Obsolete Die. A die no longer useable for striking; one incapable of producing perfect strikes, or whose use has been revoked. Obsolete dies are usually the ones used to create restrikes. Some obsolete dies are cancelled, by obliterating a portion of the striking surface (so perfect specimens cannot be struck). Other obsolete dies are placed in archives, most are scrapped, but some dies end up in collectors’ hands. Some mints retain obsolete dies. The Paris Mint, for example, has thousands of such dies. These are stored in die vaults that control the humidity to prevent rusting. Despite this, most obsolete dies exhibit evidence of use, often extensive wear, rust, corrosion, or even sinking. Also old dies do become somewhat brittle in time.
excerpted with permission from
An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology
For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators
COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY D. WAYNE JOHNSON
Roger W. Burdette, Editor