New Polishing and Laser Frosting Technique to Enhance Coins, U.S. Mint

The United States Mint is introducing a new generation of numismatic and commemorative coins, enhancing the portrait of the tradition coin formed in collector’s minds over the years.

The Mint will use varying polishing and laser frosting intensities that are intended to enhance a design’s artistic features with new techniques intended to make the coins designs pop. Many Mints around the world have instituted laser engraving as a method of deterring counterfeits in a flooded market.

The news was delivered on Wednesday by Steve Antonucci, a Branch Manager with Digital Process and Development at the United States Mint in Philadelphia.

Antonucci noted that the traditional method to create proof coins with a cameo effect of frosted foreground and mirror-like fields can possibly unintentionally subdue or even destroy design elements. Antonucci said that it’s just that the frosting was so intense that it absorbs the light, possibly making it difficult to see the detail of the art.

Antonucci and his team are starting to explore various finishes, alternate polishing techniques and alternative laser engraving techniques to enhance the beauty of the coins.

Collectors receiving proof 5-Star Generals $5 gold or silver dollars can judge the change for themselves as these are the first two coins made with dies where the new polishing and new laser frosting techniques were applied.

Seeing both examples side-by-side, the coins with the new technology popped, according to Tom Jurkowsky, U.S. Mint Director of Public Affairs. He added we have an opportunity now to show the artistry and to try to perfect how things are depicted on coins.

The enhanced uncirculated Silver Eagle is expected out in may as part of the 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set. It is the third coin to receive the new treatments with three varying finishes.

Polish and laser frosting recipes will differ going forward depending on the design elements of the coins, as new coinage has not yet been designed with the new method in mind.

Antonucci said he can soon foresee five or six different frosting intensities on a single design, which, if designs are created by artists with the Mint in light of the new techniques, could actually create some masterpiece coins.

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