Hammered coins were produced by placing a blank piece of metal a planchet or flan of the correct weight between two dies and then striking the upper die with a hammer to produce the required image on both sides. The planchet was usually cast from a mould The bottom die (sometimes called the anvil die) was usually counter sunk in a log or other sturdy surface and was called a pile. One of the minters held the die for the other side called the tresel in his hand while it was struck either by himself or an assistant.
suggests that a lower die could be expected to last for up to 10,000 strikes depending on the level of wear deemed acceptable. Upper dies seem to have a far greater range of lives with usable lives ranging from just over 100 strikes to nearly 8000 being reported. Combining archaeological evidence with historic records suggests ancient coin producers (in this case the could get as many as 47,000 strikes out of an individual die.