How to Photograph Coins for Appraisal or Sale | PriceThatCoin.com

Here are simple, quick instructions explaining how to take great coin pictures. Once mastered, use your coin photography skill for effective PriceThatCoin.com appraisal services, or to sell your coins for top dollar.

Before we begin, if you’re new to the world of collectible coins:
1) don’t ever clean coins, and
2) hold coins by their edges only.

Time:

Set aside 15 to 30 minutes to take great pictures of your coins.

Equipment:

Use any digital camera. Phone cameras work fine.
Use two bright lights separate from your camera, like table lamps.

Coin Photography Set Up - Side View - Photo
Coin Photography Set Up – Side View – Photo. Note the use of an older phone camera, a card table with a neutral background color, and table lamps. A tripod may help, but is not required. (Scroll down to see actual photographs from this set up.)

Technique:

  1. Hold the camera close to the coin.
    Hold the camera directly over the coin, or close to it. Make the coin as large as you can without using the camera’s zoom.
  2. Get the whole coin, left-to-right, top-to-bottom, in focus.
  3. Hold your camera steady.
    Put your hands on a steady surface while holding the camera. Keep the complete coin large and in-focus. A tripod may help, but is not necessary.

Practice, Fine-tune:

Once you the coin is large (without zooming), and completely in focus, adjust your lighting.

To make your lighting better, adjust the lighting around the coin to:

A) minimize glare and,
B) make the coin bright enough to see all details.

Adjust brightness by moving your lights closer or further from the coin.

Be careful not to block the light with the camera or anything holding the camera. Do not move the coin or lighting once the coin is lit well.

Take Your Coin Pictures:

Take 10 or more pictures of each side of the coin. Take pictures from slightly different angles. Move the camera around a little, and keep the coin large and in-focus.

Select Your Best Coin Photographs:

Choose the best two or three photos of each side of the coin. You should not need to edit your photographs. You may wish to crop your photos (that is, clip out excess background).

To select the best pictures, zoom in on each and ensure that the entire coin is in-focus and all details are visible. If the entire coin is not in-focus or there are details missing, take more pictures of your coin(s).

Common coin photography problems and solutions >

Have Fun With It!

You might be surprised at what you find in your coin photographs! You might be surprised how rewarding and fun it can be to take great coin photographs. You have many options once you have great, honest, coin photographs.

Want more detail about great coin photography? We’re here for that.