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Magnification.  An optical lens or system to magnify the image of the surface of a die, a numismatic or medallic item.  Unless an engraver has very good eyes, some form of magnification is used when engraving a die by hand engraving. He has a choice of optical systems to use, ranging from a hand-held lens to a compound microscope. The same is true for anyone who wishes to examine the surface of an existing coin or medal.

Magnifier – one lens, low power magnification, with or without a handle.

Engravers’ Magnifier – two plano-convex lens, 3.5 power, provides a corrected, wide, flat field, mounted in hard housing.

Aspheric Magnifier – one lens, 5 power, provides wide field with far edge clarity, mounted on stand or with handle.

Loupe – two or three lens, 3 to 20 power, variety of mountings: for eye (with or without headbands), for spectacles, fold up for pocket, on stand, or with hollow handle for batteries and bulb for illumination.

Optivisor – side-by-side prismatic lens mounted in headband assembly, 1½ to 3½ power, with optional auxiliary lens for additional magnification up to 5 ¼ power, leather adjustable headband.

Telesight – binocular lens on spectacles or clip-on style, 1 3/4 to 3 power, flips up when not in use.

Lenscope – three lens, two bulbs for illumination at different angles, 7, 10 or 20 power, lies flat with hands free, can be used with reticles to make measurements in different scales, made by Bausch & Lomb in high quality.

Illuminated Magnifiers – single lens, 1½ power, variety of kinds: on stand or with swing arm, fluorescent lamp often with circular bulb around circular lens.

Microscope – compound with two eyepieces, stereo view, 5 to 40 power, usually with internal lighting.


P2  {1959} Tritt (Donald) Magnificaion Systems for Coin Study. The Numismatist (February 1959) 72:2, p 131-134.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


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