Definition:A planchet is a prepared disc-shaped metal blank onto which the devices of a coin image are struck or pressed. The metal disc is called a blank until the time it passes through the upsetting machine which causes the rim to be raised. Once it has a rim, the disc is called a planchet.
The phases of a coins beginnings!
When referring to ancient coins, and coins which were made from cast metal discs rather than machined metal discs, the generally preferred term is flan.
There are really no hard and fast rules about the usage of these terms in ancient coin collecting, and you will sometimes hear ancient coin blanks referred to as “planchets”, even though they were made from cast metal. In modern machine-made coinage, the distinction is very clear: the disk is a stamped metal “blank” before getting the rim, and a “planchet” afterwards. A coin that is ready to be stamped is a “Blank” or a “Slug” – From What is a Planchet? from About.com
The cost of producing United Kingdom coins varies according to the specification of each denomination. The value of metal in each coin accounts for a large part of the total cost, but it is also necessary to take into consideration the broader costs of the manufacturing process. These vary according to the complexity of the coin. The Royal Mint does not reveal exactly how much it costs to make specific coins as such information could be used to its competitors’ advantage.”
While there is speculation that mints worldwide have similar issues to the US, I will focus on US coins. It is generally acknowledged that the mint spends more on manufacturing pennies and nickels than than they are worth.
The coins (and notes) are minted to be as unique and resistant to copying as possible. As such, many of our minted coins are made of valuable metals vs. cheap alloys. sometimes these metals exceed the value of the coins. Even “cheap” metals, like zinc (used as a filler to reduce the copper content in a penny) have increased in cost over time.
Production is in the US, by Federal employees, paid on government pay grade. Private companies and other governments may be able to produce cheaper coins, but these are not backed fully by the US Government…
US Coins have a lot of detail (detail = expense) to prevent counterfeiters and criminals from stamping out copies of US Coins. This extreme attention to detail (like seeing President Lincoln sitting in the Lincoln Memorial – see penny below) is visible under magnification. “The Lincoln cent (or sometimes called Lincoln penny) is a one-cent coin that has been struck by the United States Mint since 1909. The obverse or heads side was designed by Victor David Brenner, as was the original reverse.” – From Wikipedia
If you click on it, the penny image will open in a new tab, and you can magnify it further using your browsers zoom settings.