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Artemisians attempt money

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  • Therasia von Tux
    Well, four of us amateur moneyers got together last night to do our first coin run. I made one die and Ulric made the other. I didn t get a chance to speak
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 10, 2004
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      Well, four of us amateur moneyers got together last night to do our first coin run. I made
      one die and Ulric made the other. I didn't get a chance to speak with Ulrik before he made
      his die so it was higher in the middle than on the edges - the poor guy was running down
      and back to and from his shop in his basement (we were doing our stuff at his place in
      Twin Falls, aka Twae Linnes) to try to even up the face without losing too much detail (but
      he engraved his die so it wasn't as bad as it could have been if he had used punches).
      After 5 hours or so, the few coins we managed to turn out were looking a whole lot better
      than when we started.

      We're doing these for coronation, which is tomorrow. Ulric was feeling a bit down over the
      fact that we weren't having much luck in getting 100% coverage on our struck coins - and I
      kept telling him that it was our first run and what we were turning out wasn't bad under
      the circumstances. He got on the phone with the Crown Prince (who was supposed to
      show up and help out but got stuck at work instead). And bless the man's heart, the
      Prince got through to Ulrik that it was far more important to him that there be hand-
      struck coins at coronation than that they look beautiful - if he had wanted pefect looks, he
      would have contracted with Treasure Cast in Boise to cast site tokens instead. We all felt a
      lot better after that.

      Now most of the moneyers I know use just a leather glove when holding the dies during
      striking, but no one of the Artemisian moneyers besides me and Sean (the "spousal unit")
      have done any coin striking before. Hauling out the sledge and striking the blanks
      wearing just a leather glove left the other artemisian moneyers last night with big round
      eyes of disbelief - so it was a good thing that I had tossed some lacrosse mitts and one of
      my "axe guantlets" (aka, Therasia's guantlets on steroids, complete with 12 ga. SST
      "banger plates" to prevent a reoccurance of the dislocated thumb injury of 1992). The
      guys were feeling really nervous about doing the striking with just a leather glove on -
      which I thought might be the case - and they looked a lot more relaxed when I hauled out
      the lacrosse mitts and the axe gauntlet. In a way, I'm glad I did. The guy holding the dies
      when we got the assembly line finally set-up decided he wanted the gauntlet. And then
      Ulric missed the die on one of the strikes and the sledge came down on the banger plate
      of the gauntlet. My guantlet's got a blemish now from the sledge but the hand inside the
      guantlet hardly felt a thing.

      I handed out a small pile of Chandra's coining class notes to folks and the Anglo-Saxon
      alphabet from the files on this list site to everyone and plan to hand out more
      tomorrow. There'll be more coin striking tonight and tomorrow. I hope to get pictures to
      post - and yes, I'll remember to snag a coin to send to Emmerick. Looks like moneying in
      Artemisian is getting off the ground finally.

      ttfn
      Therasia
    • g.p.franck-weiby
      ... first coin run... ... struck coins - and I kept telling him that it was our first run and what we were turning out wasn t bad under the circumstances.
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 10, 2004
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        At 07:37 PM 9/10/2004 -0000, Therasia wrote:
        > Well, four of us amateur moneyers got together last night to do our
        first >coin run...
        > Ulric was feeling a bit down over the
        >fact that we weren't having much luck in getting 100% coverage on our
        struck >coins - and I kept telling him that it was our first run and what
        we were >turning out wasn't bad under the circumstances.

        Looking at some original medieval coins should help put some perspective on
        it too - a lot of the originals were pretty wretched looking - and they
        didn't have the excuse of being beginners.

        >He got on the phone with the Crown Prince (who was supposed to show up and
        >help out but got stuck at work instead). And bless the man's heart, the
        >Prince got through to Ulrik that it was far more important to him that
        there >be hand-struck coins at coronation than that they look beautiful -
        if he had >wanted pefect looks, he would have contracted with Treasure Cast
        in Boise to >cast site tokens instead. We all felt a lot better after that.

