Jump to content

question about geocoins and signature items


Firespinner
Followers 3

Recommended Posts

ok....I hate to do this, but I'm still not understand a couple things. I know, I know,.......another newbie who can't figure things out....lol. Bear with me. I have read the FAQ's and many of the forums and a few things are still unclear for me......

 

I totally understand how travel bugs work. No problems there. I also know that trackable geocoins work much the same way. I understand there are non-trackable geocoins that people leave in caches and these are considered trade items, and anyone can trade and keep them and some people have big collections of them in albums. Signature items are a personal token specific to the cacher and many people collect signature items as well. Those things are clear. Its a few other related things I'm fuzzy on.

 

1. I will probably never be able to afford to have my own personal geocoins minted. Its just very expensive when you look at it costing approx 7-12 dollars per coin with a required minimum of 150 coins according to most websites. I really liked the idea of collecting geocoins (the non-trackable, of course.....I know if I find a trackable one, it is supposed to keep moving like a TB), but I can't see that it would be fair for me to take non-trackable geocoins (considered trade items) when I know they cost approx $10 each, especially when I'm only leaving items in the $1-2 range. What i can't figure out is.....considering how expensive they are to have minted, how in the world do so many cachers have these huge collections in albums of geocoins? Is there some etiquette about this? I know that many people say a non-trackable geocoin left in a cache is considered a trade item, but isn't it considered rude if I go collecting these and putting them in an album for myself when I'm not leaving coins like this or other more expensive swag? I like to trade up, but at $10 per coin, there's no feasible way to 'trade up' and collect geocoins as well....unless i win the lottery. lol. I can't see how people do this. I do sometimes see people selling their geocoins, or taking 'pre-orders'.....is that how they do it....they get promises of who would buy them first and then mint them? Are they selling their coins to try and make a profit or are they trying to sell them to offset the cost of minting and thus only keep some for themselves? It would seem unfair of me to collect non-trackable geocoins if I'm not leaving geocoins in any cache's myself....unless i could make quality things myself...which goes to the signature item question (3) Or do people use geocoins as signature items, thus it is fair to trade coin for signature item?

 

2. Is there any way to make your own trackable item without going through the minting places? I know about TB tags, and I am buying a few of them, but I'm really interested in the idea of making my own things. I could probably afford to buy a block of codes from Groundspeak eventually, but I can't afford minting >150 coins at 7-10$ each. I am really good at handcrafts and think it would be fun to make my own trackable items. I know there are rules about this because if it was cheap to do, I guess it could be a problem. I mean, I know we don't want used tissues floating around with tracking numbers on them. lol But isn't there a way other than expensive minting or TB tags?

 

3. Signature items....I see people collecting those as well and I understand they can be anything that a person decides they want to use to identify themselves. I am confused though on posts I see on the forums. I thought signature items were things you put in a cache to say you were there, and that other cachers can take them if they collect them. But I often see posts about trading them via snail mail. So is this different? Do people just collect them even if they've never met the person or been to a cache where one was left? If that's the case, I think i'm still not understanding something because anyone could trade any random thing with any random stranger without geocacing being a part of it. I am going to come up with a signature item soon....I'm kicking around several ideas/ options that I can make that will look nice but be low cost.

 

So again, sorry for being the newbie who just can't seem to get it, but these questions aren't exactly answered in the other posts i've seen.

 

Thanks

 

Edited to add: I should have mentioned about the trackable items question.....I have heard of the couple other websites which offer free tracking (outside the US), I am specifically wondering about trackable items that can be tracked through geocaching.com. I dont' want to use those other sites (which aren't allowed to be posted on these forums anyway).

Edited by Firespinner
Link to comment

First off collecting and sending coins out as travellers are two unrelated issues. To collect coins you buy or trade for them. Some people mint their own coin to trade for coins they don't have or would like to have. But under no circumstances are travellers taken from caches or events or from other geocachers to add to your collection, unless you're a coin thief that is.

