Simple Coining

Back in 1979 I published these directions on how to make Simple Coins in Volumn 1 Number 3 of my Household's newsletter, "Tyme Tracks" (same issue as the article on Shoe Making). I used these coins as currency in the Quests (LARPs - Live Action Role Playing) held at Tymekeep.

Simple Coins can be manufactured out of lead in a simple three step process:

  1. Create the dies
  2. Molding planchets
  3. Striking the coins

A simple way to make a set of dies is to use a large (8″ to 12″ long by ¾″ diameter) bolt as the bottom die and a top die made by screwing together a 12″ pipe cap and a pipe nipple. Grind and file the head of the bolt and the top of the pipe cap to get flat, smooth surfaces. Then, usind metal chisels and punches, form the designs (mirror images) into the dies. Use needle files to finish forming and smoothing the dies. The dies do not need to be hardened for use on lead.

The easiest way to mold the planchets is to use large washers, the inside diameter of which is the same as the desired diameter of the coins and the thickness of which is the same as the desired thickness of the coins. These washers are placed on a smooth, heavy steel plate. If you intend to pour a large nember of planchets at time, a sheet of asbesdos under the steel plate can protect the is recommended to protect the table you are working on. Lead can be melted in a cheap aluminum sauce pan (I find a two cup size works perfectly) over an electric hot plate. Do not melt led on your kitchen stove unless you are very careful to remove all traces of lead and lead oxides from areas that might come in contact with foods. Molds (washers) should be filled in a single, uninterrupted pour.

Put the lower die (bolt) in a heavy vice with the head of the bolt resting on the vice jaws. Place a planchet on the die, hold the upper die in contact with the planchet, and strike with a single firm blow using the side of a cross peen hammer. The coins may be painted, plated, or used "as is".