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Dies production and statistics

By Patrick Glassford    |   Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Only Royal Canadian Mint reports from 1935 to 1962, with the exception of 1936, contain information regarding the life and usage of dies. In 1935, the average number of coins struck per die was 69,224 while in 1962 it rose to 186,230. A significant increase of 300% in 27 years.

1935

  • Total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for striking was 458
  • The average of 1-cent coins produced per die pair was 295,153
  • The average of $ 1 coins produced per die pair was 7,500
  • For all denominations, the average number of coins produced per die pair was 69,244

1936

Not data available.

1937

Total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for coining was 856.

1938

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cent 18,365,608 108 96 92 68 229,570
5 cents 3,898,974 54 48 47 34 96,271
10 cents 4,197,323 132 156 146 142 29,148
25 cents 3,149,245 114 239 84 222 20,583
50 cents 192 018 0 18 4 5 42 671
1 dollar 90,304 48 6 3 1 45,152
Total 29,893,472 456 563 376 472 Average: 77,232

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 848. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for minting was 1,134 and 111 for the Dominican Republic coins.

1939

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cent 21,600,319 204 175 213 147 120,002
5 cents 5,661,123 72 75 49 36 133,202
10 cents 5,501,748 108 123 108 110 50,474
25 cents 3,532,494 36 147 58 138 36,046
50 cents 287,976 27 17 12 11 25,041
1 dollar 1 363 816 172 148 188 104 9 341
Total 37,947,477 619 685 628 446 Average: 64,646

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,174. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 1,304.

1940

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cent 85,740,532 372 363 363 347 247,156
5 cents 13,920,197 108 117 123 107 121,045
10 cents 16 526 470 358 458 345 442 41 998
25 cents 9,583,650 234 404 252 400 29,398
50 cents 1,996,566 78 96 98 92 21,016
Total 127,767,415 1,150 1,438 1,181 1,388 Average: 99,476

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 2,569. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 2,588.

1941

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cent 56,336,011 462 385 483 374 131,473
5 cents 8,681,785 84 85 93 82 99,220
10 cents 8,716,386 160 383 167 379 31,928
25 cents 6,654,672 186 239 184 238 31,539
50 cents 1,717,874 60 39 59 33 37,280
Total 82,103,728 952 1,131 986 1,106 Average: 78,493

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 2,092. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for minting was 2,191 including the Newfoundland ones.

1942

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 76,113,708 385 277 229,950
5 cents 10,243,778 93 90 111,954
10 cents 10,214,011 258 245 40,612
25 cents 6,935,871 236 240 29,142
50 cents 1,974,165 90 47 28,820
Total 105,481,533 1,062 899 Average: 105,579

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,961. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 2,058.

Owing to the difficulty of purchasing consistently high-grade die steel, the saving of dies in the Press Room was given the greatest consideration. An all-out effort was made to have coin blanks annealed sufficiently soft, bent blanks picked out in roll-sorting to prevent clashes, and each operator trained to give every care to the conservation of coinage dies. About 50 per cent of the one-cent and five-cent dies were chromium-plated. The results proved that the wearing qualities of these dies would he greatly increased by chromium-plating if cracking in the steel did not occur too soon after being set up in the press. As many as 700,000 pieces were struck from a chromium-plated die.

- Royal Canadien Mint report, 1942.

1943

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 89,111,969 421 331 237,000
5 cents 24,760,256 352 323 73,364
10 cents 21,143,229 709 535 33,992
25 cents 13,559,575 456 491 28,426
50 cents 3,109,583 168 118 21,745
Total 151,684,612 2,106 1,798 Average: 77,707

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 3,904. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for forging was 3,912.

Every effort and precaution was used to overcome breakages and increase the life of coinage dies, but the rapid pace necessary to strike 3,000,000 coins per week. coupled with inexperienced operators on the coining, presses, caused a considerable reduction in the average number of pieces struck by each pair of dies. All denominations except the one-cent show an increase in the number of dies used.

The manufacture of coinage dies, especially in war time, presents one of the most elusive problems involved in minting. The dies transform a disc of metal into a coin of the realm and therefore require much care and intelligence in their preparation. Owing to the difficult of procuring consistently high grade die steel erratic results in the length of die life tax the ingenuity of the Die Department to produce dies which will stand the strain of 100 tons pressure striking coins at 100 pieces per minute for the maximum period of time. All improved understanding of the requirements necessary to die steel has led to the only logical conclusion that Control, rigid and absolute, is most essential to increased die life. Control, that is, the time of heating, the rate of heating, the temperature, distortion, atmosphere within the furnace to prevent oxidation, must be under the complete control of the operator.

Authority was granted for the Mint to purchase the most modern Die Hardening and Tempering equipment available, which gives the Control desired. It is expected that lengthened die life will result in a worth while saving in the cost of steel used for our dies, and an increase in coin production, which is most important.

- Royal Canadien Mint report, 1943.

