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Surface.  The outermost configuration of a solid or three- dimensional object, such as a numismatic or medallic item. Numismatics is the study of small surface area. The surface is everything – it carries the design, identifies the composition, provides the color and indicates the condition. The surface can be smooth, have detail, be textured, or can be treated – as with proof polishing – to indicate the intention of its designer. It can be colored, by enamel or patina. It can identify an anomaly should one have occurred in its manufacture. The surface is studied with a loupe or microscope to reveal its most discerning secrets. The surface reveals to those who can read it where and how it was made, as to whether it is genuine or false, expose its beauty or blemish, express its likeness or laxity. Enigmatic, revealing, captivating, informing, the surface of a coin

or medal is the most important aspect of its existence.

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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