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Die-cast, Diecasting

Die-cast, Diecasting.  Forming a medallic item by forcing molten metal into a die cavity under high pressure. The die mold for diecasting is quite expensive but a large quantity of items can be manufactured at relative low cost, offsetting the high cost of the mold and the diecasting machine. Typical medallic compositions – bronze and silver particularly – are not as suitable in diecasting. White metal zinc alloys are used because of their low melting point. Diecasting was highly developed for type founding (for letterpress printing) and much of modern diecasting technology was developed for type-casting machines.

Two kinds of diecasting methods can be employed:  cold chamber, where the precise amount of metal to form each item is fed into a cylinder before it is "shot" into the die mold; and hot chamber, which contains a pot of molten metal and a plunger automatically fills the die cavity with a correct amount of molten metal. The metal then cools in the die that opens for the ejection of the completely formed piece. Diecasting is called pressure-die casting in England and is also called permanent mold casting universally.

An example of a die-cast medallic item is the Adolph Zukor Silver Jubilee Medal of 1937. Designed by sculptor Pietro Montana, it was made by Medallic Art Company who sub-contracted its die-cast production then silverplated 11,883 specimens afterwards in house. The unusual high edge of six round mouldings and the deep sunken hollow reverse earned it the nickname among collectors of the "Mason jar lid medal."

In America the person, diecaster, and the process, diecasting, are one word each and not hyphenated; the descriptive term die-cast is hyphenated.

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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