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Glossary of Terms
alloy: A homogeneous mixture, usually of two or more metal elements. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.
alloy 230: A brass alloy which is 85% copper and 15% zinc. We currently carry tokens in alloy 230 in a variety of diameters. This alloy appears slightly "redder" than the alloy 260.
alloy 260: A brass alloy which is 70% copper and 30% zinc. This alloy is yellower in color than alloy 230. It is also known as 70/30.
antique: To apply a chemical to the surface of a coin in order to artificially "age" the coin. Antiquing coins prevents tarnishing. Every coin that is antiqued must be lacquered to protect the finish.
Augenstien: An engraving machine that automatically traces the image on a mold onto a die.
brass: An alloy of copper and zinc. The higher the copper content, the more expensive the brass will be. Brass with a higher copper content will tend to be redder in color than brass with lower copper content.
bronze: An alloy of copper zinc and sometimes tin, producing a deep reddish-brown color. We can approximate the color of bronze by antiquing a brass coin.
bucket: White plastic containers with lids used to ship tokens.
capsule: A round or square container (usually plastic) that snaps together and holds a coin or token. Capsules are usually used to preserve coins or tokens from oxidation and to make the presentation of the coin more impressive.
bill changer/token dispenser: A machine that makes change and/or dispenses tokens when currency is inserted.
coin blank: See planchet.
coin mechanism (mech): The part of a coin-operated machine (vending, arcade, or other) into which a coin or token drops. The mechanism either accepts the coin or token or rejects it. Coin mechanisms come in various levels of sophistication and operate based on the size of the coin. There are also coin mechs available that can distinguish between different alloys. We sell mechs for every size of coin we make up to and including 1.125", as well as a .984 & quarter combination mechanism, or combo mech.
combo mech: A coin mechanism that accepts both .984 tokens & quarters.
cradle: The part of a coin mechanism that "catches" the coin as it comes through the slot. Cradles can be replaced without replacing the coin mech. Sometimes referred to as a cradle arm
custom token or coin: A coin designed specifically for use by one customer, with the customer's name, logo, etc.
density: Density is the mass(M) divided by the volume(V) D=M/V. Density has a dimension of grams/cubic centimeter. Zinc is a lighter metal than copper because it has a lower density.
die: An engraved or etched tool, which is put into a coin press and impresses an image onto a coin blank. The image on the die is a negative impression of what will be struck on the coin.
element: A substance which has the same number of protons; the basic building block of the periodic chart.
engraving: A die-making process in which the design of a three dimensional die is mechanically traced from a pattern and cut into the surface of a die. Engraving can be done automatically, or manually.
face plate: The flat piece of metal or plastic on the front of a coin operated device (such as a vending machine or video game) that has a coin slot cut in it and covers the coin mech.
flip: Vinyl coin cover with 1 or 2 pockets. Tokens or coins are inserted and sealed in coin holders or vinyl flips to preserve them in a collection.
gauge: The thickness of a token. The lower the number, the thicker the token; e.g. 10 gauge is thicker than 15 gauge.
Janvier: An engraving machine that automatically traces the image on a mold onto a die.
nickel silver: See alloy 752.
obverse: The front of a coin.
pantograph: An engraving machine that a die-maker uses to trace a design or image manually onto a die.
patina: The discoloration of a metallic surface due to oxidation. See Antique.
planchet: A rimmed, round, flat metal shape (at Hoffman Mint, it is usually made of brass, although occasionally zinc or some other metal) used to make coin blanks.
proof: A coin that is struck several times on a highly polished planchet to obtain an extremely clear, lustrous finish.
reverse: The back of a coin.
riddle: To pass blanks through a specially made sieve in order to separate blanks of different diameters.
strike: To hit a coin blank with a die or dies to produce an image on the coin.
three-dimensional (high relief): A die or coin that consists of surfaces of varying heights, such as a United States coin. People's faces, intricate designs, etc., are usually three-dimensional or 3D.
zinc: Zinc is a metallic element which is a dull silver color. Zinc tokens should be plated with some other metal. Zinc tokens are about 13% in weight than brass tokens of the same size.