Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on the numismatic literature tradition of photographic plates, and their use today.
I purchased a book at the ANA convention with listings of medals issued over the years. But the greatest annoyance was the necessity of flipping pages back and forth from illustration to description. The author had grouped illustrations on "plates," often at a distance from the description.
How much better it would have been had the author placed an illustration above each medal's description.
The reason plates existed in the past was for the ease of photographing in groups and then printing on coated paper stock. This is no longer necessary with present photographic technology and book printing technology. Illustrations -- in color -- can be printed on most book papers, the same paper used for text. (A different paper for plates is just no longer necessary.)
I admire the scholarship the author exhibited in gathering all the data on each medal, but it would have been an improvement to put the color illustration and description together -- on the same page.
I have to agree as a reader that Dick's suggestion rings true. But I'm not a printer or publisher. Are there any valid reasons for continuing the tradition of plates?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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