 

As for non activated or even non trackable coins.... so long as you trade fairly there is nothing unfair about collecting these from caches. But TRADE FAIRLY is the operative concept. Trading a $2 item for a coin is not a fair trade.... unless you're a coin or swag thief.

 

As for sigitems ... well check with the individuals that make them. If you just want something more than your signature in a log to mark your presence in a cache you can leave a card (very few people collect those but some eventually get tossed in the trash if the cache is too full).

Link to comment

Welcome to the forums! B)

 

Hopefully I can help answer some questions for you.

 

Yes people collect geocoins, non trackable and trackable ones. There are different ways to get geocoins to collect. Yes, you can trade for non tackable ones in caches to keep. It should be a fair trade though. i.e. another geocoin or other items equaling the cost. Whether it is for a geocoin or not you should always try to trade equal or better.

 

Some people buy geocoins from various vendors or other cachers to keep. Cachers can also build up their collections by sometimes buying extras of coins available for sale and trading them for coins they do not already own.

 

Anther option is minting your own coin and sell/trade them too. Minting your own coin is not cheap. But some vendors offer a resale program. If they like your design enough they will mint your coin for you and give you free ones or pay for half, etc. But it's best to contact the vendors to see what progams they have to offer.

 

As for making your own type of trackable item I am not sure of the rules but if you are buying tracking numbers Groundspeak would have to approve it.

 

Recently I have seen cachers making trackable pins which is cheaper than minting your own geocoin yet gives you the option of having something trackable. There are also people that make trackable sig items and use a generic site for tracking (can't remember the name of the site).

 

Yes cachers do collect sig items and trade them by mail. :D

 

Hope this helps.... :D

Link to comment

ok....I hate to do this, but I'm still not understand a couple things. I know, I know,.......another newbie who can't figure things out....lol. Bear with me. I have read the FAQ's and many of the forums and a few things are still unclear for me......

 

 

1) You can trade fairly by trading up or trading even. You don't have to have a $10 item to trade for a coin though. You could leave 5 $2 items or 10 $1 items, etc. as long as your trade honest worth for worth. As for how we end up with huge collections of expensive coins... well it takes time, lot's of money and even poor judgement on occassion B)

 

2) You get what you pay for. A travelbug tag with a number is a bargain when you consider what it would cost you to travel all the places your bug will. You buy the number forever, too. If your bug goes missing permanently, you can always tack your number (or your backup tag) onto another item and send it traveling again. Just make sure you've given your first bug plenty of time to show up before doing this. $4 for a chance to travel the world for years? Sign me up please! :D

 

3) Sig items are just that, a way to stamp your name on the geocaching world. Most often we find them in a cache, but we've traded with people from far away in places we might never get to for their own creative signature items. Kinda like collecting baseball cards of a player or team you might never get the chance to meet in the flesh :D

Link to comment

For my non-trackable personal coins that I leave in caches sometimes, none of them have ever cost me more than $5 each to make. So if trading for one, you would trade even or up by leaving swag that is at least a $5 value.

 

Yes, people also trade their signature items through the mail, especially when one wouldn't have the opportunity to find another person's in a cache due to logistics.

Link to comment

First off collecting and sending coins out as travellers are two unrelated issues. To collect coins you buy or trade for them. Some people mint their own coin to trade for coins they don't have or would like to have. But under no circumstances are travellers taken from caches or events or from other geocachers to add to your collection, unless you're a coin thief that is.

 

As for non activated or even non trackable coins.... so long as you trade fairly there is nothing unfair about collecting these from caches. But TRADE FAIRLY is the operative concept. Trading a $2 item for a coin is not a fair trade.... unless you're a coin or swag thief.

 

As for sigitems ... well check with the individuals that make them. If you just want something more than your signature in a log to mark your presence in a cache you can leave a card (very few people collect those but some eventually get tossed in the trash if the cache is too full).

