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Circular Form

Circular Form.  Roundness. Coins are most often struck circular for the ease of coining, handling and compatibility with vending machines and such. Medals and medallic items are more varied in their shape because of less constraints of handling. But the circular form has somewhat of an artistic and sensuous shape – the circle is a form of perfection – designers may even prefer it when they have the opportunity to utilize any other shape.

Large medals are round for a simple reason they can be turned on a lathe at much less cost than expensive trimming procedures. Costs for trimming small medallic objects are about the same irrespective of shape and are least expensive when an existing trimming tool is available.

In numismatic cataloging, shape is always considered; a circular object is

considered the usual shape, and if no other shape is mentioned, it can be presumed the object is circular.  All other shapes are considered "unusual," and must be so mentioned.  See unusual shapes.

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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