In this day and age, coins are made in a mint with advanced blanking and pressing techniques as opposed to the handiwork employed in the past. Below we have provided some more information about how coins are made.
Early Methods of Manufacturing Coins
The usage of coins as currency started in the 6th century BC. Coins were forged by hand with tongs, an anvil, and an anvil bench. Experienced strikers could make about 20 coins in a minute. The coins were engraved with scenes displaying power, with many of them bearing portraits of powerful people.
Made with admirable handwork, most of the ancient coins, like the Sumerian, Roman, and Greek coins tend to be irregularly shaped.
Medieval coins from England on the other hand, show more consistency. This is probably due to the different mints that were used; during that time England had more than 200 mints for manufacturing coins.
In the 1500s the screw press was used to produce coins, but by the industrial revolution, the coin press was used to manufacture coins.
How Coins are Made Today – The 5 Stages
Coins are made in a mint, which is owned by a government agency or Treasury. In the first stage, the required metal to manufacture the coins is bought in either strips or coils. These coils are passed through a blanking press where it is punched into perfect small circles in the required size. The remaining metal is recycled for use in future.
In the second stage, also called the annealing, drying and cleaning stage, the blanks are softened in the furnace and then they are washed and dried.
The third stage is called the upsetting stage. The now clean blanks are upset, that is, trims are added to coin edges.
The fourth stage is the coining stage. In this stage, the coins are stamped with their designated engravings and designs.
In the fifth stage, the coins are screened to weed out the wrongly shaped coins.
An operator then checks the coins for defects such misshape and dents. After that, the coins are counted by a counting machine as they are poured into canvas bags in which they will be stored in vaults.
Materials Used to Make Coins
Different materials are used to make coins. The most common materials used include zinc, copper, and nickel, but other materials can include gold, silver, brass, and more. In some cases, a mix of two metals is used. For precious coins, they are only allowed to have 0.45kg of gold or silver. Other metals that have been used include stainless steel, aluminum bronze alloy, antimony, brass, bell metal, chromium; these are mostly used for plating.
Coin production is similar all over the world. However, there are some countries in Africa that often outsource the coin manufacturing job to other countries.