Of course in real life you need one of each, but you can do all kinds of unexpected "photography" with a flatbed scanner.

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For certain kinds of digital recording, your flatbed scanner may be a better investment
than a digital camera

Being a professional photographer, and with about $89,000 worth of studio lighting equipment and sophisticated cameras available, my first instinct was to photograph the coins with a camera (film or digital did not make much difference in this case as long as it was with a camera on a tripod).

First, of course it was awkward to try to photograph coins with a tripod--this setup calls for a repro stand. Second, it would have required considerable arrangement to get the lighting on the shallow relief of the coin. After hours of work and some test shots with expensive equipment, we decided to compare the photographs with scans from a $2500 flatbed scanner.

The flatbed scans were superior to most of the photographs and equal to the better of the photographs.

Needless to say, we rather quickly realized that to record over a thousand coins it would be more cost effective just to scan them. We scanned both sides of the coins. It is essential to have a total record of a coin collection, because otherwise, if you send your coins for grading, or estimate, how do you know whether it is your coins that come back? Most coin dealers are honest, but what about the 1% who may be dishonest and switch your coins?

If you want to get the best images, with easy-to-use scanning software, consider adding SilverFast. SilverFast works with most entry-level and midrange scanners, www.silverfast.com

Could you tell the difference if your coin was switched and replaced with a lesser coin of the same year? With a flatbed scan of both sides you can see every intimate detail of your coins (of course you can enlarge the original scans substantially, but not the copies here on the Internet or it would clog your modem).

flatbed scanners and silver coin collecting
Lexmark print of scanned coins

While on the subject of coins, during the several months that we cataloged and prepared this coin collection for sale we ran into all kinds of coin dealers. Several scam artists called and tried to take advantage of my elderly father. Other coin dealers wanted us to send the entire collection to them, so they could make an offer. But we were dubious that they might switch low cost coins for the valuable ones we had. Thus we scanned both sides of every coin (and refused to send the coins; we told them if they were really interested they could come to look at the coins in person).

We finally found a completely honest coin company and two totally ethical coin dealers, Leo Frese of Heritage Numismatic Auctions and David Mayfield (tel 1 800 872 6467. This company is associated with Heritage Capital Corporation. We recommend these two individuals and the company they represent. Besides, they paid a fair price for the coin collection and we got their check in full before they even took the coins.

The scans are nice to have for insurance coverage as well. What scanner produced this quality?

We printed these coins with a Lexmark 1275n color laser (12 cents a copy; Kinko's would have charged $1.30 a copy).

What kind of paper is best to bring out the quality of your coin collection in full color?

Avoid Epson printers unless you wish to waste money on their excessively overpriced ink, painstakingly lethargic slowness, and inadequate quality (when compared with their slick ads).

Once you get all your nice new scanned images, where and how can you store them? We faced this same dilemma and have worked out a variety of solutions: burning your own CD-R, using the new DVD-RAM., or developing a RAID system for your studio (it's easy, we have a 36 GB RAID system in our own office)

reviews of a professional flatbed scanner, the Fuji C-550 Lanovia, on www.flatbed-scanner-review.org

lots of links to information on desktop publishing hardware/software, www.laser-printer-reviews.org

Raid system

Mexican two peso gold bullion and $50 California gold slugs

enlarged view of twenty dollar gold coin to reveal details

all kinds of information on flatbed scanners from www.flatbed-scanner-review.org

35mm slide scanner gateway (Nikon 35mm slide scanner)

SilverFast scanner software from LaserSoft Imaging

4x5 transparency scanner gateway (review of the Kodak 4050 system)

review of the concepts behind the original Photo CD system--reading this book will change your viewpoint

scanning three dimensional objects: scanning native Maya textiles; scanning archaeological artifacts;

scanning Indian arrowheads

review of Heidelberg CPS Linotype-Hell flatbed scanners

What is the best all-around flatbed scanner ?


FLAAR offers for you more information about this subject
Scanners Preview Creo EverSmart Supreme Printing 3D Digital Rollouts
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Last updated May 30, 1999; links revised May 6, 2000; links added Mar. 2002
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