During World War I, a French soldier was presented a custom coin by an American fighter pilot. This action marked the beginning of the history of custom coins.
Die Struck Manufacturing Process
Custom coins that went through this process have longer durability. A die struck coin will produce a higher-pitched sound if its edge is lightly tapped. The coin will not have tool markings when it will undergo polishing. It’s more affordable than the die cast coin and can have simple designs.
This process only makes use of an industrial hydraulic press. A coil of metal will be inserted into the hydraulic press. The hydraulic press will use the “master die” to stamp the design on the metal and cut the metal.
Die Cast Manufacturing Process
Custom coins that undergo this process typically have a zinc alloy. The process is applicable for a coin that’s 6-20 millimeters thick or has a complex design. If a die cast coin is lightly tapped on its edge, it will produce a lower-pitched sound. Even though the coin is polished, it will still have tool markings and nodules. A coin that undergoes a die cast manufacturing process is more dense and stronger. The coin will have cracks if it’s overheated during the manufacturing process.
This process has the following steps:
1. A sculptor will create a clay model that’s based on the coin’s design. The model may be four to twelve times bigger than the coin’s actual size.
2. Plaster will be poured over the clay model. The sculptor may repeat this process many times until he or she is satisfied with the plaster mold.
3. Epoxy will be poured into the plaster mold to create an epoxy mold.
4. The epoxy mold will be mounted onto a transfer-engraver. There’s a stylus at the end of the transfer-engraver. As the stylus moves, it will trace the epoxy mold. The transfer-engraver’s ratio bar will reduce the epoxy mold’s design to the coin’s actual size. The carbide tool at the opposite end of the transfer-engraver will cut the reduced design into a “master hub”
5. A sculptor will examine the “master hub” for any imperfection.
6. A heat-treated metal will be placed under a computerized lathe. The lathe is a machine that smooths and polishes the metal into a blank die. A “master hub” will be pressed into the blank die so that a “master die” can be created.
7. The “master die” will be kept in a storage.
8. A coil of metal will be fed through a blanking press so that the blanks can be produced. The blanking press punches out circular disks that have the coin’s actual size. Leftover metal scraps will be recycled for future use.
9. The blanks will undergo heating until they cool down. They will then be placed in industrial washing machines and dryers.
10. The blanks will be placed in revolving barrels or tubs that are filled with an acidic pickling agent. The acidic pickling agent polishes the blanks.
11. The blanks will be sifted through a “riddler”. The “riddler” is a metal sheet with holes that have the same size as the actual coin. It weeds out odd-sized blanks.
12. Blanks with the size of an actual coin will undergo a coining press. The coining press uses the “master die” to stamp the blanks with the coin’s design.
13. At this point, the stamped blanks are now called “custom coins”. The coins will be inspected by a press operator. They will be sifted through the “riddler” again when the press operator is done with inspection.
14. The coins will pass through an automatic counting machine. The machine will spit out a certain number of coins before dropping them into large bags.