The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 18, May 3, 2009, Article 7


Zyrus Press has published a second edition of Numismatic Photography by Mark Goodman. I've never dabbled in numismatic photography, so I'm in no position to review the book thoroughly. However, Jessica Mullenfeld of Zyrus provided me with an electronic copy and I'll excerpt some sample passages below.

I was impressed with Goodman's writing style; this book takes what could be a very arcane and technical subject and breaks it down into easy to understand steps and instructions. I suspect even a dunderhead like me could learn enough from this book to do a very respectable job of numismatic photography -Editor
Goodman Numismatic Photography 2nd ed I am a radiologist by trade, which means I spend most of my day in a dark room looking at images. Radiology teaches you to be very critical of your images and also to understand what makes an image look the way that it does. Attention to detail has, in part, fueled my obsession with image quality in coin photography.

Moreover, given the near complete lack of information available in print on how to photograph coins, nearly all of my techniques are self-taught. Coin photography is very different from other macrophotography disciplines and requires the development of a completely different set of skills and techniques.

Indian Cent rev The idea for Numismatic Photography grew out of the myriad coin photography questions I answered in the online forum. After writing the same advice over and over to people, I began the process of consolidating all that information into one place.

This resulted in two published articles on coin photography. Both appeared in Longacre’s Ledger, a journal for Indian cent collectors, and online at my website. Then, about three years ago, I decided to expand upon those articles and write this photography book.

Clearly, the camera is fundamental to coin photography. However, it is not as important as you might think. An expensive camera alone is no guarantee of great pictures. Given the right lighting and setup, quality pictures can be obtained from almost any camera. Practice combined with the right technique of camera setup and lighting is the real key to numismatic photography.

Point-and-shoot digital cameras are relatively compact and fully self-contained. This style is made to be convenient and many of its features are streamlined for that purpose. You can carry a point-and-shoot camera in your shirt pocket and take a wide variety of photos with little difficulty. They are also relatively inexpensive. It is this convenience and reasonable price that make point and- shoot cameras a popular first choice for most photographers.

What you really need for coin photography is a camera that allows you to shoot macro photographs from a reasonable distance. This can be accomplished with either a longer focal length lens or zoom capacity. With point-and-shoot cameras, add-on macro lenses can provide extra magnification. Most photography stores sell reasonably priced macro lenses. You just have to make sure that you purchase a lens that fits your particular camera.

The book is relatively short at 159 pages, but this seems adequate for the material presented. Each chapter is neatly divided into "Essentials" and "Advanced" sections. Chapters include: 1795 Dundee Conder token
  • The Camera
  • Camera Features
  • Useful Gadgets
  • Lighting Types
  • Imaging Concepts
  • Determinants of Sharpness
  • Contrast Management
  • Color and Luster
  • High Contrast Coins
  • Medium Contrast Coins
  • Low Contrast Coins
  • Raw Coins
  • Toned Coins
  • Special Imaging Techniques
  • Imaging Slabs
  • Image Interpretation
  • Image Presentation

Also included are a Glossary and Index, plus appendices on General Coin Photography Rules and Troubleshooting. All in all, Goodman's book seems like a very useful one to have on hand, both when buying a new camera and attempting to take some usable coin images.

I'd be interested in hearing opinions of the book from some of our readers, many of whom photograph coins on a daily basis. -Editor
For more information or to order a copy, see:


Our 98th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature features
selections from the library of Valerie Renee Nickles
(and other consignors)
Highlights include:
  • Lot A22 - McCawley & Grellman - Scott Barnes Sale - hardbound in leather and numbered.
  • Lot C10 - Q. David Bowers' American Coin Treasures and Hoards - signed by QDB and inscribed by John J. Ford, Jr.
  • Lot C31 - Ivy Press - 1990 - the two-part interview with John J. Ford, Jr. - Ford has written a rather caustic inscription relating to his situation vis-a-vis Territorial Gold, etc. Both issues are signed.
  • C34 - Alan Kessler - 1976 - The Fugio Cents
  • E15 - D. R. Cooper - 1988 - The Art and Craft of Coinmaking.....
  • E42 - G. Michailovitch - 1973 (reprint) - Monnaies de L'Empire de Russie:1725-1894
  • F55 - W. Wolka - 2004 - Nineteenth Century Ohio Obsolete Bank Notes and Scrip
  • H89 - J. R. Snowden - 1861- ......Medals of Washington........
  • J18 - C. S. Brigham - 1969 - Engravings of Paul Revere
The closing date of the sale is May 26, 2009 at 5:00 PM (EDT) and the catalog may be viewed at:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster