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Loupe.  A magnifier of two or more lens for use by one eye. Loupes are used for close examination of engraving, die cutting, benchwork, tool and diework, examination for pressman, chasers, finishers, inspectors, other close work, and, of course, the finished piece. Magnification power ranges from two (2x) to ten (10x) times exact size. The higher the power generally the shorter the focal length and the item to be viewed must be brought closer to the eye. Loupes differ from magnifying glasses (usually of one lens), optical visors (worn like eyeglasses over both eyes with a lens for each eye, often with an auxiliary lens which flips down over one eye increasing magnification more so) and, of course, diminishing glasses (which give a reduced image). Some recent developments have been the illuminating magnifier with a light build into its handle or holder; and the bench lamp with a ring light and a large lens in the center.

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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