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Distortion.  Deviation of design from that which is intended by the artist or issuer. Several types of distortion can occur in the numismatic or medallic piece, at almost any step of creation or production. Obviously when the design is in soft clay, any movement of the clay surface can distort the design, more so than when it is in plaster. But even metal patterns have been known to buckle, bend or disfigure from poor storage or handling. In casting, a rubber mold can easily distort a design by faulty casting technique. In making dies, an annealing distortion can result from too high a temperature. After a die has been in use for a long time it can sink (sunken die distortion) from overuse or poor diestock to begin with. Distortion is a physical misdeed (it is not to be confused with design error).

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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