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Buried.  A numismatic or medallic item dug up from the ground or retrieved from water after a period of time. Such recovered items are always affected by their surroundings from wear by rushing water (in a creek or river bed, for example) to porosity (from leaching surface metal), or a change of color (mild discoloration to incrusted patina). Gold is affected least of all, silver more so; nonprecious metals are chemically active and affected most of all. Buried metal sometimes takes on a new composition on its surface – called surface enrichment – typical when the green incrusted patina forms on buried bronze when sulfur and moist conditions coexist in the adjacent area.

The surrounding environment affects all buried objects; when these are retrieved from under water the condition is called seawater surface. When buried items are recovered from land they are termed excavated items; when a quantity are so recovered they are termed a hoard; a single item or two is called a find.  Numismatists study hoards to obtain numismatic, historical and mercantile (economic trade) information.  See hoard.

All kinds of engraving is accomplished with the engraver's basic tool, the burin, also called a “graver.” A shaft of steel is sharpened at the end in one of a dozen diamond shapes to cut different shapes. The shaft is inserted in a wooden handle, also of different

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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