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Diesinking.  Creating dies by hubbing; impressing a hard metal relief design into a softened metal diestock to form punches (dies) which, when hardened, are used in a press to stamp coins and medals. Formerly diesinking had a broad meaning for cutting a die by any method – hand engraving, machining, pantographic reducing, and hubbing or hobbing – but the more modern custom is to use it, like sinking, to mean hubbing alone. However, dictionaries continue to the end of the 20th century to define the word as any process of forming, cutting and shaping dies.

Hand engravers were called diesinkers to the end of the 19th century; (engraving machine operators were known as "transfer engravers," the first operators of hubbing presses were called "hubbers"). With the rise of improved mechanical equipment, for both diecutting and hubbing beginning in the 20th century, diesinking was more specifically the sinking of dies from master dies or hubs. At first diesinking was unique to coining, even though coining by then was used to make items other than coins (as buttons, gears, small parts and such). More recently diesinking is the hubbing of any die for use, say, in drop forging, press working, even plastic molding. The process for coin and medal dies is detailed in the entry under hubbing.

At the beginning of the 21st century the position is called a diesinker and engraver. Career descriptions pinpoint his tasks as converting a three-dimensional model into steel by operating pantographic reducing machines, planing, shaping and turret lathes to create the cavities required. Also this person is required to do hand engraving, touchup and chasing when necessary. Much of this work is highly detailed, hand and machine work requiring hand coordination with excellent eyesight often with the use of magnification.  See also engraving.


C66 {1988} Cooper, p 159-165.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


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