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WildIdea’s 2023 year end recap

WildIdeaWildIdea Posts: 1,870 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited December 18, 2023 7:57AM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

Numismatic year that went by too fast.

On a normal year I would have picked up many pieces for my collection and had no trouble picking out a trio to highlight while reflecting on my involvement with the hobby. This year was thin on purchases and a look at my camera roll from Jan 1st to present to see what it was I bought this year reveals nothing noteworthy. For sure I would have found something to buy, but it appears I didn’t find a coin, plaque or medal of interest until July, which was a 58mm Goetz medal from cacheman, then nothing until even later in the year when my buddy Lou bought a decent size medals collection and I went home with most if the German pieces……

As I pass another year in the hobby, I’d say it’s still a rewarding journey. I’m forever amazed that once I satisfy a curiosity, there is another surprise around the corner. It’s safe to say I’ve completely abandoned collecting US Federal coinage. I had hoped a run at colonials would do it, but that was brief and I opened my eyes and shifted my focus to foreign material. This kinda worked for a while and I was kicking my feet trying to keep my interest above water studying Swiss shooting medals, Conder Tokens and copper issues from Mexico when I took a deep breath and started sorting out what Goetz medallic art was all about. I had heard the name for years, but there was so many cast medals, struck medals and patterns, it just seems a bit too complicated when I was concentrating on other stuff. As my plate became clear and I could put my entire focus onto the arena I slowly started learning about the casting process and learning more about WW1 through medallic art. Cacheman has been a big mentor, always there to answers questions and put me in the right direction to discover and ultimately think for myself. Checking in here and watching auctions for just the right piece to come available, I still consider myself active although I hold out hope to be even more active in the future if my responsibilities ever level out.

As they often do, out of nowhere in an over seas auction, I saw one piece that would fit my collection to a tee. Mostly, it is enjoyable to simply scroll lots, read descriptions and track pricing while watching bids run up to past making sense when you factor in all the BP, shipping and exchange rate etc. Still, I trip out over cast iron medals from WW1 that have a bit of rusty patination in the protected areas. I think it’s a wonder when these tone up without eating corrosive holes into the surface. So I went for it and about a month later it came to town. I was reminded it was mid Dec when the line at the PO was out the door. Nevertheless l was pleased to have the piece in hand as it patiently sat in my car until late at night when the work day was through. This particular K-190 is a solid addition to my grouping (top left) of other cast iron Goetz satiracles from WW1 and a perfect way to cap my collecting year. At this rate I’m predicting that’s it for me this year!

Hoping you all have a happy, healthy and productive 2024, see ya there!

Comments

  • cachemancacheman Posts: 3,111 ✭✭✭

    A Nice looking set! If you stick with cast iron examples you'll be guaranteed that they were indeed cast during the war years. I also find the cast iron pieces especially crisp in nature and it never ceases to amaze me just how finely, and thinly, Goetz was able to produce these.

    Some years are more productive than others...continue the hunt as it's a big part of collecting.

    Happy New Year!

  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,670 ✭✭✭✭✭

    great write up- outstanding set thus far

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 11,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats on the successful year

  • WildIdeaWildIdea Posts: 1,870 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @cacheman said:
    A Nice looking set! If you stick with cast iron examples you'll be guaranteed that they were indeed cast during the war years. I also find the cast iron pieces especially crisp in nature and it never ceases to amaze me just how finely, and thinly, Goetz was able to produce these.

    Some years are more productive than others...continue the hunt as it's a big part of collecting.

    Happy New Year!

    @cacheman, we have spoken about this very thing several times and pieces made during the Great War add a wonder and mystique to the pieces. Collecting cast material like Goetz as well as others has motivated me to create and cast my own pieces, if not only to make items of my own, but to understand these artistic pieces and their makers on a deeper level.

    Some of what I’ve learned over time from casting my own medals is that the mesh of the sand Goetz must have been very very fine. I have an excellent casting green sand with bentonite from Lost and Foundry in Washington, but feel I could use a stackable scientific screen to reduce the grain to an even finer mesh. That and at this time my electric furnace maxes out at 2000* which is sufficient for bronze only. I will need a furnace that goes up to and past 2200* if I’m to cast in iron. Eyeballing one that heats using propane as I’m wanting to make cast iron pieces myself. From there, I believe you are correct in saying the cast iron pieces have just a bit more tightness and clarity than bronze. Molten bronze and iron will react to the sand surface differently (bronze have a dross or “foam” that runs out ahead of the pour that a “gate” helps sort out before molten bronze hits the real model surface, iron doesn’t have this) and in my experience with bronze, the final tumbling stage of a medal, the surface can move, soften and really mellow out after about 8-12 hours or more in my vibrating tumbler depending on the media used. I suspect that iron pieces will be more resistant to this, but can’t wait to see how they behave in this stage. No telling what media or vibration if at all Goetz was using, but I would say it was something post casting beyond trimming the flow channels from the edge and filing smooth.

    If indeed cast iron Goetz were made during the war, this has me thinking about how prolific this artist was at this time. Let’s do some quick math. From July 1914 to November 1918 there are 221 weeks in WW1. KarlGoetz.com site lists K131-K301 as medals from WW1. I broke down that list (quickly) removing the medals dated 1919 and beyond coming up with a list a bit shorter, such as K131-K213 or maybe to K239, depending on who you ask. This is 82 to 108 medals with actual war dates, so let’s average that out and divide this into the 221 weeks and I’m seeing a new medal produced roughly every 2.5 weeks. A loose estimate, correct me if I’m wrong. More medals in this period reduces my estimate of time. Within my own medallic work, if this was my day job and really applied myself, I don’t think I could carve out of wax a 58mm model of this intricacy in less than 3 days per side, longer for larger pieces. Casting itself takes me about 3-4 hours per casting, requiring sand prep, flask filling/packing and model removal, adding sprues and gates, heat baking the moisture out and then heating furnace and pouring. Sometimes it takes me all day to cast two pieces if everything goes right, which it often doesn’t. I’m sure Goetz was an efficient machine at this, had to be, but some steps cannot be rushed. Then there is the post production of trimming flow channels, tumbling, chasing, toning and oxidizing. All before any marketing could take place. Did he have any help?

    Here is a question, if the German high command wouldn’t allow bronze to be used for the war effort, why would they allow the use of power or fuel to be used to melt metal at all. It takes considerable energy to melt this material.

    Nevertheless, cacheman, you once commented that if you ever collected the WW1 run again you would do it all in cast iron as it would be assured they were made during the war years. At the time I first heard this it seemed impossible to me. For sure it would be impossible to collect the entire 800+ pieces Goetz produced and even the WW1 run seems daunting. To even achieve the run in both base metals would be a tough task. With that said, I’m a middle age dude and I already have with around 50 of them, so I’ve decided to make a run at WW1 and think it could take up to about 20 years to complete if I’m smart with my money and picky on condition. A lifetime numismatic goal. Some pieces don’t come in cast iron and there are 8 or 9 that don’t interest me at all and wouldn’t chase them simply for completeness, I’m still the master of my collection here! And, I certainly won’t limit myself to just WW1 issues either if I have an opportunity to add something outside this parameter, I will.

  • WildIdeaWildIdea Posts: 1,870 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @coinkat said:
    great write up- outstanding set thus far

    Thank you @coinkat, I appreciate it!

  • WildIdeaWildIdea Posts: 1,870 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Boosibri said:
    Congrats on the successful year

    Thank you @Boosibri!

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