How a commemorative is made.
Commemorative coins are available in both 2-D and 3-D based on your design.
2-D artwork means the surfaces on the finished coin are fixed, meaning only a high and a low as shown here. Two dimensional artwork takes less labor to create the coining die, therefore 2-D designs are the most affordable choice.
3-D artwork means the surfaces on the finished coin are not fixed, but show the highs, lows and all the in-betweens as shown here.
If the artwork is three dimensional, the design is first drawn up, then hand sculpted by an artist into clay.
A negative image of the sculpture is made in epoxy and used to engrave the design into a coining die. This coining die is heat treated, tempered and polished to withstand approximately 180 tons of pressure. It takes two dies to strike up a commemorative coin.
The same coining die for a commemorative coin can be used to make custom keyfobs.