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Drop Hammer Press

Drop Hammer Press.  Pneumatic or gravity type press which delivers a hard sharp strike. Not suitable for coins or large medals, it can be used, however, for striking small, charm- size items; but is best suited for trimming or piercing. The reason for this is its quick acting force – ideal for shearing, trimming or piercing – but unsuitable for die striking (which requires time for metal flow with longer extrusion dwell).  Despite this, attempts have been infrequently made to strike coins with drop hammer presses. The latest, in 1920, occurred when the large quantity of coins were required in England when it converted from silver to a quaternary coinage. The firm of J.R. Gaunt & Son, of Birmingham, was one of several private minters given orders by the Royal Mint to strike millions of florins, shillings, sixpence and threepence. Gaunt had only drop hammer presses and were successful in producing only 16,000 coins before terminating the contract and returning the dies to the Royal Mint. Drop hammer presses were an early type press, powered by hand or other means long before electricity, but whose use is strictly limited in modern times.  See striking, presses and pressroom practice.

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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