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Ian Fenn's Blog

07 Oct 2015

The first dollar,

Coins-World | Ian Fenn

Last week I received a OMG-thats-so-cheap purchase; an enlarging lens a Schneider Kreuznach APO-Componon HM 4/45 to be exact. Its not that I don't have enough lenses for photographing coins. At the moment I am selling off some un-necessary lenses and this new purchase has sped up the process. 45 mm is not usually a good lens for coins, and even before I received it in the post I was wondering if I had made a mistake. The one thing that was reassuring is the HM designation. HM stands for High modulation, marketing speak for high resolution. the lenses I am getting rid of are low resolution and my camera, a 42MP, has really shown those lenses up. The new lens, theoretically, should cope with a 120 MP camera( if one existed). I have had fun playing with the lens but the 45mm F4 is a weak point. With such a short focusing distance getting the coin illuminated nicely is a challenge. After a lot of playing around I found how to best use the lens and last night imaged two, in my opinion, important world coins.The first is a Joachimsthaler Guildengroschen circa 1520. This is the coin the gave us the word Dollar. The coins name was a bit long and it had three nicknames back in the 16th century; Shlickeiner ( named after the Count of Schlick who issued the coin in Bohemia), Joachimer (After the name of the valley the mine and mint were located in ( St Joachims Valley)) and Thaler ( meaning from the Valley). It was Thaler that was ultimately translated into "dollar" I have been doing some research and realize that it could be argued that Guildengroschen is best translated as "Silver Ducat". Guilden being the German word for Ducat at that time. Actually this coin wasnt the first Guildengroschen the Honor goes to the Hall mint of Tirol which produced the first "Silver Ducat" in 1486( if my memory serves me well)The Circa 1520 Schlick Thalers were the very first issues of the counts of Schlick the second coin( the photo of which shows the lens has its limitations) is the last coin issued by that family it was issued under the reign of Maria Theresa so the reverse is that of one of her thalers.

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