 

I knew they are unrelated, thus why I explained first off that I understand the travel aspect of it and I know to never keep a coin that is meant to travel. My questions were specifically towards the non-traveling types. Don't worry, I'm not a coin theif in the making....If i were, I wouldnt' have bothered to post questions about what's ok. :-) I'm all about the trading up...i just coudlnt' figure out how people afford to trade $10 coins more than a couple times.

 

I definately do want something more than my card as a signature item. I want something that people will want to pick up and keep. I'm working on making something cool as a sig item. I just didn't want to trade handmade sig item (even if it is high-quality) for a coin if its considered against the rules. And i coudlnt' figure out how people can afford all these expensive minted coins to trade others for.

Link to comment

Here are a few of my opinions on this matter . . .

 

The coin collecting/trading/distributing community is diverse

It is made up of people from many walks of life, with a wide variety of means and world views

 

Some have a generous heart and enough spare cash to make coins and give them away

The various "secret" coins are a good example

 

Some people purchase coins for their collections

These may get activated or not, shared or not, released or not, ever see the light of day again or not

It all depends on the collector

 

Another common strategy is to buy two (or more) coins when they are first released

One for the collection, the rest for trades later

 

Other folks have coins made with the intention (hope ?) of trading them

(this is usually a somewhat less expensive route than buying them outright)

 

Yet others release coins (trackable or not, activated or not), and have varying expectations for them

 

And, of course, there are plenty of people who combine these strategies

 

As for items found in caches, I take the view that if the intentions are clearly stated, they should be respected - otherwise, you are free do what you feel is right

 

For example, there has been a lot of talk recently about what to do about a coin found in a cache

If it is activated, move it along - if not, trade equal or up - etc

 

But I have often encountered situations where you have no way of knowing

Absent an attached note, how do you know if a coin is activated ?

Without an envelope with writing on it around the coin, how do you know that it is swag ?

And, if it is swag, absent instructions, how do you know the wishes of the person who put it there ?

 

Without any guidance at the cache site, my strategy is to just take the thing, and sort it all out later

If it turns out to be activated, I'll move it along to another cache

If the placer has included their wishes with the item, I will respect them

If not, I figure that I am free to do as I please - drop it in the next appropriate cache, add it to my collection, activate it and set it free, etc

 

To be brutally blunt, if the placer could not be bothered to include their desires (eg write some instructions on a little piece of paper and put it in the coin sleeve), then I really can't be botherd to try to figure out what they might want me to do with their little prize

 

As for me on the other end of the situation -

I have put a variety of things in caches, usually without taking anything in return

I have never once concerned myself with what or how it was traded for later on

I gave it freely, and I have no further claim to it

With any luck, somebody will find it, take it, and enjoy it - that's good enough for me

Link to comment

Welcome to the forums! B)

 

Hopefully I can help answer some questions for you.

 

Yes people collect geocoins, non trackable and trackable ones. There are different ways to get geocoins to collect. Yes, you can trade for non tackable ones in caches to keep. It should be a fair trade though. i.e. another geocoin or other items equaling the cost. Whether it is for a geocoin or not you should always try to trade equal or better.

 

Some people buy geocoins from various vendors or other cachers to keep. Cachers can also build up their collections by sometimes buying extras of coins available for sale and trading them for coins they do not already own.

 

Anther option is minting your own coin and sell/trade them too. Minting your own coin is not cheap. But some vendors offer a resale program. If they like your design enough they will mint your coin for you and give you free ones or pay for half, etc. But it's best to contact the vendors to see what progams they have to offer.

 

As for making your own type of trackable item I am not sure of the rules but if you are buying tracking numbers Groundspeak would have to approve it.

 

Recently I have seen cachers making trackable pins which is cheaper than minting your own geocoin yet gives you the option of having something trackable. There are also people that make trackable sig items and use a generic site for tracking (can't remember the name of the site).

