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Mintmaster.  A chief official of a mint; the person held responsible for production and quality of coins and medals from a producing location. Originally this title, like that of, say a beer brewmaster, implied a tremendous amount of knowledge and technical skill to satisfactorily produce coins, all this in addition to administrative ability to direct and control a workforce. Later the term fell from active use as mint functions became more specialized, like coiner or chief coiner, assayer, engraver or chief engraver and such.

The administrator of a mint became a superintendent or director of the mint. However, so important was this position in the middle ages that the mintmaster was allowed (even required!) to place his signature in the form of a monogram or letter (mintmaster’s mark) on every coin struck under his control. This made the mintmaster responsible for the metal content (fineness) and quality of every coin bearing his mark. Punishment for not maintaining either of these often meant the loss of a limb or death (dishonest mintmasters were dealt the same harshness as were counterfeiters).


E3 {1902-30} Forrer. See Mint-Masters 4:88-92 and 8:61-65.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


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