        My observation over many years is that most people don't care what the
        coins look like - they're just genuinely thrilled to have them. If anybody
        speaks a discouraging word about your coins, hand them a hammer and tell
        <them> to do better.

        >Now most of the moneyers I know use just a leather glove when holding the
        dies >during striking, but no one of the Artemisian moneyers besides me and
        Sean >(the "spousal unit") have done any coin striking before. Hauling out
        the >sledge and striking the blanks wearing just a leather glove left the
        other >artemisian moneyers last night with big round eyes of disbelief...
        The
        >guys were feeling really nervous about doing the striking with just a
        leather >glove on - ...
        >... My guantlet's got a blemish now from the sledge but the hand inside the
        guantlet hardly felt a thing.

        In An Tir, striking with a glove or anything on the hand is uncommon. The
        only perceived utility of using a glove is that, if a die is hit off
        center, it can rock and pinch you palm, making a little blood blister.

        At the American Numismatic Association convention in Portland last March,
        we were striking a penny size commem with a modern high relief design on
        one side; it took an 8# hammer to get good strikes. My assistant,
        Journeyman Moneyer Armand de Force had a lot of fun playing with people's
        expectations, occasionally shouting "OUCH!" as I hit the die - and then
        "Just kidding!". When Boy Scout troops watched us he'd ask them if they'd
        completed their first aid badges. He told people to stand back 'further
        than the blood would splash'. Even when he wasn't joking around, there was
        always somebody in each new group watching us who had to say to Armand,
        "You must really trust him". I always responded with, "It's the Mint Rule
        that if I hit his hand, then it's my turn to hold the dies". That was
        always good for a laugh, but it was usually a laugh of the lightbulb of
        understanding switching on.

        While that was the easiest way to put people at ease, perhaps it might be
        useful for beginning moneyers to treat the 'Mint Rule' as literally true.
        As I discussed at length in postings last year, the pre-industrial approach
        to safety is a matter of the worker's attitude toward the work. Like the
        trapeze artist working without a net, when you can't afford to miss, you
        don't miss. Although I wouldn't want to argue the case, a corrolary would
        be that, if you're confident that it doesn't matter if you miss, then you
        do miss. A gauntlet got hit, nobody got hurt, no problem, right? Well,
        you're not getting good strikes that way either.

        I'd be concerned that the problem with actually enforcing the 'Mint Rule'
        would be that it would make a nervous beginning hammerman even more
        nervous. If you're not confident that you can hit the die every time, then
        practice driving big nails with a heavy hammer first. Then do
        self-striking, only moving on to striking dies someone else holds when
        you're confident that you won't hit your own hand. I recall training an
        apprentice (who is now a Fellow of the Guild and a Laurel) in
        self-striking; he was getting poor strikes because he was using too short a
        stroke. I told him to use a longer swing, but he was afraid that he'd hit
        his hand. I told him to do it anyway - and he hit his hand. No damage was
        done, but it got him over the psychological hurdle of fearing that he'd hit
        his hand. Within ten minutes he was getting 90% good strikes and never hit
        his hand again.

        >I hope to get pictures to post - and yes, I'll remember to snag a coin to
        send >to Emmerick.

        and one for Ian? :-)

        >Looks like moneying in Artemisian is getting off the ground finally.

        Huzzah!

