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Checking Interest In Minting An Alaska Geocoin


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Hoping not to be to late on this one. I'd like five coins and one silver please, Regardless of design. A big hello goes out to Northern Trekker also, I'm stuck down in Cabo San Lucas for a while. ( nice place to be stuck for the winter though )

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Hoping not to be to late on this one. I'd like five coins and one silver please, Regardless of design. A big hello goes out to Northern Trekker also, I'm stuck down in Cabo San Lucas for a while. ( nice place to be stuck for the winter though )

Hehe, Hairy Plotter. That's a funny name!

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UPDATE

Northwes and I met with a representative of the Alaska Mint today.

 

The "standard" coin, struck in brass, will cost something less than $5 each plus shipping. The silver "collector's" coin will cost something less than $20 plus shipping, which is less than the original $20-$40 quoted in an earlier post. Both prices reflect protective packaging that will be at least a clear plastic slip cover for the standard coin and a velvet lined display box for the silver coin.

 

Just to complicate matters more...gold leaf accents on the silver coin are available for an additional $16. Any interest in that option at ~$35/coin? There are several examples of the mint's gold leaf work at their website (see the above link).

 

The schedule looks like three or four more weeks to work out the design details and then six to eight weeks for production, so the coins will come out mid-summer. The final design will be posted and at that time final coin plus shipping costs will also be calculated so you can send in your payment to reserve your coin(s).

 

Please keep your snail-mail addresses coming so I can preload the shipping database.

 

Everyone's enthusiasm is making it easy to keep moving forward with this project!

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I know it would be neat to make an Alaska coin actually in Alaska, but for the number of coins it looks like you'll be ordering, those prices are a bit higher than other mints people have used.

 

When we started this project, I did check through the forums and coin prices without shipping ranged from $2.15 to $6 each, depending on design complexity, type of metal and number of coins ordered. I also submitted request for proposals to three other mints outside of Alaska, so I did comparison shop.

 

The Alaska Mint's price may appear to be on the high end of that range, but the coins are solid (the collector's edition is 1 ounce of 0.999 silver) and are being struck both sides. The price also includes very nice protective packaging (coins that have been circulated without packaging look pretty beat up by the time they make it to a cache up here) and tracking etching. Due to so many variables, it is hard to do a direct coin to coin comparison. If we strip all the "extras" such as tracking number etching, packaging, etc., and , the bare bones cost of the coin is about $3, which is well within the range of what other people are paying. As stated in earlier posts, the final costs have not been computed, so "something less than $5" could mean something very close to $4.

 

If +/-$1 on the cost of a coin is a concern for some folks, maybe we can consider offering the coins without tracking numbers and/or protective/display packaging. Not having a professional distributer/shipper at our disposal, we want to keep distribution as simple as possible. There are more than 100 cachers that expressed interest, so that's a lot of little insured packages to assemble with the right number of the right kind of coins in addition to keeping track of who wants packaging, who wants an etched coin, etc. Some groups have gone to that level of detail and we may too as the project develops.

 

Another cost factor is shipping to Alaska. Most shippers won't use USPS and the other expeditors (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.) will only ship to Alaska via 1-day and 2-day delivery, which doubles the cost of shipping for an order that will exceed 60 pounds.

 

It is also very convenient to walk into the mint for consulations and we don't have to fight three and four time zones when it's necessary to talk to a warm body rather than swapping e-mails. Some people who have worked on coin projects have expressed frustration with slow responses from out of state vendors. With Northwes' help, we can have a person to person discussion with the mint seven days a week if an issue comes up.

 

We also have a very strong "Buy Alaska" ethic up here for made in Alaska goods, and if that means paying a little more for a coin and having the pride of knowing we did it locally, I'll do it.

 

is there any way to get preliminary artwork to look at? Why wait until the last minute?

 

I'll post preliminary artwork once the Alaskan cachers have had a chance to make input, it you all will get a peak before "the last minute." There is an Event Cache in Fairbanks on March 19 where some designs will be circulated. Other people are furiously working on designs as well. This post was initiated on March 3, so we're barely into this project. As stated in my individual replies to people who provided their snail mail addresses, "Please be patient with us up here...we haven't done this before." Many of the other coin threads out there have gone or went on for months, so we're still VERY early in the process.

 

Anyone is free to change/withdraw/add to their expression of interest up until when orders are taken and payment is made. Please let me know via e-mail to ladybugs@alaska.net so we can be sure to mint an accurate number of coins.

