I've just finished making another batch of Christmas pudding coins over the last few days.
As I've been working I snapped a few photos so you can see some of the work that goes into these sets of coins. They take quite some time and effort to get made, with various processes to be completed and fingers to be worn out from sanding! To the left is what they look like when they're done.
Below to the left below are sheets of fine silver which have been cleaned of all dust and oils before having the pudding coin illustrations applied. The sheets are then coated on the back and around the edges with a resist and left for several hours to dry.
Later the front of each sheet is extensively touched up by hand with resist to ensure the etch only removes the illustrations. Again the sheets are left to dry.
Once the sheets are ready to be etched they are carefully cleaned again and any additional touching up is done. They are then submerged into an etching solution for several hours, with regular checks and turning of the sheets being done. This process removes a portion of the exposed silver to recess each illustration into the silver.
After etching, the resist is removed from each sheet - always the messiest and least fun part of the process! The sheets are again cleaned thoroughly. The recessed illustrated areas are then carefully painted by hand with a blackening solution, ensuring all the recessed parts are blackened and that the blackening doesn't cover too much of the rest of each coin.
To the right above you can see the coins after they've been punched out by hand. This is before the edges have been filed to soften them and the sanding process to take back the blackening so that just the recessed areas are black.
Sanding is completed by hand using various fine grades of sandpaper to give each one of the coins a brushed but shiny finish.
The coins are then tumbled in a rotating machine filled with stainless steel shot and a polishing compound. This makes them bright and shiny. To the left you can see a batch fresh out of the tumbler and finally ready to be packed.
The coins are then wrapped carefully and put into gift boxes with Christmas pudding and brandy sauce recipes. To the right you can see the gift boxes all tied with a red and white ribbon and ready to be sent.
This whole process can take 2-3 days to complete - which is why it can be difficult to keep up with demand at this end of the year.
Christmas pudding coins in stock
As I write the Christmas pudding coins are currently in stock and ready to be sent. I'm unlikely to be making more until some time in December so if you'd like a set or two it's best to get in quick.
Note that the process we use for making our coins has changed substantially since this blog post was written.