About five or six weeks ago I was listening to an edition of the Podcacher podcast. In the episode, Sonny and Sandy went to a geocoin event somewhere in California and interviewed collectors. This got me thinking that it would be a lot of fun to produce a geocoin for the Go And Get ‘Em event being held at the end of April. I talked to my friend geoSquid (aka Darin) about it and we created a quick concept drawing and decided on how the coins would be finished. (We decided to produce 5 satin gold finish coins for ourselves only, 20 antique gold coins, 20 antique silver coins and 60 antique copper coins. The decision to make the bulk of them in antique copper rather than the more commonly used antique brass was made at the last minute and based on the pictures we received, we’re glad we did!) I did up some artwork using Adobe Illustrator CS2 while Darin contacted a number of mints who produce geocoins that are trackable on geocaching.com for quotes. We ended up selecting OakCoins and placed an order.
Here is the original concept sketch:
Compare it to the final artwork we sent to OakCoins:
As you can see, there were some changes. We both felt that having the GAG across the roman numerals was a) redundant since the name of the event it just above it, and b) too busy. So it disappeared. Oh, and we put the right dates in, too.
The artwork on the back was basically what we originally discussed. The coordinates for Ottawa were added to fill in the “white space” in the notch where Gatineau is. I looked at including the Quebec side of the river in the artwork but the very distinctive shape of the City of Ottawa got lost and it was harder to identify what it was a map of. I also considered adding the major roads, but couldn’t decide whether those were the 417, 174 and 416 or those highways plus rodas like Baseline Road, Bank Street, the Airport Parkway, Ottawa River Parkway. When I played with those options, the map became very cluttered. For those wondering, the black lines are the neighbourhoods that make up Ottawa.
Because the coins are produced using dies and the colours on the back are enamels, our artwork needed to be converted to an engraved form that took into account the fact that the enamels are in recesses and grooves in the metal. A couple of days after we submitted the artwork, they sent us a proof to approve.
We both reviewed it and felt it accurately portrayed our vision for the coin and gave them the go-ahead to mint the coins. This was the Point of No Return. Dies were being made, credit card numbers submitted and thus we were committed to the project.
About two weeks later, they sent us pictures of our coins. The best ones to compare to the artwork above are probably the satin gold coins.
We haven’t actually received the coins yet, but we should sometime in the next few days.
Another thing we did in parallel with the artwork process was get the word out to the local geocaching community that we were producing coins. We did this a number of ways, including telling people and showing them the artwork at a get together at the beginning of April. We also posted a note to the GAG 8 event page telling people about it and I created a website (http://gag8geocoin.pinetree.org) using Adobe GoLive CS2. It didn’t take long for the reservations to start rolling in. In just a few days over half of the coins have been spoken for.
Originally, we had wondered whether we would cover our costs on the project — or perhaps more accurately, how much we would lose on the project. I realized early on that if we had any coins left over, we’d almost certainly be able to unload them on eBay. It’s looking like we won’t have any problems selling all of the coins to local geocachers.
We decided not to collect money from people until we had the coins in hand. Most people have asked for two or three coins. At $11 each, this could quickly become a large amount of money to give to people you don’t know very well for something that doesn’t actually exist at the time. To put it in perspective, most geocoins cost around $6 or $7. But those are coins that have much larger production runs than our 105 (of which 5 aren’t for sale).
Only a few more days until we receive the coins from the mint. I can’t wait to see the real thing!
Oh, and if you would like to reserve a GAG 8 Geocoin, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.