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Edited, Editing

Edited, Editing.  Preparing a numismatic or medallic item for issue or publication by checking its lettering, aptness and design detail. The editor examines sketches, oversees

the artist, approves designs, proofs and first strikes. For coins the editing is done at the minting authority. For medals the publisher or a medallic company official usually performs the editing duties. The editor is a different person from either the artist (who prepares sketches, models) and from the publisher (who, for medals, finances the issue).

The editor is responsible for every aspect of design and inscription: for correct spelling, accuracy of all dates and lettering, aptness of ornamentation and clothing (correct period costume, for example) and for accuracy in the portraits and pictorial elements. The goal is to create a unified and pleasing composition, of course; but also one in which all details, elements and symbolism are appropriate, attractive and accurate.

The responsibility for researching design detail is usually assumed by the artist (who will also check spelling and dates). Often the artist will be asked by the editor to furnish his documentation or the source of the design detail (and certainly the source of dates or lettering which differs from what has been assigned). The final decision, however, must rest with the publisher, who must pay to have the issue done over should an error occur.

The statement "It is safer to quote a medal than a historian" gives testimony to the

tacit accuracy of medal editing generally. This statement was quoted by Frederic H. Betts in his preface to the book on medals of American Colonial history compiled after a lifetime of study by his brother, C. Wyllys Betts, who had died seven years before his book was published.

As few as they are, careless editing errors are a distant second to the most common error in coin and medal creation – production errors – which result, for the most part, from mechanical anomalies.  See errors.


O2 {1894} Betts, p IV.

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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