 

Thanks for the feedback! As stated in the original post, I am very interested in hearing about the trials and tribulations of other coin project leaders. Several have communicated with me and provided invaluable help. One even suggested creating our own "Support Group" because of all the work and issues involved.

 

Edit: Added a couple of additional thoughts here and there.

Edited by Ladybug Kids
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With every state and their mother putting out geocoins these days, I think having the Alaska coin made in Alaska will help it stand out a little from the crowd of other coins from the common vendors.

 

At <$20 for the silver coin now, please bump my order for those from "one or two" to three.

 

I'd also vote against the gold leaf accents on the silver coin.

 

Thanks for your efforts.

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I with you all the way Ladybug!!! The extra dollar or so should not effect geocachers wanting the coins. In the end I'm sure the coin will be well worth the effort and cost.

 

A lot of geocachers often buy their own protective cases for the geocoins. That is something that you could take away to save on the price. However for a coin that is going to be as nice as predicted then I suggest to keep the coins numbered. This shows quality of the coin.

 

I still want 10 AK coins.

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If +/-$1 on the cost of a coin is a concern for some folks, maybe we can consider offering the coins without tracking numbers and/or protective/display packaging. Not having a professional distributer/shipper at our disposal, we want to keep distribution as simple as possible.

 

 

First ~ You are doing a great job :blink:

 

Second ~ If you offer some with tracking, some without tracking, some with cover, some without covers...some with etching, some without, you will be setting yourself up for one big heck of a headache :lol: I'd try to keep it the same as possible to avoid that headache for yourselves. The only thing Idaho did to lessen the cost for some was you had the option of having them etched with your alias or not. Those that wanted to save opted not to. Now they wish they did!! Whatever you do, it will be a success and collectors will buy them even if it cost a few pennies more.

 

Third ~ Refer to #1 :huh:

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Do we get to see a prototype AK coin at the dinner tonight? :blink:

Yuppers! Not all design ideas are available, yet, but what we have to date will be circulated this evening.

 

What will hopefully be the final design idea(s) will be circulated at the April 16 CITO event in Anchorage that was just posted by Northwes. I will schedule a Fairbanks mid-April cache event as well to present an opportunity for final review, unless someone takes up that task at tonight's Fairbanks cache event.

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I've been reading this thread since it began, and perhaps I missed something, but I'm a bit puzzled as to what exactly is going on. My background in this area only goes back to the creation of the 2004 Washington State Geocoin, so perhaps I'm just a novice here. Anyway for the WA coin we had two threads: one where we discussed the design of the coin, and a second which was created specifically to provide information on how to order. Orders were not, to my knowledge, taken from the forums, but many people did post notes saying that they had ordered some number of the coins.

 

So when this thread started the stated purpose was to find out if there was any interest. My observation is that there is quite a lot of interest in an Alaskan Geocoin. However, most of the posts that I've seen have been "orders" for so many "standard" coins and so many silver coins. Although some general pricing information has come out, I haven't seen any indication that anyone is actually ready to take orders at this point. (It is possible, of course, that I missed such a note.)

 

Furthermore I haven't seen so much as a preliminary design. Do folks not even care about the appearance of the coins? (If true, what an opportunity I have. I'll make a "Seattle Geocoin". I'll start taking orders tomorrow! Next week I'll start on a Bellevue coin, and then...) :( This isn't to say that I'm not interested, but I would like to know what it looks like. I mean, if it seems really ugly to me I *might* order one just to say I have one, but... I really liked the Idaho Geocoin, and ordered several of those.

 

So my questions are: when will you post a preliminary design, and are you really ready to take orders?

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Good questions, NBJPoppa. I'll take a shot at clarifying where we are in the process since the process has moved along since the original post.

 

When I opened this thread, I said

Please express your interest in having an Alaska geocoin minted by posting to this thread...Cachers in- and outside of Alaska should indicate how many coins they would purchase so we get a sense of how many coins would be minted in order to establish the cost per coin..

Critical mass was reached in less than two weeks with "expressions of interest" from more than 100 cachers (via forum and e-mail) for more than 700 brass coins and 70 silver collector coins. The initial expressions of interest provided data for talking to the mints so we could see which price break point we could get. The latest pricing information was posted on March 18:

something less than $5 each plus shipping. The silver "collector's" coin will cost something less than $20 plus shipping

The final cost is not yet established because the design is not final. As with other coin designs, the die cost is dependent on the complexity of the final design.

