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Techniques of Coinage - Roman Imperial Coin Portraits

technique of coinageAncient Greek coins were struck from blank pieces of metal first prepared by heating and casting in molds of suitable size. At the same time, the weight was adjusted. Next, the blanks were stamped with devices which had been prepared on the dies. The lower die, for the obverse, was fixed in the anvil; the reverse was attached to a punch. The metal blank, heated to soften it, was placed on the anvil and struck with the punch, thus producing a design on both sides of the blank.

The Romans, although at first using cast coins, also adopted the practice of striking them. Coinage was controlled in the republican period by three moneyers, annually elected magistrates, and in the imperial period by the emperor. During the early imperial period, most of the coinage was produced by a single mint in Rome, replaced for a time in the first century by one in Gaul (modern France) for production of precious-metal coinage. Later, during the 3rd century, several mints were established throughout the empire.

Roman Imperial Coin Portraits
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