Why were ancient minters so bad at making round coins with the pattern in the middle?

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[Roman coins often look like total crap, why?](https://miro.medium.com/v2/resize:fit:1400/1*JEAj3t9m9nAwrsFLLTMAQw.jpeg)

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7 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

The goal was not to make a beautiful coin. The goal was to certify the composition of the metal by putting the Big Man’s face on it. The value was 100% in the metal and 0% in the design. Thus, perfection in the design wasn’t considered important.

Coins would commonly be melted and used to make other stuff, or cut into bits to make small change, etc. etc.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Old technology makes perfection on mass produced things hard

To make the coins they had a really big hammer with the seal on it; then they smashed the hammer into the coin leaving the correct imprint

I don’t know about you; but I can’t hit the nailhead at full force 100/100 times

Anonymous 0 Comments

These coins were more of a chunk of gold with a quality stamp, like a seal, on them rather than value representing object we are used to today. This means that the motif just needed to be on it somewhere. Coins were all about their weight rather than face value. Gold coins were used by relatively few people, not commonly traded on a day to day basis, so the ones who used them knew how to value them. Non-centricity can also be attributed to people shaving the edges off making them lighter. Proper coins with face value came later.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It was pretty common to shave off part of coins to collect the metal for free to melt down and use or sell, this is why modern coins have texture on the outer edge.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In Mary Beard’s SPQR, there is a photo of a tomb (iirc), with Roman mint workers depicted on it. Essentially, a guy with a long set of tongs is pulling a heated disk of metal out of an oven. He then positions it over an anvil, and another guy slams it with a big hammer/die. Thats it. It wasn’t a very precise process. And as we know, millions of these things were churned out. I imagine most were considered “good enough”, and those that weren’t just got re-melted and reprocessed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because those coins were ‘struck’ by hand. You get a big hammer and put the reverse imprint of the coin on the face of the hammer. You then swing the hammer and hit the tiny piece of metal to leave an imprint. This process is not very precise. I certainly couldn’t swing a large hammer perfectly all day long and neither could they.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Metal moves in unpredictable ways when you strike it

They did not understand this and did not account for it.

It is still a problem today. You take a flat sheet of metal to make a car panel, you press it into shape, then you have to trim the excess leading to waste. So why don’t I take the pressed piece and make a perfect template so I don’t have waste. Well what happens is you can’t perfectly predict how metal will move so you don’t get any good pieces produced from your template, you just need to have more and trim the waste.