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Mint.  The factory that produces coins and medals, most often called by the city in which it is located. Specifically a mint is the place where presses are located that strike blanks into final coined pieces. (Rolling strip stock, making blanks, cutting dies, engraving can all be located elsewhere, but a mint must be the place where final striking takes place). In a sense a mint is a manufacturer that has coining presses at its location.

Large industrial countries have their own such plants, called a national mint, or a royal mint (for a monarchy); if a country has more than one mint, subsidiary mints exists as a branch mint. A nongovernmental mint is called a private mint (which can manufacture coins or medals or tokens for any client). Note: a paper mint is a sales organization without minting facilities that has private mints create these for them.

Early mints were barely more than workrooms where metalworking activity took place. Blanks were shaped or cast to nearly disk shape then struck with a hammer to impress the blanks, or later with a screw press. Despite these primitive working conditions, the output of these workshops ranged from highly artistic (Greek and Roman) to very crude designs (during Middle Ages). The word mint is of Roman origin where it is derived from the temple of Juno Moneta where silver coins were struck.

Development of coining and minting techniques are given in the entries on mints and minting, coins and coining. A brief history of the national mint in America is given under united States mint.

Also the word mint is used as a term of condition, where it means mint state, an item in pristine condition.


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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