Coinage— An Introduction

Introduction to
Coinage
Bryn Mawr College
Coin Collection

History

Exhibition

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Exhibition curated by
Sarah E. Hafner
National Endowment
for the Humanities 2005
Summer Curatorial Intern

 


The Minting Process

Courtesy of Michael Crawford, ed., Sources of History: Studies in the Uses of Historical Evidence. Sources for Ancient History, ed. G.R. Elton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. 207.

 

 

Coinage was invented in the seventh century BCE in Western Asia Minor. These early coins were made of precious metal at a weight guaranteed by the issuing authority, so that the coins themselves had an intrinsic value (as opposed to the

American dollar, for example, which only represents a value).

Coins were made by placing a measured blank piece of metal on an anvil (also known as the lower die). Another die (known as the punch or upper die) was placed in a casing on top of the blank, and then struck with a mallet, imprinting each side of the blank with the images carved into the die (see right).