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Ingot.  (2) Rectangular slab of metal convenient for shipping, handling and storage. When metal is kept in this form for storage it is called bullion-storage ingot. An ingot of metal that is the exact formulation to be struck into coins is called coinage-alloy ingot. These later ingots are filed (deburred) on all sides, then an end is swaged (end flattened) for feeding into a break-down rolling mill. Repeated rolling transforms the ingots into strips of proper thickness that can be blanked prior to striking into coins.

In mints that have their own refining equipment, they will purposely create ingots of two different sizes, cast in molds of different sizes. The larger size will be bullion- storage ingots; the smaller ingots will be coinage-alloy ingots. This, along with punchmarking, is done so the two are not confused. Also whenever possible the coinage-alloy ingots are cast closer to the time they will be used (to preclude any surface toning or discoloration).

            Numismatist Robert Julian suggests there should be only one primary definition for the term “ingot.” This should be for limiting it to the rolling & strip parts of coinage.

Ingot anomalies.  While physical defects in ingots are usually of no consequence

– since they will be melted, rolled, forged or otherwise machined to some new form – chemical deficiencies are serious. An inhomogeneity, or lack of complete mixing or blending of the new alloy, can carry through succeeding processes, as rolling and blanking, showing up in the end product as struck pieces with cavities, hollowness, discolorations, surface deficiencies or separated laminations. Often struck pieces with such defects will not ring true; a ring test would reveal this anomaly. See OCLUDED GAS.

  Small Bars Used As Money                      


     Ingots of metal have been used as money in several   

 periods of history. After being cast, these ingots are   

 punchmarked with weight, infrequently the fineness

 and the identity of the refiner, either individual or firm.  

 Since they are not coined with dies they do not have the 

 characteristics of coins but do have the characteristics 

 of cast items. The value is determined by the metal      

 content and the weight.                                  


     Numismatic researcher Donald H. Kagin reports that   

 privately struck gold coins in California were called    

 "ingots" beginning in 1851 because a law in 1837

 forbade the issuance of such gold coins. No mention,

 however, was made for such prohibition of ingots.                     


NE42 {1982} Doty, p 177-178.

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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