1. Why are you minting coins?
Are you looking for a signature item? To promote or commemorate an event? Unfortunately, you really do need to think about this!
For example, when I minted the EatStayPlay.com geocoins for a business promotion, I never expected to have to produce so many. And the cost really crept up. But, when I had a limited run of 50 Arizona Centennial Geocoins made it was for a specific purpose of commemorating that event.
However, an additional 1,000 collectable “medallions” were made that were not trackable and were sold at events across Yavapai County. (The county lawyers wouldn’t let them be called “coins” because they have no monetary value or “tokens” because they cannot be exchanged for anything. Geez!)
2. Set your budget and timeline
And do this BEFORE you talk to the various mints! If you only have $200 to spend and that’s it you need to know that going in.
And if you decide three weeks before your event that you want coins, well, I can tell you that it’s just not going to happen! It takes far longer to mint new coins than a reorder. I recommend giving yourself at least eight weeks from start to finish, just to be safe.
3. Trackable or collectable?
Trackable will add at least another $1.50 per coin to the cost. I say “at least” because most mints also charge for engraving numbers on the coin itself. Would you rather have fewer coins but they’re trackable or more that are for collections only? Again, think about your answer to number 1.
4. Come up with your sketch and features
Mints can take a rough sketch and produce beautiful coins! But, depending on the complexity of your geocoin it can drastically alter your price. Remember, geocoins do not have to be round either!
And you also need to think about things like how many colors of enamel you want, the finish of the coin, texture only versus enamel, how detailed it will be, etc. The mint you work with will have lots of ideas and suggestions for you. But be aware that some options will look amazing and have a price tag to match!
The Arizona Centennial Geocoins are trackable along the side. While the engraving was a bit more expensive, it allowed me to use the same dies for the 1,000 collectable “medallions.”
5. Select a mint
Geocaching.com has a great list of geocoin mints. I recommend contacting a few of them to get prices. Maybe even send them your sketch or artwork to get suggestions. But, be aware that for smaller runs of geocoins some mints charge an artwork fee. You need to be super clear that you are looking for suggestions and a detailed bid.
Then, go with the mint you feel the most comfortable with.
6. Get a finalized quote
Make sure it includes tracking numbers, engraving costs, shipping and handling, artwork fees and anything else you’re concerned about. For trackable coins, I also recommend making sure that the mint will contact geocaching.com on your behalf because all trackable coins must have their designs approved by Groundspeak prior to minting.
7. Decide about payment
Are several geocachers going to go in on the coins? Will you allow the mint to sell your coins (at a profit) in exchange for a few free geocoins? Will an event sponsor foot the bill?
In the case of the Arizona Centennial Coins, I got a start-up loan from the county committee and then sold the coins at my event to pay back the loan and cover the rest of the production costs. But at the end of the day, I still had to put it on MY credit card and then pay it off later!
I haven’t pulled any samples for my coins that I minted but I know a lot of geocachers swear by them. It’s really up to you. If you’re budget is tight or your unsure how the design will look, then I highly recommend it. Just remember that samples can extend the process 4-6 weeks so allow enough time!
Readers Weigh In:
- What have been your experiences minting geocoins?
- Why did you mint your coin? How did it go?