Striking a Gallic coin

Coinage appeared in Gaul in the 6th century BC following the settlement of the Greek colony. Even though certain Gallic coins were cast (potins), in other words made from molten metal in moulds, most of the production of Gallic coins was struck, and certainly all gold coins. 

Striking took place in a mint. Cast metal blanks or a metal sheet (gold combined with copper or silver) was reduced to the desired thickness by hammering. Then, with the aid of cutters, this sheet was then cut into disks known as “flans”. The flans would then be filed and hammered to the required weight and thickness.

At the same time, an engraver would have prepared two dies: these were metal pieces (usually bronze) engraved with an inset reversed image; each had the imprint of one of the sides of the future coin. The coin makers would then move on to the actual minting process: on the right hand (obverse) die, mounted on an anvil, they would place the heated flan, then, on top, the reverse die, fixed to a movable hub held by one of the workers. This was then stamped, with one or more blows using a heavy hammer, thus striking the coin.

There were probably at least two, if not three workers involved in this operation: one to strike, one to place the flan and/or to take out the coin, before continuing the process until the dies were worn out.

Reconstruction of a mint