Skip to content


Shape.  The outer configuration of a numismatic or medallic piece. Most struck numismatic pieces are, of course, round (see circular form) and are formed by blanking or turning off. While most medallic items are also round, some are noncircular and are formed by trimming, jigsawing or silhouetting (see unusual shape). Shape has considerable impact on the meaning of the item; round items are traditional, sensuous and utilitarian. Unusual shapes are symbolic, assertive, and beauteous. Shape not only adds to the symbolic nature of these medallic items, but also adds to their charm, and in the case of a talisman or amulet, to their mysticism. Product shape adds to their commercial appeal, often a token of the product indicated; map shape emphasizes a geographical outline.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

NNP is 100% non-profit and independent // Your feedback is essential and welcome. // Your feedback is essential and welcome.