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Design or Cost?

Wandering Vikings
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In looking at the current designs and reading through some of the threads, there seem to be two schools of thought- one wants the lowest price possible on trackables, and one is looking just at the stunning designs.


So I'm curious, which category do you put yourself in? Would you rather get more basic coin (or pathtag) that can be made inexpensively or would you rather pay a couple bucks more for a drop dead design?

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I'll go first-

We are the cachers formerly known as Sofi and Holmbiorn, the minters of Lillysue coins (Honu, Celtic Star Moon and Sun, Key to the Cache, Cache Gods among others!) After a break where we had a little one (hence the name change since now there are three of us), took a seven month RV tour and moved three states away I am pulling up all of my in process designs and looking to see which ones still speak to me.

Almost all of the ones I love of the current coins available, and my own designs that I'm dusting off are more ornate, and focus more on the details. As a result, we're not buying as many coins, but the few we're getting are really cool ones, and we're not releasing much, but collecting more.

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It depends on what your goals are-I am part of a group that is working on a coin with the plan to sell it. That means we have to have it at a lower cost. If it costs $10 and we sell it for $15 that enough money, but it has to be special, have that wow factor to for people to buy it for that much. In this case it's a bit of both. Our coin is a custom shape, so it's more wow. these coins-I can't speak for others, but I've seen Landsharkz coins that where made for a unit in the Canadian Forces(Called challenge coins. Similar to geocoins, but not trackable anywhere.) It had such fine detail you would never notice it unless someone told you about it. Of course the more you do, the more the cost goes up, but the opportunity is there.


On the other hand, we could have made a coin with our name on it for as low as $4 and sell it for $10. Make money, costs less, but there is now wow factor-thousands of coins are round.


Or you could do a 3d coin. There is a 3d space shuttle with the payload bay doors that open. Can't get much more wow than that. But on the other hand I think it was $18.


So as you can see it all depends on what you want to accomplish. For the record our first design was about the size of an iPhone. But that's when cost came in, and we had to scale down and find the balance between wow and cost.


Pathtags are another story. They are definitely cheaper. But they are also the size of a quarter, and you can't change size or shape like you can with a coin. They are also not trackable on geocaching. In fact all coins from the same series have the same number. They are more of a signature item-buy 300, and leave them in caches, give them to fellow geocachers you meet and such. If you are selling, then IMO you won't make near as much money from pathtags as you will coins. Coins you can make $5-$10 per coin. Pathtags you'd sell them for $250.


And FYI pathtags are on the edge of no-no talk here. "They" see it as competition. They will allow the whole "What are pathtags?" thing with a description, but what I said is almost too much.

Edited by T.D.M.22
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Thanks TDM22 for your input.

It's not really a matter of what I want to do... We minted for several years, and have had a number of highly successful coins. I'm more curious of how things have changed since I took a break from hard core collecting. For me personally, I'm not buying nearly as many coins, but the few I buy are exquisite, regardless of the price. I just buy one instead of the set now!

Just wondering if I'm the norm or the exception now!

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Well as a small time coin maker, I have tried to make the best design possible for a price that makes it able to be sold. Some I have had no trouble with such as titanic and hindenburg. Both of which were 3d and bigger than normal. Since I am into history, many of my creations deal with anniversary dates or important events. My JFK 50 yr anniversary coin sold out pretty fast. Now, I am working on the huge 5" x 2" antique gas pump coins. They will have 2 sides with a path tag on each side as the globe.


Anyhow I would say whatever makes you happy! Hopefully you can convey that happiness to others.


MO Pirate

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A great design that has something to do with geocaching directly or indirectly is what we look for. Personal coins that obviously had thought and talent producing it along with a unique idea are high on the list. If it fits into those categories we will spend the $$'s. We listen very closely during the development phase if it is posted here. :D

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As a designer myself I'm always looking for solid designs of course, but more importantly something in the design that is unique as the cacher it represents or a new and innovative idea will always win me over. There are a lot of good coins out there and price seems to have very little to do with whether a coin is done well. On average a professionally designed coin should actually only cost about 50 cents to a dollar more. If that's the difference between a good coin and a great coin, I'm happy to pay the little bit more. B)

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Sorry for the late reply Fox, we've been running crazy and I didn't see that anyone else had responded.


Thanks for your input! More than the professional design aspect (which, true wouldn't necessarily change the production price much) I guess I was wondering about the coins themselves being different- hand made, oversized, multi-level, multi-finish, or sometimes even multiple coins in one. Things that would add significantly to the minting cost and would transfer to a higher selling point (not a higher profit margin, wondering if there is a market for the more expensive to produce coins).

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I think that there is a market, but it is much smaller as well. Multi-part coins are one of those variables. The cost to make extra molds as you know can add tremendously to the production cost of a short-run coin so it can be very difficult to find a design that utilizes the need significantly, but when the perfect opportunity arises it can be worth the risk.

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Personally, my coin collecting habits are a bit specific. I look for coins that are:


  • Unique, memorable, and original.
  • I try not to buy coins for places I've not been to.
  • Relating to something I did or somewhere I went.
  • Relating to a subject I'm interested in (I have a lot of Horror, Sci-Fi, and Space coins).
  • I love the idea of personal coins, but just like the place-related ones it's ones for people I've met, or talked to/traded with.
  • I really love the idea of Mystery Coins. I've never received one myself, but it makes me feel better about humanity in general that people are willing to gift coins to people they don't know in that way.


More than happy to pay a bit extra for a nice coin that means something.


I never thought about it before, but writing the list above has made me realise that I collect coins as much about what/who/where they represent, as what they look like. I can't wait to get over to some of the USA and Europe geocaching events and meet more of you guys. :)


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...For me personally, I'm not buying nearly as many coins, but the few I buy are exquisite, regardless of the price. I just buy one instead of the set now!

Just wondering if I'm the norm or the exception now!


i am the same way. don't know if there really is a "norm." i rarely buy new coins, well, actually i can't think of the last new design i bought. i buy the older or slightly older coins. and only one now and again.

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