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Parcel-gilt.  Partly gilt; goldplated only on a part of a medallic item for the effect of a contrast of metals or their color. Parcel-gilt usually refers to objects that were originally firegilded – those that were only partially gilded in the first place, or were a part of this original gilding has worn off. Firegilding applied only a very thin layer of gold and this was susceptible to wearing away under many conditions (as being carried about or a container that abraded the piece). Parcel-gilt was applied to both base metal and precious metal items, often silver goldplate (vermeil); the contrast of silver sheen with a gold color, or both silver and gold on the same item was the effect their creator was trying to obtain.

In modern times an iron relic item was partially goldplated; the Deutschland Ballast Medal was struck in relic iron with an inner panel goldplated, leaving the wide rim the original iron color. This was described as parcel-gilt. However, by modern technology, such a process would be called stop-off. In contrast, two completely separate compositions in one medallic piece is called bimetallic.

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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