1944

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 44,131,216 215 174 226,896
5 cents 11,532,784 348 364 32,395
10 cents 9,383,582 436 384 22,887
25 cents 7,216,237 276 282 25,865
50 cents 2,460,205 127 101 21,581
Total 74,724,024 1,402 1,305 Average: 58,208

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 2,707. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for forging was 2,857.

1945

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 77,268,591 129 95 689,989
5 cents 18,893,216 271 306 65,488
10 cents 10,979,570 268 204 46,524
25 cents 5,296,495 104 132 44,886
50 cents 1,959,528 51 42 42,140
1 dollar 38,391 8 12 3,839
Total 114,435,791 831 791 Average: 141,105

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,622. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for forging was 1,543.

Every effort has been made during the last few years to increase the number of coins struck by each die or pair of dies. After much study and research more satisfactory results in lengthened die life are at last being achieved. Careful selection of the most suitable die steel for Mint work; efficient heat-treatment of the steel die in progress and proper hardening and tempering of the finished die; chromium plating the design of all dies; correct annealing of the silver and copper blanks for coinage; and constant training of the press operators, appears responsible for the increase of over 150% in the number of pieces struck per pair. One pair of one cent dies struck over 5,000,000 coins before being discarded through the wearing away of the design.

There is no doubt that the working dies, prepared under our present heat-treating equipment and using the above-mentioned precautions, would strike a greater number of silver coins if the annealing methods to soften the blanks before striking into coins could he modernized. At present the blanks are placed in iron pots heated to a cherry red, around 1200 F., in an electric oven, and then plunged into cold water. The energy that is unnecessarily consumed to heat the pots or containers costs as much as the electric power required to heat the blanks within. It is also most difficult to heat the pieces uniformly, as the blanks in the centre cannot absorb the heat as quickly as those nearest the heating element. Although time is allowed for compact saturation or absorption of the heat by the whole body. the method cannot be called efficient, and there are definitely many hard pieces which have not received sufficient annealing, causing excessive breakages of dies in the process of striking.

By the radio frequency generator method of induction heating each work piece is subject to the influence of a varying electro-magnetic field which almost instantaneously uniformly heats each individual blank to-the desired temperature. When plunged into cold water. every piece is annealed at the softness required to bring up a satisfactory design, and being uniformly soft the die life is greatly increased.

The cost of installation may he prohibitive at present, but the reduction in electric power coats for operation of the furnace, great savings in amount of steel used and labour saved in the preparation of dies for minting would eventually more than pay for apparatus of such efficiency.

- Royal Canadien Mint report, 1945.

1946

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 56,662,071 200 168 307,946
5 cents 6,952,684 75 84 86,909
10 cents 6,300,066 193 169 34,807
25 cents 2,210,810 46 78 35,658
50 cents 950,235 24 30 35,194
1 dollar 93,055 48 35 2,215
Total 73,168,921 586 564 Average: 127,250

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,150. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 1,096.

1947

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 31,093,901 175 134 201,255
5 cents 7,603,724 99 93 79,205
10 cents 4,431,926 136 111 35,886
25 cents 1,524,554 32 29 49,985
50 cents 424,885 8 5 65,367
1 dollar 65,695 11 12 4,685
Total 45,144,585 461 389 Average: 106,222

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 850. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 948.

1948

Denomination 1947
Maple Leaf
1948 Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 43,855,448 25,767,779 69,623,227 204 144 400,133
5 cents 9,595,124 1,810,789 11,405,913 120 144 86,408
10 cents 9,638,793 422,741 10,061,534 240 223 43,462
25 cents 4,393,938 2,564,424 6,958,362 189 247 31,919
50 cents 38,433 37,784 76,217 3 3 25,406
1 dollar 21,135 18,780 39,915 9 6 5,322
Total 67,542,871 30,622,297 98,165,168 765 767 Average: 128,153

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,532.

1949

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 31,093,901 73 92 401,563
5 cents 7,603,724 231 202 60,217
10 cents 4,431,926 305 249 40,923
25 cents 1,524,554 187 204 40,864
50 cents 424,885 46 40 19,977
1 dollar 65,695 48 96 8,894
Total 66,980,996 890 881 Average: 75,642

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,771. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 2,273.

The demands made upon this department greatly increased in the past few years, and show considerable expansion in variety and quantity of work undertaken.

The new Janvier reducing machine, with all the latest improvements, was received from Paris, France, and installed early in the year. This machine will be invaluable to the Mint in the reproduction of steel master dies from artists' models. It has already given most satisfactory results, engraving three dimensional reproductions automatically in steel dies to the exact size and precise design of the coin or medal desired, from models sculptured by the Mint Engraver. Although the Mint Engraver is highly skilled in the art of hand engraving either in relief or intaglio, this method is extremely arduous on intricate designs. On occasions it will be necessary, however, when master dies will have to be cut directly in the steel by hand, in cases of expediency, or when only a single design is required. Excellent results can be obtained by either method, but the great advantage of the pantograph machine will be the ability to reproduce master dies either from models prepared by the original artist outside the Mint or from our own models made from approved sketches, or suggestions of motifs submitted in competition, of' any desirable design.

