatware tabloid was soldered on a copper core, and it is by no means certain that all such specimens were the ferment of counterfeiters, since solid ash grey and plate coins sometimes appear to have been struck from the same dies. In the later Roman Empire ( third century ad ) silver issues were heavily debased with copper ; anterior to striking, the blanks were immersed in an acid bathroom that leached out the come on copper to expose more argent, giving a much more acceptable appearance to the coins when they were first issued.
Striking—the impression of the die designs on the blanks—was startlingly simple. The lower die, set in the incus, was covered by the blank ; the upper die, which was positioned above, was then given one or more hammer blows. A two-pound forge, wielded by one bridge player, could easily give a force at the die font of seven tons. To get the high relief typical of greek issues, two or three blows were necessary, and often there is evidence of double-striking on the coins. however, by preheating the blank, as practiced in Athens in the fifth century bc, less violence was required and fail life was extended. analysis of the documentary evidence implies that one obverse ( lower ) die could produce up of 20,000 coins, while 10,000 coins have been struck from a model bronze die without significant deterioration of the working airfoil. Receiving the hammer blows more directly, the rearward ( upper berth ) dies enjoyed about half the life of the obverse. production rates varied. In small mints, operated by one man, a rate of 100 coins per hour has been shown to have been feasible. At important centres such as Rome or Antioch teams of four probably operated. An eyewitness account of a iranian mint in the 1870s describes how, with a hammerer, a die holder, a space placer, and a coin remover, one man could be struck about every two seconds.