Found via the Society of Paper Money Collectors News & Notes, Volume V, Number 6 July 30, 2019. -Editor
To Seth Dickerman, a handful of coins is much more than spare change. "They show all kinds of nicks and scrapes," he said. "Each of these
coins has been through its own unfathomable journey. You know, we don't know where it's been."
Dickerman owns a print shop in downtown San Francisco. But since the 1980s he's been photographing presidents on coins and bills.
"I think it was 1986 actually when I was looking at a dime with a picture of Roosevelt on it," he told correspondent John Blackstone. "And I
just thought he was very dignified. And I didn't find that the occupants of the White House had such dignity at the time. And that's where it started.
I decided to photograph presidents on currency."
The U.S. Mint decided to put presidents on coins in 1909, replacing the Indian head penny with an image of Abraham Lincoln. Up until then, the U.S.
didn't put politicians on money, concerned it would make them look like the ruling monarchs on European currency.
Now we may barely notice the presidential portraits. But on Dickerman's walls, you can't miss them.
The process begins with a camera older than most of the bills and coins themselves. "This is a beautiful, old, eight-by-ten portrait camera," he
said. "It's about 100 years old. It weighs about 1,000 pounds. But it's a beautiful machine for making portraits."
The camera allows him to enlarge the image as much as 10,000 percent.
The prints cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. The enlargements reveal every detail, every flaw.
"When you're confronted with something so much larger than you, it gives it a certain power," he said.
And for Seth Dickerman, that is their real face value.
To read the complete article, see:
Face value: Portraits on money
Wayne Homren, Editor
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