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Beginner’s Corner: What Are Strike Types?

Beginner’s Corner: What Are Strike Types?
Category: Beginner's Corner
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Posted: 01-07-2015 10:00:00 AM

Learn about the different strike types and what each one looks like in this week's Beginner's Corner.

Coin Strike Type Examples

In last week’s Beginner’s Corner we discussed the basics of making coins, but depending on the exact process and die finish used, coins have different “strike types.” The strike type of a coin refers to the particular minting process that was used to strike a planchet into a coin. This week we will touch on a few of the basic strike types, but we will delve into the exact characteristics and purpose for different types in future articles.

Several parts of the minting process can impact the sharpness of a coin’s strike. The most important aspect is the striking pressure. Another aspect to consider is the sharpness of the die. Consistency and quality of the planchet can also impact the quality of the strike. It's also important to note that any raised surfaces of a coin are referred to as the “devices,” while any flat surface is referred to as the “field.”

One common type of strike is the business strike, also known as the circulation strike. Business strike coins are produced with the intent that they will circulate in normal commerce. Business strike coins don’t tend to be as valuable as proof coins because so many more of them are minted.

Proof strikes represent a special surface or finish on coins specifically made for collectors. Proof coins are struck at the Mint with a special process which we will cover in a future article. Proofs have devices that are frosted while the field is mirrored.

Then, there’s a reverse proof which is what it sounds likes. Rather than the field being mirrored, it is frosted. Meanwhile, the devices of the coin are mirrored.

A burnished strike means that a coin has the characteristics of being smooth and bright. The effect is created by rubbing or polishing (done by the Mint). These coins will have a bright, matte-like finish, and will appear dull or lacking luster when underneath a warm light.

Finally, there is the enhanced uncirculated strike which is when three or more different finishes are combined across both devices and field. Some finishes of this type of strike include: mirrored surfaces, soft frosted and heavy frosted surfaces.

While I’ve covered the basics of each strike, we are going to be exploring each one more in depth in the future. Check back next week to get the scoop on the business strike.

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About The Author

Kelsey Kay Howard Kelsey graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a B.A. in mass communications. She is new to the world of numismatics, but as the Marketing Specialist for MCM is dedicated to learning all there is to know.

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