- Royal Canadien Mint report, 1949.

1950

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 60,444,992 166 150 352,563
5 cents 12,669,706 177 100 91,478
10 cents 17,823,595 628 418 34,080
25 cents 9,673,335 222 200 45,845
50 cents 2,384,179 87 40 37,546
1 dollar 301,720 69 52 4,987
Total 103,297,527 1,349 960 Average: 89,474

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 2,309. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 2,484.

1951

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 80,430,379 158 150 522,270
5 cents 12,642,731 192 197 65,848
10 cents 15,079,265 348 267 49,118
25 cents 8,285,599 192 197 42,709
50 cents 2,421,010 55 47 47,471
1 dollar 411,395 111 65 4,675
Total 119,270,379 1,058 917 Average: 120,840

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,975. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for forging was 2,137.

1952

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 68,117,890 170 140 439,470
5 cents 10,921,047 105 108 103,029
10 cents 10,906,655 345 256 36,356
25 cents 8,941,815 223 377 29,806
50 cents 2,606,896 93 66 32,999
1 dollar 417,961 82 58 5,971
Total 101,912,264 1,018 1,005 Average: 100,704

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 2,023. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 2,154.

1953

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 67,806,016 232 163 343,322
5 cents 16,635,552 227 161 85,750
10 cents 17,706,395 451 309 46,596
25 cents 10,456,769 274 223 42,079
50 cents 1,630,429 86 65 21,595
1 dollar 1,074,578 166 82 8,666
Total 115,309,739 1,436 1,003 Average: 94,555

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 2,439. The total number of master dies, hubs and dies produced for typing was 2,685.

1954

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 22,181,760 55 71 352,091
5 cents 6,998,662 132 100 60,333
10 cents 4,493,150 147 120 33,657
25 cents 2,318,891 45 46 50,965
50 cents 506,305 11 14 40,504
1 dollar 246,606 20 15 14,092
Total 36,181,760 410 366 Average: 94,705

The total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 776.

1955

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 56,403,193 215 150 309,058
5 cents 5,355,028 112 98 51,000
10 cents 12,237,294 281 217 49,145
25 cents 9,552,505 217 271 39,149
50 cents 753,511 21 26 32,064
1 dollar 268,105 25 11 14,338
Total 84,569,636 871 773 Average: 102,882

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,644.

1956

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 78,685,535 211 171 411,966
5 cents 9,399,854 120 87 90,820
10 cents 16,732,844 243 169 81,227
25 cents 11,269,353 189 247 51,694
50 cents 1,379,499 53 36 31,000
1 dollar 209,092 52 28 5,227
Total 11,676,177 868 738 Average: 146,546

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,606.

1957

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 100,601,792 348 226 350,529
5 cents 7,387,703 57 37 157,185
10 cents 16,110,229 148 113 123,450
25 cents 12,770,190 158 189 73,603
50 cents 2,171,689 36 44 54,292
1 dollar 496 389 12 6 55 154
Total 139,537,992 759 615 Average: 203,112

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,374.

1958

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 59,385,679 190 111 395,905
5 cents 7,607,521 68 51 128,941
10 cents 10,621,236 130 77 103,119
25 cents 9,336,910 104 142 75,910
50 cents 2,957,226 39 66 56,871
1 dollar 3,039,630 84 65 41,076
Total 92,948,242 615 512 Average: 165,095

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,127.

1959

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 83,615,343 341 185 317,929
5 cents 11,552,523 115 77 120,339
10 cents 19,691,433 266 153 93,993
25 cents 13,503,461 183 211 68,545
50 cents 3,095,535 69 61 47,624
1 dollar 1,443,502 39 55 30,713
Total 132,901,797 1,013 742 Average: 151,455

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,755.

1960

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 75,772,775 269 97 414,059
5 cents 37,157,433 528 360 83,688
10 cents 45,446,835 589 335 98,370
25 cents 22,835,327 283 299 78,472
50 cents 3,488,897 55 17 96,914
1 dollar 1,420,486 72 49 23,479
Total 186,121,753 1,796 1,157 Average: 126,056

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 2,953.

1961

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 139,598,404 164 96 1,073,834
5 cents 47,889,051 234 188 226,962
10 cents 26,850,859 173 139 172,121
25 cents 18,164,368 178 273 80,552
50 cents 18,164,368 178 273 80,552
1 dollar 1,262,231 71 32 24,509
Total 237,349,330 858 756 Average: 294,113

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 1,614.

1962

Denomination Coins produced Number of dies used Coins produced per die pair
Obverse Reverse
1 cent 227,244,069 562 489 434,434
5 cents 46,307,305 451 317 120,592
10 cents 41,864,335 339 264 138,854
25 cents 29,559,266 468 662 52,317
50 cents 5,208,030 70 59 80,745
1 dollar 1,884,789 59 41 37,696
Total 352,067,794 1,949 1,832 Average: 186,230

Total number of dies used (obverse and reverse) was 3,781.

Original article in french, April 19, 2011, Production et utilisation des coins.

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