Numismatic Photography—Key Component if Buying Online | Silver Coins

Numismatic Photography—Key Component if Buying Online

Earlier this year I posted a Coingrader Capsule titled “Hit and Miss Bargains,” explaining how I had offered up on some auction houses that fail to upgrade their photography so that buyers can grade lots accurately and know on what they are bidding.

1 of the homes that was “hit and miss” for me over the years was Gary Ryther Auctioneers of Lawson, Missouri. I have lengthy admired Gary for his ethics and in-house shipping policies, but his photography was lacking through 2011. For starters, he took images on the slant rather than straight on, which tends to highlight luster at the expense of detail, specially on DMPL coins. See an instance below (click to expand)


I have written about how to inform mirrors on Morgans and cameos on Franklins. See this post. It’s not possible to inform if a raw coin in fact is a DMPL unless the photography is keen. See this instance under of a coin from an additional auctioneer described as DMPL that wasn’t upon receipt of the lot.


This year Gary Ryther focused on improving his photography. “You have been the initial a single to encourage me,” he mentioned. “Now we continuously enhance and are enthused about photogaphy since we’re performing normal coin auctions and have earned a reputation promoting coins. A single of our employees, Annitte Caldwell, requires our pictures now.”

What a difference Caldwell has made! Appear at the 4 shots of this DMPL coin sold in Ryther’s current coin auction on Proxibid.

1878dmpl 1878dmpl1

1878dmpl2 1878dmpl3

Caldwell utilizes a Canon Rebel T3i 600d SLR and an Epson Perfection V600 scanner. “Due to the fact all coins appear to have their personal issues,” she says, “I go back and forth amongst the two.”

“I started taking coin photos about a year ago for Gary Ryther. Up till then I never thought any much more about coins but what I could purchase with them. But now I see them in a distinct view.” Caldwell’s only goal is to try to shoot a coin close and in focus so that not only the people in the auction property can view them and type their own opinion/grade but that the people on the internet can also have the very same view and be in a position to make an opinion with no doubts.

I won this 1820 MS61 ANACS-slabbed big date cent with a bid of $ 300. It really is on its way to PCGS, since if it crosses at MS60, we’re nonetheless looking at a $ 500 coin. But I by no means would have bid on this that higher had not Caldwell taken exceptional shots of the lot.

1820-1 1820rev-2

1820obv 1820rev-new

How did Caldwell manage these distinct shots that sold a coin purely on the strength of her photography?

“The initial two photographs had been scanned. I found a wonderful scanner plan from, named VUESCAN, which tends to make the operate go a lot quicker, and can output up to 2400dpi, and makes it possible for me to scan an whole flatbed of coins and output the final results to distinct files.” She set the Epson scanner at 24-bit colour and 600dpi output to JPG files.

“The other [close-up] two photographs had been shot with the Canon T3i. I utilised the kit lens, an 18-55mm zoom, in conjunction with a 12mm extension tube. A polarizing filter tends to make it feasible to remove glare from plastic or glass. To better and far more effortlessly see the outcomes ahead of time, I have set up an HD Television, connected to the HDMI output. This makes focusing a snap, specifically since the camera enables me to zoom even in reside view and get the focus correct to a fine degree.”

Caldwell says she finds that making use of a tripod and a remote shutter release also assist refine the sharpness. “Benefits are observed instantaneously, and the file can be judged up or down quickly. Retakes are normally a matter of adjusting a light or fine-tuning a focus point.”

“Not possessing to touch the camera to release the shutter is a large aspect,” she adds. “A remote release, or at the quite least a time-delay following the shutter is pressed and ahead of the shot is really taken, tends to make a huge distinction in sharpness and quality. Being able to set the time-delay for 2 seconds alternatively of ten clearly tends to make for a friendlier operate-setting.”

Moreover, she shoots in “raw image format,” or minimally processed mode–technically, a digital damaging. “The benefits of shooting in RAW, then adjusting the White Balance so that the resulting image most closely resembles the original, far outweigh considerations of file size, storage specifications, and personal computer response time.”

As often, Caldwell says, photography comes down to light. “Controlling the light, angles, intensity, direction, colour, all add up to a greater final item. Any amount of function put into controlling light good quality is far more than repaid in the finish.”

Her basic setup is two light sources, one particular above, the other nearer a flat angle to the subject. “This allows sufficient lighting on the object, along with relief lighting from the side light. Both are on Dimmers for less difficult and faster manage. It is specific that with any big lot, speed is critical. In our property, it takes second spot to quality of image, for essential and apparent motives.”

Caldwell is consistently enhancing her numismatic photography. “I consider the next perform-situation I will have to address is light temperature. The bulbs utilised here seem to degrade the longer they are on, from white to yellow-white, to more yellow. I will have to find a source for bulbs I can rely on to stay correct.”

We commend Caldwell’s professionalism and Gary Ryther for understanding that the coin-acquiring planet is gravitating toward World wide web and so need to rely on sharp, expandable photos so bidders can ascertain grade and situation.

Would that other folks stick to their lead but if not, I know exactly where I am bidding.

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