How to make a lovely ring from a coin

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Just make sure it’s legal where you do it…

Currency Act, RSC 1985, c C-52, s 11

(1) No person shall, except in accordance with a licence granted by the Minister, melt down, break up or use otherwise than as currency any coin that is current and legal tender in Canada.

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As a numismatist I’m cringing over this. It’s bad enough for me when people punch holes in coins to make jewelry. I’m all about preserving coins even if the ones I’m most interested in collecting are cheap foreign coins with very little value even to most other collectors. The real value I find in coins is that they’re miniature works of art.

And this project puts the coin’s design on the inside, making it invisible most of the time. If you want to turn a metal disk into a plain ring why not use a slug?


Instead of hammering the edge with a hammer, he suggests tapping it with a spoon… for hours.

If you don’t have that kind of time, you can just drop it on a marble or concrete floor. That’ll make it ring, albeit for a shorter period.


The States have a similar law, but it only applies in cases of fraud… this one sounds like an accidental overreach—if just “using” a coin is a crime, what about doing, say, this:

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I’m highly suspicious that this is trolling to waste people’s time.

driving trollies? Wasting people’s time? On the internet? Come on!


Also, you aren’t allowed to melt down pennies. (Which you might otherwise want to do since they contain more than a penny’s worth of zinc.)

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Yeah, I don’t like this method as it leaves the coin design on the inside. Another technique I’ve seen involves making a hole in the center of the coin and then using a metal punch and hammer to flip the inside of the coin outwards, making it the outside face of the coin. It does involve owning some tools but it seemed easy

A fun estimating task, actually: how much would it cost to acquire enough pennies, melt them down, extract the zinc, and cast it into one salable 3.5lb ingot?

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I’ve made quite a few rings with coins, both as gifts and for myself. I tried the spoon, it wasn’t quick at all, but it slowly worked. You have to apply quite a punch with it. I tried a 7oz hammer too. That basically ruined a ring. My favorite tools to use when making a ring are both a jewelers hammer and a jewelers/mini anvil. It’s easy to move those around and you can walk over to a park or sit outside and hammer it out. Gentle taps with the hammer. Always gentle. Also, pre 1963 half dollars(Ben Franklin) have a great silver content and don’t turn your fingers green.


I can confirm that this was popular with teenagers in Sacramento, California, in the mid-1960s. I think I still have one that I made somewhere.

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You know who would be good at this?

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That’s my style of collecting as well, I always make a beeline for the bargain bins when I visit a coin shop. Like you I’ve found that coin collecting can be a gateway to studying and further understanding art, design, history, geography, politics, languages, metallurgy and other subjects.

While I also find the deliberate mutilation of coins to be cringe-inducing at times - especially for highly collectible coins, altered coins in the forms of jewelry, hobo nickels, love tokens, decorative inlays, etc. are legitimate folk art…

I’ve used junk silver coins to make jewelry in the past myself - which would make some collectors freak out, but there is just so MUCH of the stuff out there and it’s just being hoarded as bullion.

I bought one of this guy’s coin rings. Here’s how he does it.


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