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Photography in Numismatics

Did you know it is very easy to take a photo and keep a record of your coin collection?

All you need are these three items: –

1 A Smart phone or camera

2 Scales (preferable with a capacity of 100g & graduation of 0.01g)

3 Callipers (preferable digital with a capacity of 150mm & graduation of 0.01mm)

The Scales and the Callipers can be purchased locally or via eBay for under €20.00 each.

When I receive a new coin, I photograph both sides and if necessary, also the coin’s edge. Then I download the photos on to my computer. I combine the photos into one image using Photoshop. I then weigh and measure the coin and if it is a milled coin (press-minted coin) I note the coin’s rotation. Then I identify the coin using my book, or the online catalogue in my website to which owners of my book are given free access. All this information is then added to the combined photo.

As I photograph many coins, I have invested in a high quality DSLR camera, and a Copy Stand with appropriate lighting, but now-a-days most smart phones can take good quality photos.

When taking the photo, making sure that the phone is steady, and in focus. You can do this by placing the phone on something like a drinking glass about 10cm high. By tapping the screen, the camera focuses and then by pinching the screen it increases or decreases the size of the image. This is how my iPhone works but I am sure it also applies to other smart phones. You can also, by moving your finger up or down on the right-hand side of the screen, adjust the brightness of the image. Always try to fill the screen entirely with the image without cutting off any of the coin.

Take a photo of the first side and then without readjusting the setting turn the coin over and take a photo of the other side. Now if the edge of the coin needs photographing you may need to stand the coin upright by placing it into a piece of Blue Tack but remember to refocus. Then email the photos to yourself and place them into a folder. You may like to make an Excel spread sheet to record the coins’ details.



Before storing my coins, I place them into a coin capsule that protects the coin and I add a note with the coins’ GATT number, date, and population. All my information is stored in my computer and is also backed up and stored on the cloud.

If you would like me to record your coins to my database, please contact me via email or Messenger. I also keep all images of other collections in a personal folder in the cloud and make the folders available to each of those collectors. As a precaution, should I be hit by a bus, I have given access to my cloud database to a member of MNS.



John Gatt


my book may be purchased from http://www.mns,mt/shop


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