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Lapped, Lapping

Lapped, Lapping.  Polishing with a rapidly revolving fine abrasive disk. Lapping is used to smooth a surface in chasing, in proof polishing a die, or in retooling or retouching a die. Fine detail, as the serifs on letters, is the first to disappear with inappropriate lapping. It is also the cause of missing detail on heavily polished dies, as drapery, the three-legged Buffalo nickel, the broken-nose Mercury dime, engraver's initials and others. Hand lapping can also be done with a long handled lapping stick, sometimes without removing the die from the press. Laps are most often made of wood in several shapes.  See buffing and polishing.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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