Stock dies are coin dies that the mint has available to be used for impressing either side of a given coin. Using such a die can save considerable money in the minting of a custom coin.
Here’s why: Two dies are required to mint any coin, one for the obverse and one for the reverse. Newly creating each of these from an original artwork incurs some significant costs, depending on the detail of the art and whether a plaster sculpt is created. Following the sculpt, the die must be machined, polished and then heat treated.
All of this process is eliminated from the use of stock dies because such dies are already in the inventory of dies at Northwest Territorial mint. Many popular fire department subjects are covered, among them maltese cross themes, Saint Florian, fire bugles, firefighters in action and much more. For a look at many stock die subjects, please see the section of this site on symbols used in firehouse coins. Also visit our gallery, where you will find many stock die subjects, complete with our die number, shown as the last item in the caption.
Using a stock die for one side of a coin, but a custom die for the other is a way to get a custom-looking result with your department name and insignia, but with costs associated with only one die. Another option for very small departments is to use a stock die for both sides and engrave departmental or individual name or message into one side of the coin. A number of stock dies were designed with specifically that option in mind, which produces a handsome result at an affordable cost for small coin quantities.