Oct 14, 2016

How were ancient coins made?

In the Ancient World, everything was made by hand, including coins that were minted in the millions using very simple tools. Coins were sometimes produced by casting in a mould, but this process was only usual for large pieces. The common method was to strike them with a hammer.

The basic tools for coin production were a furnace for heating the blank metal discs or "flans", tongs for handling them, a bench on which an anvil was mounted, and a pair of dies struck with a heavy hammer to impress the design into the flan.

The dies were produced of hard bronze or iron and contained an inverse version of the image to be struck on each side of the coin. They were engraved by skilled artisans known as engravers.

Teams of at least three workers were involved in the minting process. Using tongs, one worker would bring the flan from the furnace, another would hold the upper die in place and a third would strike it with the hammer. By repeating this process, an experienced team of workers could produce thousands of coins in a day and Roman mints had generally several teams working side-by-side fulltime. The high frequency of misstruck coins indicates that minting teams worked at very high speed.

As a result of this process, each ancient coin is unique.

Dec 23, 2013

Which is the most expensive coin in the world? The flowing hair silver dollar of 1794

On January 24, 2012, Stack Bowers auctioned a "flowing hair" silver dollar of 1794 for a staggering $ 10.016.875 (including a 17.5 percent buyer's fee). Almost one year later, it remains the highest price ever achieved at an auction for a coin. The previous 7.5 million record was set in 2002 for a 1933 Double Eagle.

LegendNumismatics, a rare-coin firm, bought the coin, and its chairman, David Bowes, declared he was prepared to bid even higher in order to acquire it. Why is this coin so valuable? Because many experts believe it to be the very first dollar struck by the U.S. mint in 1794, the year in which the American government issued silver dollars for the first time. It is also the finest example known of this early issue. For all this reasons, this is an iconic coin, surely one of the most important numismatic objects in American history.

Legend numismatics still owns the coin and the firm will surely not offer it at a public auction any time soon betting its price will go up with time.