Pin Points – The finer points of ordering coins and medallions

You have a number of options to consider when ordering coins and medallions (basically just larger lapel pins without the nail and clutch!) And the same issues regarding lapel pins also need to be considered with coins and medallions.

Size definitely drives the price. And when considering size, think in terms of surface area, not the diameter. A 1 ½” coin is approx. 1 3/4 square inches. A 3” coin is approx. 7 square inches. So although you may think it is twice the size, it is almost four times the size. That significantly impacts pricing, not to mention freight charges.

Please make sure to discuss the use of the item. If it is a challenge coin, most are from 1 ½” to 2”. A coin that is close to 3” is generally used as a desk paperweight. A medallion with a neck ribbon can be as small as 1 ½” or as large as 3”.

Thickness is another variable. It impacts the overall weight and feel of the product, and it definitely impacts pricing. Certain processes below have a minimum or maximum threshold. Let us explain the opportunities.

There are many ways to produce a coin. I will discuss the four most common here.

1) Die struck brass. The most expensive. Heavier than the other options below. And to a coin aficionado, the only way to proceed.
2) Die struck iron. Much less expensive. The metal is lighter, and it is also more porous. Not recommended for coins or medallions if there is very little color coverage, as the porous metal does not plate well.
3) Injection cast zinc aluminum. In much larger quantities, it can be even less expensive than iron. To the naked eye, there is no difference between this and the die struck coins. It is about 30% lighter in weight.
4) Spin cast. Least expensive. Unlike the other three above, they are not hand polished. Although the lowest price, clearly not a suitable item for awards, recognition, etc. Strictly a price point, compromising quality for the savings.

It is important that we understand the expectations of the buyer. Have they done it in the past? Do they have someone else’s coin?

Do “apples to apples” come to mind?

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