 

Yes cachers do collect sig items and trade them by mail. :D

 

Hope this helps.... :D

 

It did help. Thanks for teh response! I haven't seen pins yet, but I'll keep looking for them. I also didn't know that the vendors would offer resale programs. That might be the way to go so I'll keep checking with the various vendors. I couldn't figure out how people could afford to have 150 minted at ~10 each. Maybe that is how they are doing it? The only other way i could figure it if they were selling half at a profit and keeping half....and that seemed even more confusing. Thanks for the help.

Link to comment

One other method of getting some coins done up is through one of the many semi personals that are run through the forums. Usually these types of coins have your caching name and a selection of colors that you can choose, but the basic design is shared by many cachers who participate in each program.

 

Examples of this are the Nerd geocoins, Team Geocache Hockey Jerseys and GeoJellies to name a few. This can be an inexpensive way of getting coins to trade up or even with other coins, or give out on your own as swag. By far the biggest advantage of these types of projects is you usually only need to order a much smaller minimum of coins (typically 20 coins) to participate. At an average of 7-9 dollars a coin, or sometimes even less, this is a good deal and not a bad strategy to start building a collection.

 

Hope that helps.

Link to comment

One other method of getting some coins done up is through one of the many semi personals that are run through the forums. Usually these types of coins have your caching name and a selection of colors that you can choose, but the basic design is shared by many cachers who participate in each program.

 

Examples of this are the Nerd geocoins, Team Geocache Hockey Jerseys and GeoJellies to name a few. This can be an inexpensive way of getting coins to trade up or even with other coins, or give out on your own as swag. By far the biggest advantage of these types of projects is you usually only need to order a much smaller minimum of coins (typically 20 coins) to participate. At an average of 7-9 dollars a coin, or sometimes even less, this is a good deal and not a bad strategy to start building a collection.

 

Hope that helps.

Stay tuned I have one of these happening inthe next few weeks. Just wrapping up some details. :D

Link to comment

Another thing to consider in moving geocoins from cache to cache is this: An activated geocoin is a traveler first and foremost. I know if I had an activated geocoin in a cache that hasn't moved in weeks, I would want someone to take it and place it into another cache.

 

I don't believe that one can know for certain a coin is left as swag if it does not have any 'attachments' to it or with it. I will always move a geocoin to another cache. However, when logging the coin into your inventory, if you happen to find that it's not active (left as swag) - it's always good to go back at a later time to 'trade even or trade up'.

 

The general rule within the geocoin community is 'trade even or trade up'. But that 'rule' cannot always be followed. It's more of a 'guideline'. Although Geocoins do cost more to release.. a tracking number is a tracking number. If you don't have a coin to swap 1 for 1, you can also leave a TravelBug (in my opinion).

 

What comes around really does go around - so if you find yourself unable to leave something at the time, you can always leave stuff at a cache that others would find, say, less appealing.

 

Food for thought and I am just sharing my personal feeling on the subject.

 

~Jim

CB

 

Yeah... I mint 'em too!

Link to comment

Welcome to the forums! :D

 

Hopefully I can help answer some questions for you.

 

Yes people collect geocoins, non trackable and trackable ones. There are different ways to get geocoins to collect. Yes, you can trade for non tackable ones in caches to keep. It should be a fair trade though. i.e. another geocoin or other items equaling the cost. Whether it is for a geocoin or not you should always try to trade equal or better.

 

Some people buy geocoins from various vendors or other cachers to keep. Cachers can also build up their collections by sometimes buying extras of coins available for sale and trading them for coins they do not already own.

 

Anther option is minting your own coin and sell/trade them too. Minting your own coin is not cheap. But some vendors offer a resale program. If they like your design enough they will mint your coin for you and give you free ones or pay for half, etc. But it's best to contact the vendors to see what progams they have to offer.

 

As for making your own type of trackable item I am not sure of the rules but if you are buying tracking numbers Groundspeak would have to approve it.