        Ian
      • Jim Gerlinsky
        ... I ll second that sentiment. I had the fortune to handle some coins a good gentle (whos name I forget) had at Antir s May Crown. They realy made me feel
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 10, 2004
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          >
          >
          >Looking at some original medieval coins should help put some perspective on
          >it too - a lot of the originals were pretty wretched looking - and they
          >didn't have the excuse of being beginners.
          >
          >
          >
          I'll second that sentiment. I had the fortune to handle some coins a
          good gentle (whos name I forget) had at Antir's May Crown. They realy
          made me feel better about the first coins I finaly struck. I'll post
          some pictures of them after my Baron and Baroness have seen them.
          Since they commissioned them I think it's only fair they see them first.
          Schmett
        • g.p.franck-weiby
          ... That could have been me. I set up a table for the Moneyers Guild at An Tir May Crown in Chilliwack BC; since it was so lonely in the vast, mostly empty,
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 12, 2004
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            At 11:01 PM 9/10/2004 -0600, Schmett wrote:
            >
            >>Looking at some original medieval coins should help put some perspective on
            >>it too - a lot of the originals were pretty wretched looking - and they
            >>didn't have the excuse of being beginners.
            >
            >
            >
            >I'll second that sentiment. I had the fortune to handle some coins a
            >good gentle (whos name I forget) had at Antir's May Crown.

            That could have been me. I set up a table for the Moneyers' Guild at An
            Tir May Crown in Chilliwack BC; since it was so lonely in the vast, mostly
            empty, hall for A&S activities, the merchantcrat gave me a spare booth in
            the merchant hall. I had my whole collection of period coins there, as
            well as all of my relevant books. Another possibility is that merchant
            Master Mark de Gaukler OL often has some original period coins for sale.

            >They realy made me feel better about the first coins I finaly struck.

            BTW, where are you located?

            >I'll post some pictures of them after my Baron and Baroness have seen them.

            looking foreward to seeing them!

            >Since they commissioned them I think it's only fair they see them first.

            That's reasonable and honorable.

            Ian
          • Jim Gerlinsky
            That could have been me. I set up a table for the Moneyers Guild at An Tir May Crown in Chilliwack BC; since it was so lonely in the vast, mostly empty, hall
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 12, 2004
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              That could have been me.  I set up a table for the Moneyers' Guild at An
              Tir May Crown in Chilliwack BC; since it was so lonely in the vast, mostly
              empty, hall for A&S activities, the merchantcrat gave me a spare booth in
              the merchant hall.  I had my whole collection of period coins there, as
              well as all of my relevant books.  
              It was you then M'lord, I got to know Master de Gaukler as he acted as money chager for me converting American funds in to Canadian.  I'd like to thankyou again for the advice and the visit.  Getting to actualy handle those coins was the greatest thing for letting me know that I could actualy do this.
                
              BTW, where are you located?
              West Reaches of the Barony of Mrygan Wood, in the Principality of Avacal.
              Schmett
            • g.p.franck-weiby
              ... OK, guys, looking at original period coins is a , but what if you don t happen to run into me at an event in An Tir where you can look at coins
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 13, 2004
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                At 09:27 PM 9/12/2004 -0600, Schmett wrote:
                >
                > Getting to actualy handle those coins was the greatest thing for letting
                >me know that I could actualy do this.

                OK, guys, looking at original period coins is a <good thing>, but what if
                you don't happen to run into me at an event in An Tir where you can look at
                coins I've collected? I don't know if it's ethical to make a commercial
                plug on our list, but there is a coin dealer who's been advertising 'cheap
                medieval coins' in Tournaments Illuminated for years. I've met him a
                couple of times this year at coin shows. He's serious about medieval
                coins. He's involved in a non-SCA medieval historical recreation group,
                and he's recruited a guy to do moneying for him. I loaned them some
                punches and dies to use to illustrate die making along with a coining demo
                they did at the Medieval Studies Conference in Kalamazoo this past May.
                (BTW, he told me that he doesn't remember ever making a single sale from
                his TI ad.) It should be within everybody's budget to pick up at least a
                couple of period coins. Put a 10X lens on them to get a good squint at how
                period dies pushed the metal around, so you can get a better feel for what
                you're trying to do to the metal yourself.

                >>BTW, where are you located?

                > West Reaches of the Barony of Mrygan Wood, in the Principality of Avacal.

                cool Looking foreward to seeing your Baronial pieces.

                Ian
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