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First Strike

First Strike.  The first struck piece produced from a new pair of dies; usually the first circulation strike. Since this piece is from fresh dies it should be sharp and crisp before any die wear has taken place; such first strike pieces are highly prized by collectors. Often a sample piece or two from among the first strikes is selected for the artist or the archives; sometimes these are marked in some manner.  See artist’s proof.

First strike ceremonies.  A ceremony is often held on the commencement of production of important or famous coins or medals. Such a ceremony was held for the first commemorative coins struck by the United States in 1892. Private mints held first strike ceremonies for gold medals when it became legal again for American citizens to purchase gold, December 31, 1973. The first U.S. Olympic coins were celebrated with a first strike ceremony at West Point, where production was started, September 1983. Numerous inaugural medals have been publicized with first strike ceremonies.

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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