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Making Blanks Video Transcript

And now the metal is headed into the mouth of something that sounds like a machine gun. It’s a good idea to keep your fingers out of this one because this is the blanking press. It produces a glistening web but the real joy of this press is around the back, are these little discs looking familiar, they haven’t got the queens head on them yet but they soon will have.

Metal is tricky stuff because the more you push it about the tougher it gets, this is called work hardening so before we can strike the blanks with the queens profile we have to cook them in the annealing oven. After a good long bake the metal is malleable which means it’s softer but look the heat has oxidised the surface again, a bath with abrasive ball bearings provides the answer in a cauldron that is filled with a solution of sulphuric acid. After twenty minutes with acid and silver balls the shine is again restored. The acid is washed off and the ball bearings fall through a sieve to be recycled, the shiny blanks dance their way into the drying chamber.

In the bad old days certain criminals would clip coins around the edge so they could sell the precious metal, this was all very well for the crooks but it left the poor old coins getting smaller and smaller. By having a pattern pressed into the edge the coins are decorated and protected from the evil that is clipping but they still need their obverse and reverse pictures, the heads and the tails.