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Impression.  (2) The image on a coin or medal; or its replication by foil, in clay, wax or plaster, as a study copy or private copy. Such copies are created by those people who cannot afford to purchase the originals to study, but still have access to the originals long enough to make replicas. Also such copies are for three-dimensional study where a photograph would not suffice.  See copies and replicas.


How to make a foil impression.  Use as heavy a foil as can be obtained. Cut a rectangular piece twice as long as wide,  ½-inch wider than the coin (1/4-inch margin on each side). Fold the foil in half, place the coin or medal inside covering both sides. Then cover both sides with a thin sheet of hard rubber whose thickness is slightly greater than the height of the relief on the numismatic item.

Then pressure must be applied to this foil/rubber sandwich. The best is a hand press that used to apply a seal (like a notary republic would use). It must be firm yet resilient to the relief on the item. After a squeeze of the hand press, the pressure is release and the sandwich unfolded, removing the coin and foil with the greatest of care. Preserving the foil impression from damage is important as it will deform quite easily. Most foil impressions are kept in albums or in holders intended for coins or medals.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


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