Punch (numismatics)

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For the use of punches in typography, see punchcutting.

In numismatics, a punch is an intermediate used in the process of manufacturing coins.

A punch has its design in cameo, much like on the coins themselves. Prior to the use of punches, each die was individually engraved and when a die wore out, another one had to be engraved to replace it, and the exact design of the worn die was lost. The punch step greatly reduced the amount of effort needed, as a single punch could be used to create multiple dies. Early on, punches generally contained only the primary design of the coin, e.g. the portrait, and secondary details (legend, rim head, etc.) were hand-engraved onto each die until the matrix step was developed.