 

Recently I have seen cachers making trackable pins which is cheaper than minting your own geocoin yet gives you the option of having something trackable. There are also people that make trackable sig items and use a generic site for tracking (can't remember the name of the site).

 

Yes cachers do collect sig items and trade them by mail. :D

 

Hope this helps.... B)

 

It did help. Thanks for teh response! I haven't seen pins yet, but I'll keep looking for them. I also didn't know that the vendors would offer resale programs. That might be the way to go so I'll keep checking with the various vendors. I couldn't figure out how people could afford to have 150 minted at ~10 each. Maybe that is how they are doing it? The only other way i could figure it if they were selling half at a profit and keeping half....and that seemed even more confusing. Thanks for the help.

 

I hear you wondering how people get 150 coins minted at $10 each. Coins do not cost $10 to mint, more like $5. Then you sell them to people and take on other expenses such as paypal, mailing supplies, postage, etc and you are looking at more than $5 to get that done.

Link to comment

Most geocoins in geocaches are activated travelers. Some cachers like to leave a geocoin as a FTF prize, in which case no trade is necessary. In ~1500 caches, I’ve come across one non-activated geocoin that someone had left as swag (Based on previous logs, I suspected that it was unactivated and left an unactivated coin in its place). Others are much luckier in that respect, but coins as trade items in caches are extremely rare – so I wouldn’t expect to build much of a collection through coins from caches. Collections are more typically built by buying or trading coins. Either of those requires $ - the quantity of which depends on your appetite or obsession.

 

One or more of the manufacturers’ sites have a calculator to estimate the cost of producing a coin. As others have said, the cost of making your own coin is typically much less than $10, and non-trackable saves $1.50. There are lots of commercial coins out there for less (sometimes much less) than $10 as well.

 

There are less expensive alternatives to personal coins – GeoTags are relatively inexpensive trackable coins that are personalized on one side and share a common reverse. There is at least one other company that offers a personalized GeoTag-like coin. Group coins, such as geojellies, poker chips, hockey shirts, etc., are also typically in the slightly over $5 range. There are also Pathtags, which aren’t trackable on Geocaching.com, but they are trackable on the Pathtag website and some of them seem to do a good bit of traveling (ones that my son has left have travelled the globe). Folks seem to think of Pathtags as occupying a niche between wooden nickels and group coins.

 

You are apparently aware that there are sites that will track trade items – but that isn’t a viable option to you. The next best alternative is probably TB dog tags or some of the dogtag like coins (Cacher Tags, Cache Movers, GeoTags, nd I’m sure that there are others that I’m forgetting). As others have said, Geocaching.com would have to approve any other type of trackable item – and I bet that it would be an uphill battle.

 

Some geocachers leave geocoins as signature (trade) items. But they don’t typically leave one in every cache that they visit. I’ve minted several through the group coin projects and hope to mint a true personal one day. I’ve left a small handful in caches as swag. I do try to identify the coins that I leave as swag so that those who follow aren’t confused.

 

Signature items are another category entirely. My signature item is also a trade item – a packet of identified transportation tokens. (The item started out as a way of getting rid of multiple duplicate transportation tokens, but it was so well received that I now look for tokens to buy to build the mini-collections.) It’s worth a buck or two and I try to leave one in every cache that I visit that is large enough to hold it. I’ll also trade for interesting signature items that I find in caches – I have a small selection of wooden nickels, a geosmirk or two, and a few other interesting things that people leave as a signature trade item. Personally, I’m primarily interested in the things I find in caches. But, there are a few unique personal trade items out there that I would consider a mail trade if offered. As you’ve probably seen, signature items range from calling cards (in the old fashioned use of the term) to unique hand-made items.

 

A final thought is that I could find a coin in a cache and take it thinking it was a traveler. If it turned out later to be a trade item, I would probably consider that I usually leave way more swag than I retrieve or that I could pay the coin it forward into another cache and not worry too much about having picked it up. (Lots of my caches are on road trips, so getting back later to place good swag often isn’t a viable option.)

