The process of minting coins tends to be similar regardless of their metal content, but we will focus on silver in this blog. If you plan on investing in silver coins, it can be helpful to understand how they are made because some aspects of minting can affect a coin’s numismatic value.
Basic Minting Terms
Before we get further into the steps of minting, here’s a brief overview of a couple of terms you’ll see later on:
- Die: These are hardened pieces of steel that are struck together to imprint the coin with designs on each side.
- Billets: These are thick cylinders of metal. After being melted, silver is placed in this state for consistency and because cylinders are easier to transport.
- Blanks: Before a design is stamped onto the silver by a die, it is shaped into a disc called a blank. Blanks are the same size, shape, and weight as the final coin.
How Are Silver Coins Minted?
When central banks commission the creation of a new silver coin, they hire an artist to design the images on the coin. Some silver coins’ designs hold strong historical significance, such as the American Silver Eagle, which has come to represent civil and military pride. After the design has been approved, a pair of master dies are created in the mint so that the manufacturing process can begin.
First, .999 fine silver is melted in bulk and poured into round molds to form billets. Each billet will be heated and fed through an extruder to form a long, flat strip of silver. In smaller pieces, these strips are fed into a press and punched into blanks. These silver blanks are then polished to remove any scratches or blemishes before being placed in the die and struck with their final design.
For several reasons, the U.S. no longer produces silver coins for general circulation purposes. However, these coins can be purchased as investment vehicles from silver coin dealers and still hold a great deal of value. If you’re interested in buying or selling silver coins, the staff at Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers can guide you through this process and offer advice for your investments in precious metals. Call us at (404) 236-9744 to schedule an appointment.