 

appearance of the coins

As posted earlier, check out the Alaska Mint's website for a sampler of the potential quality, detail, and themes of their coins. Working with these folks, I don't really think it will be possible to create an "ugly" coin. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and no matter what we come up with, some people won't like it.

 

when will you post a preliminary design

Some design concepts were shared at an Event Cache in Fairbanks on 3/19. After the Event, additional designs were sketched up for refinement by our resident Photoshop expert for circulating amongst Alaskan cachers. We're doing as many of the design reviews as we can at face-to-face meetings rather than via a forum or e-mail because of the better idea exchange that can occur.

 

We'll go "public" outside of Alaska once we have a final or near final design, which doesn't seem to be a much different process than the 2005 WA coin project is using. We are pushing hard to get the design to that stage no later than mid-April, which will only be six weeks after the concept of an Alaskan geocoin was initiatated. A mid-April design will put coins in cacher's hands by mid-summer.

 

are you really ready to take orders?

We're taking "expressions of interest" so we can get in the right ballpark for the number of coins to mint. We have followed up expressions of interest with an e-mail (as well as a post to the forum) requesting mailing information so the shipping database may be preloaded without a time crunch. Even if a person wants only one coin, preloading their address will take the pressure off distribution when the coins are in hand. Trying to process cash, checks, money orders and the like on top of loading the database would be hectic. By requesting addresses ahead of time, we're reducing that crush during that time of the year when we could be out caching 24-hours a day without a flashlight :D.

 

An "expression of interest" will become an "order" once the coin design is unveiled, the price is set, shipping costs are established, and people are asked to pony up their money to take the load off my VISA bill :(. Some people may increase and others may decrease their expressed interest once they see the design and place their final order and we hope the pluses and the minuses balance out so everyone gets the number of coins they want.

 

The bottom line is that we're planning, designing, and accepting expressions of interest all in parallel to shorten the timeline from concept to product. We're not asking people to "trust us" by taking money before the design is unveiled, but we did want to accurately test the waters by asking for expressions of interest.

 

As posted when this thread was opened:

please be patient.
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Well, I understand your points, but... I *looked* at the Alaska Mint web page back when this thread started. Yes, they produce some nive looking coins, but those are *their* designs, not your design. (I guess, anyway.)

 

As for the Washington State 2005 geocoin, you must have missed something. Several different mock-ups were shown very early on. (This was true with the previous coin as well.) Local cachers then commented on the ideas, and later an on-line vote was taken. (No misplaced ballots here, or multiple ballots given to a single cacher. Nor were votes cast by any dead cachers, or by those who are barred by law from voting on this topic.) (Reference the latest Washington State Governor's election for more information.) The point simply being that everyone could make suggestions. If a suggestion came from Florida, well, it might get ignored, but if it was a good idea it might get adopted.

 

At *this* point, though, the WA state coin is undergoing "final touches". It is my understanding that the mock-ups were not of sufficient detail for the mint to use them. As was learned with the previous coin, there are certain considerations that must be taken into account when producing the final image.

 

Please, take my comments as constructive, not as critical. If someone out there has a phobia of Moose, and you put Moose on the coins, they might not want to buy any after all. (My concern with Moose is that I wouldn't want to eat one.) :(

 

By the way, thanks for your previous answer. It helps to know where you are in the process. As far as there being better design review in face-to-face meetings... well, I don't know that I would agree with that statement. Perhaps some people are just more comfortable doing things that way, and that's fine. On the other hand, one advantage of doing this this way is that you don't have any outside "interference" with *your* design process. Alaska is a sizable chunk of real estate, and I would be surprised if all of the geocachers in Alaska live close together.

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Local cachers then commented on the ideas, and later an on-line vote was taken. ... The point simply being that everyone could make suggestions.

 

Local cachers have been allowed to comment on the ideas they have been shown. Ideas, sketches, inquiries have been welcomed matter of fact. Anyone CAN make a suggestion. What's your point?

 

Please, take my comments as constructive, not as critical. If someone out there has a phobia of Moose, and you put Moose on the coins, they might not want to buy any after all.

 

It sounds pretty darn critical to me. If you want to make comments on "our" coin why don't you just say so? If you don't want to buy one until you see the final version, fine. Why not just say so? Why go through all this trouble to tell us how we are not doing it like you would want, therefore making it wrong?

