Hammer striking is the oldest method of coinage. It was used from the 7th century BC, when coins were first invented, up to the18th century. With this technique, the lower die, or form, sits in a kind of anvil, a hard, heavy wooden block. The coin blank is put on top of the anvil die. Then the upper die, a punch, is positioned on the blank, and struck hard with a hammer. It is not easy to produce clear images with this method. The coin has to be minted with one blow, because repeated blows produce double strikes.
The hammer striking method remains practically unchanged for about 2200 years. Only in the 16th century are new coinage techniques introduced.