April 25, 2021
It has been a couple of years since I have written Numisnotes. Quite frankly it has been my day job in radio taking my time. I will explain.
I was in Houston with a radio station that leased to a broadcaster that ran all their programs from their location. At the radio station, my job was to make sure the station was on the air and that the programs our client sent went on the air. Other than keeping a screenshot of the transmitter up on the computer and a radio playing in the background, there wasn't much to do. I had tons of time for coins.
My goal had been 36 coin releases in 36 months. I think I got to 30. Unfortunately the last few did not sell as well as I had hoped which limited what I could do on future releases. You see, I put every penny back in to make more coins.
About the same time the Game of Thrones thing happened with Shire Post, my go to place for coin making. Tom was seeing his dream materialize and I am so happy it did. If you know Tom, you understand how sincere I am in being happy for his success.
This too limited what I could do in creating new coins. Simply put the coin income diminished and hopes of a new coin meant finding money from elsewhere. I had a construction permit to build an FM radio station so excess cash went there as well as much of my time. My group got cold feet and I simply did not have the cash to quit my day job and go for broke. I understand radio sales and I knew I could not break even for at a minimum of two years not matter how much I cut operating expenses. The station was never built. So, my day job in Houston at that radio station began to have issues. For the first time there were more radio stations leasing to programmers than there were programmers. My pay was eventually cut in half. Then a couple of years later my paycheck vanished. Finally I had to move to accept a job elsewhere. The station where I am was only able to match 50% of my monthly expenses. Covid hit and hurt sales further. Finally I am almost to the point of covering my monthly living expenses.
So where does that leave us? First it leaves me without the dollars t create new coins or even to mint more of prior releases. I can do some banknotes. This is relatively inexpensive because I already have a good amount of specialty paper and a good number of designs, signature stamps and seals to create them. It's finding the time when the spark of excitement ignites for the perfect setting to create.
I might be a bit weird in the process. I believe a good fantasy coin or banknote is rooted in fact. I a currency appears you can rest assured I have poured over research to establish a factual value of the named currency. You can bet the design is inspired by a real note and you can bet the place, albeit fantasy, has a twin rooted in reality. For an example, Varhus is based on Foula and a few nearby islands.
Finding real values of historic denominations is much like finding a needle in a haystack. For Blenheim Reef's 1 Hana, it took some digging. Finally I was able to locate two sources (one is never enough nor are two sources naming the one source). I finally came across a conversion of Hana to Fanam and from there Fanam to Rupee. Then I needed to know silver purity which is figured by time period records of conversions against, say, the Spanish Dollar. I could not concisely say the Hana was 1/2 gram pure silver or .7 gram pure silver as I found several sources to support each (including historic documents on pricing from merchandise shipped). All that stuff is usually online but you have to dig well beyond the first few pages and sometimes alter searches from the monetary value to find a supporting document. For example, I discovered one denomination value by an article that listed what could be bought, say in 1612 versus an accounting of prices paid by a merchant ship in 1620 for the same items, denominated in Spanish Dollars. Since coins were valued by their metal content, it was a matter of division to determine actual silver value.
MAKING BANKNOTES - Costs
I utilize specialty papers I buy from Handmade Paper vendors. Most sheets come about the size of a newspaper page and need to be cut to be sized properly. As is typical, not every attempt at a note works out so you can expect 20-25% waste including paper cuts that leave scraps too small for a note.
The next step is designs. You can use woodcuts or rubber stamps. Generally count on about 5 per note made. Ink, usually ink pads, run about the same number, around 5. This is an average. So, a rule of thumb is around $65 in materials to make about 20 to 25 notes. The hope is they will be popular enough to require buying another sheet of specialty paper to up the circulation to 40 to 50 because you can reuse the same rubber stamps or wood cuts and the same ink pads. Thus, 40 to 50 costs about $70 to make. That is a sweet spot because after paying for the website, envelope, printing the story and such, you can double your money. Don't think much money. If you invest $70 your expenses might be $75 for about 40 to 50 notes you sell for $3 each. Thus, if you can manage to sell 50, you might have $75 profit. Nobody getting rich here because it's all done for the fun of coin and banknote collecting.
My reasoning for posting this is to inspire you to give it a try. If you do, please let me know. I collect as well!