 

As far as there being better design review in face-to-face meetings... well, I don't know that I would agree with that statement. Perhaps some people are just more comfortable doing things that way, and that's fine.

 

Make up your mind. You disagree with it, then say "and that's fine". If it's fine, why point it out?

 

On the other hand, one advantage of doing this this way is that you don't have any outside "interference" with *your* design process.

 

Uhm what's the point in this part? It IS his idea, his time and energy, his orginazational skills being utilized, his money being laid on the line. Why should YOU have any say in the matter at all?

 

Alaska is a sizable chunk of real estate, and I would be surprised if all of the geocachers in Alaska live close together.

 

We obviously don't. So? As you can see, the tone of your post is just not setteling well with me, not that it has to. You can say what you want obviously. I can do the same. Good day.

Edited by 1stimestar
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Sorry 1stimestar. I wasn't intending to offend. Ladybug Kids and I have exchanged some e-mail offline on this topic.

 

Now don't get riled up. I'm going to try to answer your questions, OK? (BTW, I am having some trouble with this el-cheapo brand keyboard, and I don't always catch the errors. The "n"s often show up before the letter that they are supposed to follow. I don't have this trouble with other keyboards.)

 

1. I wrote:

Local cachers then commented on the ideas, and later an on-line vote was taken. ... The point simply being that everyone could make suggestions.

You asked:

What's your point?

This was in response to what Ladybug Kids wrote on March 21, 2005:

We'll go "public" outside of Alaska once we have a final or near final design, which doesn't seem to be a much different process than the 2005 WA coin project is using.

The point is that for both the 2004 and 2005 Washington State Geocoins, the design was a very public affair, as much of the work was posted on the geocaching.com forums. It appeared to me that Ladybug Kids was not aware of this fact. Several people contributed designs for all to see, and many offered comments on what they saw -- or didn't see.

 

In the private e-mail I wrote about what *I* saw regarding the design of the Idaho Geocoin -- which was basically "here's the finished product, and here's where you can order some." I didn't have a problem with that. As I said before, I was confused as to what was going on with the Alaska Geocoin. If someone was taking orders, where was the example of what was being bought?

 

2. Regarding my critically constructive comments :tired: (that was the hope anyway) you wrote:

...therefore making it wrong?

Sorry, I didn't think that I made it wrong. I was voicing my frustration and confusion. The gist of what I wrote earlier was:

I'm confused. There was an announcement of an interest poll, but all I see are "orders". No one stood up and said "whoa! We aren't ready to take orders yet, which we saw when the WA state coin was being designed. As a result I interpreted that to infer that someone *was* taking orders. (I don't think that I was being irrational with that interpretation, do you?) Thus my frustration: what, exactly, are people ordering? Had I missed seenig a picture of the proposed coin somewhere?

 

Unlike the proverbial rich and famous, I don't have money to burn. I presume you don't either. ;) There's the old saying "there's no accounting for taste", right? So I wondered if the coin would appeal to me, and I know that at least one other person has wondered something similar. :D

 

3. I wrote:

As far as there being better design review in face-to-face meetings... well, I don't know that I would agree with that statement. Perhaps some people are just more comfortable doing things that way, and that's fine.

You wrote:

Make up your mind. You disagree with it, then say "and that's fine". If it's fine, why point it out?

Sorry. I must take responsibility for a good portion the misunderstanding on this point for at least two reasons. First off the two statements should have been disjoint, but I was trying to not be so wordy. (My boss complains.) So, I'll be a bit more wordy this time. :D The second reason is that I didn't quote the original text.

 

Here is the sentence that Ladybug Kids wrote that I was commenting upon:

We're doing as many of the design reviews as we can at face-to-face meetings rather than via a forum or e-mail because of the better idea exchange that can occur.

I'll try to clarify what I was trying to say.

 

A: I'm going to re-phrase what I wrote before. I don't agree with this statement. Note: this is just a statement. I don't see why face-to-face necessarily enhances the exchange of ideas. In fact I've often seen where face-to-face meetings are used to squash the free-flow of ideas. I'm sure many of us have been invited to meetings where the goal of the meeting was to reach a "consensus". It is my understanding that many managers are trained to use this technique the attendees to "buy into" a preconceived plan. The meeting isn't really to come to a decision -- the decision was already made. The meeting is just a way to give the attendees the impression that they are involved and "count". NOT that I am suggesting that this is happening in this case, mind you. I simply disagree with the premise of the statement.

