TIPS ON UNDERSTANDING THE NUMISMATIC RATING CRITERIA
FOR COIN AND BANKNOTE DISPLAYS
TITLE & SCOPE – 5 Points
The title should be logical and obvious. Where necessary, the exhibitor should provide an explanation of what he or she intends to display.
Your title needs to tell the viewer what your exhibit is about. A title such as My Ten Favourite Latvian Banknotes will tell viewers more than My Ten Favourite Banknotes. Similarly, Coins from the Ming Dynasty is more informative than Chinese Coins.
Avoid the use of an overly long title; if needed, break the text into a title and subtitle. If using a title and subtitle, consider presenting them over two lines, like the following two examples:
Security Features on Australian Banknotes:
The Development of Micro-printing and Holographic Designs
The Development of Security Features on Australian Banknotes:
Micro-printing and Holographic Designs
Your scope is an introductory statement that should describe the content and purpose of your exhibit. Your scope needs to be accurate and concise – a summary, not an essay. When writing your scope, remember that you are answering the question “what is your exhibit all about?”
One possible scope statement for the Security Features exhibit might be: This exhibit demonstrates the use of security features on Australian decimal banknotes. It follows the development of those features, from simple design elements to the use of polymer technology.
Remember that your title and scope need to match the content of your exhibit. As you develop your exhibit, you might need to modify the title and scope to suit.
BASIC NUMISMATIC INFORMATION – 15 Points
The numismatic details of the exhibited items should be described in a manner appropriate to the title and scope of the exhibit. Details should provide answers to the questions that a numismatist is likely to ask when viewing the exhibit.
Examples might include: mint and mintage, composition, dimensions, designer, engraver, variety identification.
Basic numismatic information answers viewers’ questions about the items in your exhibit, such as:
What is it?
What is it made of?
Who designed, made or signed it?
Where was it made?
How many were made?
What distinguishes it from similar items?
Basic numismatic information tells the viewer something about the items in your exhibit. It should be included in your exhibit above, below or near to the item/s that the information relates to.
Use your title and scope to guide you in determining what information needs to be included. As a general rule, if a piece of information does not relate to an item in your exhibit, or does not contribute to your title and scope, then do not include it.
In addition to the examples given above, basic numismatic information might include: signatures, vignettes, plate engravers, security features, plate number locations or relevant design features.
Special note: when using research materials, be sure to provide a reference list. This can be placed at the beginning or end of your exhibit, or alongside the relevant information that the research material provided. Reference lists need to include: name of the author, title of the book or publication, publisher and date of publication. Where the research is your own, note this also (it can add valuable points in the “Degree of Difficulty” criterion).
SPECIAL NUMISMATIC INFORMATION – 15 Points
Sufficient additional information should be provided to answer the questions that a general viewer is likely to ask when viewing the exhibit.
Examples might include: historic, geographic, biographic, economic, artistic, bibliographic details.
Special numismatic information provides viewers with a background to the items. This is an opportunity to explain about interesting and relevant aspects such as the people and places associated with the items in your exhibit. Translations of foreign words or phrases can also be included.
You might consider including images or photographs. If you do, take care that each picture is of good quality and not too large or too small, thus overwhelming your exhibit.
This criterion is very broad, so take care not to go overboard with the information that you provide.
CREATIVITY & ORIGINALITY – 15 Points
The exhibit should be novel and imaginative.
This criterion can be more challenging than it might at first seem, but worth special attention to win the points.
Experiment with the layout of your material and avoid making each page look much the same as all of the others. You will find numerous tips in the pamphlet Putting Your Exhibit Together.
Consider including relevant ancillary items, being careful not to overwhelm your exhibit.
ATTRACTIVENESS – 10 Points
The exhibit should be neat, well designed and eye-catching. The colour scheme should be pleasing, effective and appropriate to the title and scope. The title and text should be easy to read.
Your exhibit should be arranged to read from left to right. Most importantly of all, it needs to be readable – even where lighting might be less than ideal.
Handwritten exhibits are perfectly acceptable, so long as your handwriting is sufficiently neat and legible.
For computer-generated text, use a font size no smaller than 11, with your title in a larger font size. Choose a font style that is easy to read; some font styles look elegant but can be difficult to read, especially when there are several lines of text together. Experiment with different font types to find the most suitable.
For ease of reading, avoid long sentences and long blocks of text – break things up a bit. Skip a line between paragraphs. If you are using a computer, you might want to experiment with line spacing.
Your exhibit also needs to follow a logical sequence. Ask someone to check your exhibit, to ensure that the passages of text ‘flow’ well and do not jump from one topic to the next.
Proofread your exhibit several times to check for spelling and grammar errors or ‘typos’.
Colour can add to the attractiveness of your display, but be mindful not to overdo it – don’t create a rainbow! Give some thought to the relative readability of different colours, especially against the background of the material (usually paper or card) that the text is printed on. Also how lighting might affect readability of each colour.
It is better to not use standard typing or photocopy paper, because it is likely to curl up like a banana. This makes it difficult to read and is likely to lose some points for presentation. Heavier paper / light card costs a little more, but is well worth the additional expense.
BALANCE – 10 Points
The numismatic items, information and related materials in the exhibit should be balanced and relevant to the title and scope. Factors that can affect balance include the size of items, a cluttered appearance, or by having too little or too much text.
Strictly speaking, balance deals with the comparative amounts of text, numismatic materials and ancillary or collateral materials.
Your exhibit is for viewing and for reading. Too much text can create an imbalance, just as too little text can. The items in your exhibit also need to be presented in a neat, logical and uncluttered manner.
Use your title and scope to guide you in balancing your exhibit – your text and displayed materials need to directly relate to your title and scope.
COMPLETENESS – 10 Points
The exhibit should present all numismatic material necessary and appropriate to support the title and scope. Allowances should be made for lack of material that is not readily available to collectors or for which there is insufficient space to exhibit.
The title and scope of your exhibit tell the judging team and viewers what you intend to display – so make sure that you follow through.
Your exhibit should be as complete as possible for the average collector. For example, an exhibit of Australian pennies might be considered complete, although it does not include a 1930 penny.
Where an item is rare, expensive or difficult for the average collector to obtain, it might be wise to mention this in your scope, or somewhere suitable in your text.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY – 10 Points
The exhibit should demonstrate dedication to collecting, in that the materials or related information were challenging to assemble or present. Examples might include: rare pieces, new research, or a collection that took years to assemble.
This criterion awards points for the time and effort taken in obtaining the items and assembling them in your exhibit.
Generally, an exhibit of recently released and/or readily available materials will not attract many points for degree of difficulty. However, inclusion of one or more obscure or relatively unknown items might attract extra points.
But you would need to demonstrate that you had undertaken considerable research associated with those items. In that case, be sure to draw attention to the item/s and associated research.
CONDITION – 10 Points
The numismatic material should be the best that is reasonably available to the exhibitor. The exhibitor might wish to state relevant information about availability, for the benefit of viewers and judges.
The condition of your exhibited material should be the best of that reasonably affordable and available to the average collector.
Where an item is generally only available in lesser grades, be sure to mention this near the relevant item. If an item is one of the better-known specimens available (compared to those generally available), mention this also.
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