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Plastics.  A wide class of materials made of chemical polymers and other components, both natural and synthetic (including resins, caseins and such). Medallic items have been made of plastics – often in color (by adding a dye to the plastic) – and formed by molding or casting. The composition is more suitable for such items as sales tax tokens; these were made of plastics in America shortly after World War II. Plastics was infrequently considered as a coin or medal composition substitution in wartime.

Plastic Coin.  Pattern cents in plastic were made in the United States in 1942, but for many reasons it was not a serious coin media. The U.S., of course, chose a zinc-coated steel cent as the substitute composition in World War II.

Plastic Medal.  The Rochester Numismatic Association had a custom of issuing a medal for each club president since 1913. It continued the tradition, even in difficult times of the depression. But for World War II bronze was a strategic war material and unavailable for medals. It prepared the dies for the presidents during the war and issued a plastic medal at the time, replacing these with bronze medals when the material became available after the war.

            See also bakelite, epoxy, thermoplastic.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


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