Capturing the toning…top shelf 1913 Aussie florin

This particular early Australian florin turned out to be one of the more challenging coins to capture accurately in a photograph and even after a fairly sustained effort I still feel that you really need to see it ‘in hand’ to fully appreciate its qualities (still, I reckon I got quite close to getting it ‘on film’ with these final images!).

Toning can be an issue

What made the coin such a problem for me was its patina, specifically the toning.

Let’s face it, toning on coins is simply a matter of personal choice and more often than not is a detracting feature – however, occasionally you do come across attractive toning – it’s often responsible for an outburst of florid descriptive language from an auctioneer; in this case it would probably be something along the lines of “rich sepia tones with underlying lustre (?stunning/beautiful?)” or similar…you get the idea…( don’t get me wrong, I’m all for enthusiasm in regard to coins but I think it’s wise to restrain the emotions when purchasing! ).

Anyway, not only does this florin exhibit ‘nice toning’ but also a general lack of wear – here are the opening shots with my normal setup:

Highlighting wear

The extent of wear is a major factor when considering the grade, so it’s worthwhile having a good look. ( If needed, there’s a bit more information on that in this earlier post on KGV florins ).

In this instance we can already see a high level of detail each side.

Still, by bringing the single spot a bit closer to increase light intensity ( not so close that everything is blown out, though! ), any contact marks present ought to pop out more…

…and those last two photos confirm reasonably clear fields. Great!

This blasting of light onto the coin washes out the colours somewhat, but we at least can see that we’re dealing with a high grade example here – ‘slight overall wear on both sides’ (!).

Now that’s pretty exciting but wait, there’s more…

…at this stage I know the coin has ‘nice toning’, but it’s not really all that clear from the shots so far, although it’s kind of hinted at in the first four.

Elusive toning

So it’s back to fiddling with light sources and camera settings to try and achieve an image as close to reality ‘in hand’ as possible. For the record only pre-loaded (from the factory) white balance settings were tried.

Here’s the sequence :

The best effort is the last two, but as the lighting is basically a static single source, it doesn’t show some parts very well.

In an attempt to show how the colouration and shine are distributed over each side, here are some shots with the light at various angles:

At last..!

Anyway, after a bit more stuffing around, here are the two I finally ended up with as being best representatives:

Now that was quite a lot of work and ordinarily I wouldn’t bother; it’s only the scarcity of this coin – due mainly to its great condition – that kept me going…the consequent high dollar value and, naturally, the challenge in securing a quality image!

Happy Collecting!

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