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Similar.  Nearly the same as; a cataloging term for a medallic item that is slightly different from one that is listed in a published catalog. Because medals are customized and are frequently changed from time to time, many varieties may exist. While it may be impractical to describe each separate item, and call this a variety, numismatists are willing to accept an item like one already published and call it "similar." The changes are more that a different lettering that is inscribed, say, with a recipient's name, date and such. This personalization is to be expected as an inscribed medal is bestowed to each recipient. In fact, medal designers purposely leave a space for this (called a reserve often within a cartouche) in their design.

More often the changes indicated by calling an item similar to a published one is the result of die retooling. This can be a change in a date, or the name of the organization, or the new name of an award (with new raised lettering), or a change in the organization's logo, or some pictorial element. Thus a new die is created (or, maybe, a new stock die is used) creating the new state. In numismatic cataloging, similar is abbreviated: sim.  See cataloging.

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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