Sunday, December 02, 2012

About Replica Silver Pennies

Preparing to strike a coin - at the Althing Event, 2011 (image by Tanya Imrie)

... I found your group through a mention in an
SCA event notice.  I see that you demonstrate
coin minting.  Are the coins copies/replicas of actual historical coins
or are they your own design made in the style of the era?

See :

There were four individual artifact coins selected. Three were used pretty much as the original source material designs. The fourth 'Knute the Great' was used as the source of the general layout, but the name was changed to my own.

This makes four individual dies. Note that these are four different coin artifacts - and were selected for their graphic quality.  I will often mix and match those dies to produce different combinations.
Artifact coin dies - York, England, early 900's

The dies are in two pairs. The first set (St Peter / Anlaf) are simple cylinders of tool steel. For the second set, I forged the die blanks to duplicate the shape and size of the pair found at York.
Dies shaped after the York artifacts on the left. First dies made of tool steel on the right.

The silver used are modern die cut disks - so extremely uniform. These are sterling silver. They are the same size, thickness and weight as the 'standard' silver penny.

Replica 'St Peter' / 'Anlaf'
Replica 'Knute' / 'Birka Grave'
The dies were acid etched to create the patterns - not engraved as the originals were.

Now, two major differences from the original source coins were made - and intentionally.
1) the main figure on each coin is mirror image from the artifact
2) the dies were made to make an impression into the surface - not create a raised line like the artifacts
Both of these methods were used to clearly indicate that these are NOT possibly forgeries. Combined with the obvious uniformity of the silver disk, that creates 'three points of difference'. As there are currently hundreds of these replicas out in the world, I wanted no chance they might be artificially aged - and passed off as original artifacts.

To my mind this makes the silver penny replicas I make ideal for hands on programming in museums, or use by living history re-enactors.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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