We often get asked “How do I make a coin?” Making a coin is a lot like building a house, but nearly as complicated or expensive.
The Whale Tail is the secret code name we used for a project commissioned by Geocoinfest 2018 in Seattle. It’s a nice little (but amazingly hefty) tag featuring a whale’s tail sticking out of the water as the rest of the beast is submerged diving under. This whale tail is special because it is drawn in the Native Art motif of the Pacific Northwest.
Written by J.D. Parkman
Holding a contest, a real contest based on content instead of a random drawing or something similar, is hard. Coming up with the idea is easy enough, and it does take a little effort to get the word out but it is not that difficult. It is great fun to see the number of entries come in as the contest progresses. Then comes the time to judge. It gets very real very fast my friends, and hard. More on that in a bit, but first let us recap and set the stage.
Compass Creek Designs is a new company, an off-shoot of Cache Advance. It is not unusual for a new company to introduce itself with a splashy announcement or discount coupons. We chose a third option - The Zany Contest. Our contest winner would receive a 100 piece set of coins of their design (on the front, our Compass Creek “Common Back” on the, uh… back). We received nearly 200 entries through our brand new website. Nearly 200 entries that will need to be narrowed down to just one. Perhaps we should have gone with the splashy announcement.
In order to complete the judging the entry data was stripped of any identifying information and submitted to the judging committee of Lisa and me. We went through the entries separately to narrow down the submissions. When we compared notes we discovered each of us had nearly 200 winners. Yep, holding a contest is hard.
Then something interesting happened. As we went through the entries it became apparent the submissions fell into three categories – Personal, Organization, and Challenge Medallion. Indeed, after a lot of work and review, we got to a winner. If you must know who that is now, you can scroll down and peek ahead. Otherwise, enjoy with us some of the reasons why it was so hard to pick a winner.
Personal: This category ranged from the “Why would I not want a personal Geocoin?” to the detailed level of “I would like 100 custom coins to celebrate over two decades served in the United States Air Force!” We had cachers wanting coins to honor other cachers for their dedication to this game. “I nominate ____ cacher” was the most touching in that regard. Within this spectrum we had entries to celebrate weddings, people and pet memorials, as well as celebrating profound personal achievements for health and well being.
Organization: Many of the submissions for organizations were made by people that were not part of the organization save being a member, but wanted to recognize what that organization did for them, their area and Geocaching as a whole. There were submissions from Board Members as well of course. We can tell you that there are a lot of organizations doing a lot of good for our game.
Challenge Medallion: We did not expect this to show up on the radar as much as it did for the contest. What we are calling a Challenge Medallion would be something very similar to a military, police, or fire department coin that does not rely on a tracking number. Turns out many of our Geocaching family work within this world and recognized the contest to be an excellent opportunity to spread their goals via the coin.
The natural development of the three categories spoke to us. So much so that we decided to award a winner from each of the three categories, all receiving a 100 coin package. Yep, holding a contest is hard. Here are your winners and their entries!
Personal: Danny Bays
“I have had a series of geocachers at The Lost River Cavie in Bowling Green Kentucky for a number of years. I believe they are the most popular caches for the area. They have been logged over 6000 times and found a lot more than what the logs reflect. I go walking there almost daily and often run into cachers on the trail. I always go out of my way to show them the park and usually buy them a parting gift from the gift shop. If I won the coins I would give the coins to cachers I meet at the park. Of cours I would keep one or two for myself.”
Challenge Medallion: Martha Ellen Joy – CAMO Ministry
“We are a ministry that works with our US Military at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. We are a non-profit group and coins are very significant to military personnel. It would b great to be able to recognize them with a CAMO coin. We are not a caching group though my wife and I are. Thanks for reading this and letting us enter.”
Organization: Corey Davis – Geocaching Academy
“The goal of Geocaching Academy is to educate any and all who want to learn about Geocaching. We have tough dozens and dozens of classes over the years for State Parks, scouts, municipalities, libraries, law enforcement and more. Geocaching Academy is currently rebranding with a fresh new logo and website design. 100 custom coins with the new logo would be one of the absolute best ways to help spread the word and make more people aware of our mission.”
We would like to thank each and every one of you who entered our contest. The submissions were great. It was an honor to have your stories shared with us!
Lisa and I found it extremely difficult to award just one winner in each of the three categories. Did I mentioned that contests are hard?