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Foundry Cast

Foundry Cast.  A metal casting obviously made by a foundry, in contrast to a piece made by some other process by a different manufacturer. In numismatic and medallic work some patterns and plaques have been foundry casts (in preference, say, to galvano patterns and plaques).

Foundries can cast bas-relief forms – medallions, plaques of any size – as well as objects in-the-round or machine parts or other foundry work. They can cast single-sided  or double-sided, one sided or two. They can cast with two-sided molds or open mold. They can even cast with undercuts, using rubber or flexible molds. For medallic work, however, most foundry casts are uniface reliefs larger than six inches.

Foundrymen work with molds to form the piece. Unlike electroforming or diecasting, they can use metal of any alloy (most medallic work is cast in bronze or iron however), but the work is skilled and the opportunities for faulty casting are numerous.

The use of foundry casts as a pattern for the model, or matrix to be used in a die-

engraving pantograph are just as useful as galvano casts (though not as sharp in detail specifically). A die cut from a foundry cast would appear smoother than one from a galvano (which can have sharp edges of relief, lettering and more angular corners where relief joins the background).

While made at foundries, such casts are in contrast to those that are struck, die-

cast, or cast by the artist. Foundry casts do not have the sharp detail as do electroformed casts, often have bosses on their surface (near relief) where trapped gas or dirt was in the mold, and also do not have to be backed up or strengthened as do galvanos. Another criteria is the back of the piece which may have lettering, numbers (as the mold number) or the foundry seal.

In cataloging numismatic items foundry casts must be identified as such.

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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