 

Consider the evidence found in the marketplace: the failed products and crummy advertising campagns. I've experienced the brunt, if you will, of small design teams who work to build something "neat", only to get saddled with something I really didn't want. On the other hand, I've also seen small design teams produce absolutely *wonderful* stuff. So it can go both ways. Thus, I see it as a generally debatable point.

 

B Regarding "comfort". I've heard, and perhaps you have too, that some authors just *love* their word processors, while others can't stand them; some like typewriters, and still others produce everything in longhand.

 

I know I've run across people who would rather not touch a computer. That was the point. It's fine if some people are more comfortable designing with pen and paper. Note that this really is tangential to design review. (Well, OK, I'll cede the point before it's made: yes, some will prefer to see it on paper rather than on a screen.) ;)

 

A+B So, when you combine the two disjoint statements, it should be clear that I deny that the premise of face-to-face being better is generally true, but... perhaps it is true given the people involved.

 

4. Re: "outside interference"

 

You asked why I should have any say at all. That was precisely my point. It is your design. I understand that. I understand wanting control. You'll note that I wrote that this was an advantage. OK? It's an advantage because you don't have to wade through all the lame-brani ideas that people (like me) might throw at you.

 

5. Re: Where Alaskan geocacher's live.

 

You wrote:

We obviously don't. So?

 

The point, which wasn't well made, and I may still not be able to make it well, is that by "requiring" face-to-face meetings to discuss the designs, you really exclude all those Alaskan Geocachers who are not "near" you.

 

Why do I care? I guess I don't really, but... the issue has come up with both of the Washinton State Geocoins. Are we offending folks in Eastern Washington with what we put on the 2004 coin. Shouldn't we try to include them and encourage their participation and ideas for this year's coin?

 

That's what I was trying to commnuicate. I hope I did better this time.

 

I'm sorry if I've offended you -- or anyone else, for that matter. It was not intentional. Perhaps I should say that I'm a techie with no social skills. :D While that may not be entirely true, I recognize that I am not the most adept person at times, that that recognition usually comes after the fact. ;)

 

I noticed that you only objected to my second note in this thread. Was the first OK?

 

BTW, Happy Caching y'all!

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....In the private e-mail I wrote about what *I* saw regarding the design of the Idaho Geocoin -- which was basically "here's the finished product, and here's where you can order some."...

To be fair the Idaho Coin was entirly designed by concencus in the Idahogeocachers forums. It wasn't until it was essentially done that anything was posted on the Geocaching.com forums.

 

For now Alaska doesn't have it's own forums. Online discussin would need to take place on the GC.com forums. Then you get people like me commenting. Face to face discussions are what their is to work with. It works and it's faster than a forum. It's just not as 'open' in that folks in the bush can't attend as easily as those local. But those are the options right now.

 

I forgot to add. Nobody got exactly what they wanted in the Idaho coin, but a lot of us did get something of what we wanted in it. It's a frustrating process, but it leads to a good result if you have the time and patience. I think the best thing we had going was people willing to work with all the ideas on art and pictures and try to show what it looks like. They provided some initial ideas and we built on it while they patiently kept photoshop whirring in the background.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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Also, is there any interest in a special "collector's edition" coin being struck in silver using the same die?  The cost of a silver coin would be between $20 and $40.

I would definately like a silver one, along with the regular one. :huh:

Any idea when these will appear?

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Any idea when these will appear?

I guess things have been quiet for awhile...

 

I have what I hope will be the final artwork meeting with the Alaska Mint on Friday, April 15. I'll be on the road for several days after that.

 

I will endeavor to post the design, final pricing, and table of initial "expressions of interest" with shipping costs prior to Saturday, April 23. At that time, people can change their requests up or down once they see the design and reserve their coins by submitting payment. I'll need a bunch of early payments to cover my credit card which will be groaning under the weight of the required prepayment of the die costs.

 

The Alaska Mint will take six to eight weeks to produce the coins once the artwork is finalized, which means the coins should be available in early- to mid-June.

 

Edit: Fix date and add additional info.

Edited by Ladybug Kids
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Just wanted reiterate that my offer to lead a "support group" for GeoCoins organizers still stands! I suppose it's cheaper than private therapy and better to share the load from the "groans" of personal time and credit balances.

 

I'm always glad more well thought out state Geocoins will be available.

 

Keep chanting, I'm doing this for fun!

 

PS: Silver?, gold leaf?, how's that mosquito repellant option coming along? :D

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