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C.D. Harrell's Blog

26 Jun 2022

Photogenic Miss. Liberty

Coins | C.D. Harrell

In today’s world, an image of a coin is nothing but a click away. Auction sites and many other platforms have technology that allows you to magnify the smallest of details by the touch of a finger. Often these photos are of the coin only, which itself is a beautiful work of art, culture, and history. With that said, on the occasion I find myself wanting more imagery context with the coin. Questions I ask are, what tools did this numismatist use to view, magnify, study, catalog and identify the specimen being photographed. I understand none of this is necessary for the research or purchase of a coin, but it is a small piece of provenance that can be tacked onto the life history of such a coin. Think about it this way, choose the favorite coin of your collection, wouldn’t you like to have a photo of that exact coin from 100 years ago? Me too.

With that thought in mind, I awoke this morning with an idea. To test my photography skills – or lack thereof - and take some uncharacteristic photos of my most recent numismatic purchase and addition to the coin cabinet. The 1835 Capped Bust Half Dollar in PCGS AU 58 condition is the lead model for the photos. Along with the Bust half I have included my grandfather's magnifying glass which I use for sentimental and practical reasons to view my larger coins. My leather notebook with black ink pen where I document purchase prices for my higher end coins, along with notes relating them to historical events. The most recent edition of the magazine publication “The Numismatist” and finally one of my favorite stogies, the 2018 Cigar Aficionados cigar of the year, Perez Carrillo Encore.

I have made the three photographs I took this morning the cover images for this article. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised how the turned out. I’m turning 25 next month, maybe I will buy myself something special for the coin cabinet and take some photographs for the next generation of numismatists.

I’m curious, how do you think the photos turned out? Do you have any suggestions for taking coin photos that depict other numismatic tools? What’s your favorite coin related photograph you or someone else has taken?

Thanks for viewing and reading, I’m looking forward to the next one.

Comments

Mal_ANA_YN

Level 5

Always an issue as many have stated.

Kepi

Level 6

Enjoyed your blog very much! Your photos are amazing! I really like how you displayed items with the coin! ; )

Long Beard

Level 5

A very enjoyable read. Your photos are spot on, that with the magnifying glass looks quite professional. Oh, I like Partagas 1845 Clasico's myself.

C.D. Harrell

Level 4

Thank you, I will have to add the Partagas to my list!

Longstrider

Level 6

Great shots. I like the art you have added to the photos. Using items with some sentimental value to you adds a great deal. I love the cover photo shot you did. Keep it up.

C.D. Harrell

Level 4

I appreciate it!

AC coin$

Level 6

You are not just a professional, you are a great professional. Yours is an ample and admirable collection. Since I entered this site, I have enjoyed it. When taking photos one must certainly be creative and work with whatever medium we have available, light and composition of space and background. Money items are rather hard to take pics at any time. Natural light is helpful .too. When being creative with your coins, use colores flat surfaces or paper backgrounds. Color makes the coin or bill jump to sight...beware of colors since not all of them are ok. Check my cent blogs and you will find out. Good luck.

C.D. Harrell

Level 4

I absolutely agree with the naturel light aspect of taking photos. It adds a sense of warmth to a picture. Thanks for reading!

Mike

Level 7

Good shots. I take my shots with my cell phone. They come out ok. Not the old ones the camera was going. I find it hard to get through the slab somehow it works. For my articles I send them to coins by Gary. He's a professional. Charges a small fee. But for an article I want the best possible. I have a great Nikon. But not comparable with my tablet. Keep up the good work detail is always important in showing coins! Don't give up!

C.D. Harrell

Level 4

Thanks for the comment Mike. Who do you write articles for? Where can go to read them? Thanks.

Rebelfire76

Level 4

I like the idea and vantage points provided by your photos. That being said I’m not a photographer, just a collector. I have a hard enough time taking decent pictures of my coins to help track my collection. Too a certain extent, I have found scanning a coin on a high resolution scanner, captures detail quite nicely, but a coin with a lot luster can also cause quite a reflection. As such, keep up both the photographs and the collection, and if you have any pointers for taking pictures of coins, don’t hesitate to send some my way.

C.D. Harrell

Level 4

Rebelfire76, thank you for the comment. Reading other comments it sounds like the best way to get in close to photograph a coins detail is a digital microscope. user_14559 suggested the Elikliv digital microscope. I am going to do some research, and may be purchasing one soon. Thanks.

user_14559

Level 2

Great set of photos. I'd say you did a good job. Also, the 1835 Capped Bust Half Dollar is a good looking coin. You may want to add a digital microscope to your birthday list. I got one made by Elikliv and you can see incredible detail on coins using it. Most models also include a camera, so that can be another way to see your coins in a new light and to document your collection.

C.D. Harrell

Level 4

Elikliv, noted! Thank you for the suggestion, I will do some research. I have heard of the digital microscopes but was not sure what brand to go with. Thanks again.

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