Link to comment

First off collecting and sending coins out as travellers are two unrelated issues. To collect coins you buy or trade for them. Some people mint their own coin to trade for coins they don't have or would like to have. But under no circumstances are travellers taken from caches or events or from other geocachers to add to your collection, unless you're a coin thief that is.

 

As for non activated or even non trackable coins.... so long as you trade fairly there is nothing unfair about collecting these from caches. But TRADE FAIRLY is the operative concept. Trading a $2 item for a coin is not a fair trade.... unless you're a coin or swag thief.

 

As for sigitems ... well check with the individuals that make them. If you just want something more than your signature in a log to mark your presence in a cache you can leave a card (very few people collect those but some eventually get tossed in the trash if the cache is too full).

 

I knew they are unrelated, thus why I explained first off that I understand the travel aspect of it and I know to never keep a coin that is meant to travel. My questions were specifically towards the non-traveling types. Don't worry, I'm not a coin theif in the making....If i were, I wouldnt' have bothered to post questions about what's ok. :-) I'm all about the trading up...i just coudlnt' figure out how people afford to trade $10 coins more than a couple times.

 

I definately do want something more than my card as a signature item. I want something that people will want to pick up and keep. I'm working on making something cool as a sig item. I just didn't want to trade handmade sig item (even if it is high-quality) for a coin if its considered against the rules. And i coudlnt' figure out how people can afford all these expensive minted coins to trade others for.

 

I will tell you that I started with just my avatar and another design, printed on card stock, cut out in a circle and placed back to back in a plastic $ .50 protector. They cost me about .25 each but stayed dry and easy to handle and drop in each cache, I then moved up to colorful whistles, with lazer engraved Frozen Buns, on the.

Still use these the majority of the time. Then I took the plunge, had an actual, trackable, with unique icon made, You have to Figure min. of $8.50 each when you add up all the individual expenses: track #, Icon fee, Packaging, actual design work, type of enamels, I had glow in the dark and that is even extra. I kept about 5% of the total amount made for trades and was very fortunate to be able to sell the rest. Had faced the reality that I might spend ALOT of money and none sell then I would have ALOT of coins to leave in caches. I would not urge anyone to do this unless they are willing to "lose" that money, I can tell you anyone having a personal coin made is NOT making money on them. They are simply reducing the cost of the coins they keep, but even these are NOT free.

But it has been a wonderful way to get to know others and work out some great and fun trades. I think it boils down to showing your coin idea and being brave enough to accept the critiques offered and ask if anyone would really be interested in purchasing it. Even Sand Dollar did this recently.

Hope this helps. Going with a company who likes your idea is ok as long as you are happy with the amount of coins offered to you. Good luck which ever way you go.

There has been topics about personals in the past you might try a search and read through them, wooden nickels and poker chips with the new weatherproof labels work real well also. :D

Link to comment

Rather than fill the thread with individual replies to each person, I'll just post this one THANK YOU to everyone who answered my questions. You've given me lots of information and lots to think about! :-)

 

I definately am goign to make a nice quality signature item. I'm not exactly sure which one yet, but I have four or five ideas I'm kicking around that will all flow with the "Firespinner" aspect of my user name.

 

With the cost of minting, I will probably not be doing that one unless i get a small batch of those semi-personal kind where you only buy 20 or so. Years down the road.....maybe I could have a personal coin minted, but it will be a long way away. Until then, I'll just collect signature items since I'll be trading those. :-)

 

Thanks for all the help and information! :-)

Link to comment

Here are a few of the more interestng signature items that I have seen

 

Wooden nickels with "iron on" art

You buy special sheets of paper, design your own images on your computer, print them on the special paper, and then transfer the images to wood blanks

 

Craft store shaped pieces of wood that are hand-painted

 

Laser-engraved wooden coins

 

.

 

There are plenty of other examples here

www.geocities.com/team_fisur/geo-creations/index.html#A

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 3
×
×
  • Create New...